I've taught all different levels from and Italian woman who could barely get anything out (at the beginning of her classes) to a Dutch executive at an investment firm who just needed to discuss the minutia of investment banking - for two and a half hours at a stretch. Most of my students have been Dutch. This is fortunate because native speakers of any language have their particular problems when speaking English. So I've become familiar with a lot of the mistakes that the average Dutch person makes with English, in writing and in speaking. Of course they're all individuals. There's a tremendous amount of variety.
On Tuesday, I had my last class with two people who work at the Heineken Experience. Heineken sent a big group of people to the school so that they can improve their English skills in anticipation of the grand re-opening, which will be in May...no...July...no...September. (They've had some delays.) The group I got work in the administration of the Heineken Experience. A man and a woman - Philip and Ans. We got along famously.
The classes were five hours long, in two blocks of two and a half hours with a half hour break in the middle. The focus of the lessons was conversation. There was no writing involved and the grammar we did was on an as-need basis. Still, it sounds like a long time to sit in a room with the same two people. But it really wasn't. We were liberal with breaks and a lot of it was just talking about...stuff, and going over the lessons in the books. Their English was already at a really high level, and they both speak English on a regular basis, so there wasn't a lot of correction - although there was some. I can always find things to correct. Just ask Fred.
So at the end of the lessons, which we had all enjoyed, I got a little Heineken goodie bag. Here's some pictures.
A bottle opener
The point, I guess, is to open some beer bottles.
Truthfully, I was hoping for a little Heineken souvenir. We don't have any around the house, and I wanted a nice little plastic green remembrance of the great time that I had. So that it was a great surprise.
But the kicker was that they also bought me a domain name for a year. It's www.InstantAndy.com. I was floored. It's totally perfect. I've been thinking of doing another blog about something. Now at least I have a theme - me. It's currently pointed to this blog.
When asked how they knew I had a blog, Philip said he had Googled me. Yes, I'm Google-able. "Andy Baker" gets you any number of people who are scientists, mathematicians, photographers, etc. But "Andy Baker Amsterdam" gets you me. None of my students so far have googled me, or told me about it.
A perfect end to a great class. Thanks, Philip and Ans! It was a lot of fun.