What am I still doing in Cancun?

The adventures of an American single mommy working and playing in paradise.

Harmon Hall

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     This weekend I went to a party on Saturday night. I was very excited about going because since my son was born this is only the second time I have gotten a babysitter and gone out (both times after he was already asleep). I didn’t get to bed until about 1:15 am, my husband woke me up at 3:15 am about a rat he spotted outside (a story for another day) and my son, who normally sleeps until 6:00 am, woke-up at the ungodly hour of 4:50 am. I won’t be going-out again for awhile.

     Anyway, let’s get back to what I actually wanted to talk about. The party was for three women who left their jobs at Harmon Hall, the English school where I taught the first year I moved here. (I won’t tell the story of how I started working there today as it is coming-up soon in one of my “Moving to Cancun” e-mails, but they rescued me.) The school has locations all over Mexico and I believe in a few other countries in South America as well. It used to be owned by one man but recently a corporation bought him out and as expected, things have changed and the ladies wanted out.

     I worked at Harmon Hall from 2001-2002, for a little over a year. For the most part, I hated it. They had a very strict technique that you had to follow when teaching a class and as a teacher you had to be creative and come up with games using props that were kept in the staff room. I was HORRIBLE at making-up games. The first class of the day started at 7:00 am (UGH) and I normally arrived at around 6:50 am, when all of the good props (or at least the ones I wanted to use) were already gone. I will say that working there gave me a real appreciation for how hard teachers work.

     Although I didn’t really like teaching, there was something very special about working there. I loved meeting all of the students. I think I had about 7 classes per day, and each class had about 15-20 students in it, and I only taught a couple of levels, so I met A LOT of students of all ages. It was nice to run into people I knew so soon after I had moved here.

     I also loved the staff. What a diverse group of people! There were Americans, Brits, Mexicans, a Cuban lady (my very first amiga Cubana), and the director was from Australia. I am still good friends with the woman who trained me. She is from Belgium.

     Teaching at Harmon Hall improved my English! I hadn’t thought about grammar rules in many years, and I did enjoy that part of the job as well. There were also certain holidays that were really fun. Christmas was one. Each class had to prepare to sing a Christmas song with taped music right before the holiday break. I made-up choreography as well and made my students learn it. LOL At first many of them weren’t too happy about that, but I think they were all very excited and proud when we had the very best performance. Oh, and the staff Christmas party was a ball! It was at this fabulous outdoor restaurant which has since closed called “Mango Tango”. It was all you can drink (and back then I could drink A LOT) and they had a fun show. I ended-up knowing a singer in the show as well and got on stage to do my Salsa thing with him.

     However, the very best thing about working at HH was how it gave you a family here, far far away from home. The director had a lot to do with that. She was so supportive of any problem, big or small, and not in that sweet mushy way either. In fact, when I started teaching Salsa lessons at El Shrimp Bucket she let me change my schedule around so that I was able to do it.

     I don’t use people’s real names here, and the three ladies that just left HH will probably never read this, but the school and these women are a huge part of my experience here in Mexico. I have great memories with each of them, and I am so happy I had the pleasure of working with them. I look forward to seeing them in the future. The best thing about working at HH is sharing the memories afterwards.

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