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Teaching ESL in Mexico Sunday, May 13, 2007

Anne reviews an ESL student's homework May 2 at FedEx's warehouse in Toluca, Mexico. Anne gives one-hour English lessons to two students there every day.

Since moving to Mexico last summer, Anne has been earning a living as an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) teacher. She works primarily for a school there that sends teachers to various corporate and industrial companies in the Toluca area, but also has one or two private clients. Class sizes range from one to six students.

Because the students generally take their lessons before or after their normal working hours, Anne's day starts early and finishes late, with a long gap in the middle. The first class of the day starts at 7 a.m., and the last one finishes at about 9 p.m. If she has the car, the classes are fairly easy for her to get to; on days that she has to take the bus it is a little more difficult—particularly between her two evening classes, when she has just 30 minutes to make a drive that takes 29 minutes in good traffic.

(right) Anne acts out both voices of a dialogue with her hands as she teaches English to students at FedEx's Toluca warehouse. It would be better for the students to hear other voices and other accents, she says, but they do not have a CD player.

(above) Anne catches a quick power nap while waiting for the students to arrive for her first afternoon class. (right) Only two of her students at Ritchie Brothers made it to class May 2. Ritchie Bros. is a Canadian company that holds heavy equipment auctions for international buyers four times a year.