The Tall Traveller

I am a (tall) British expat currently working in Mexico as an English teacher. Read on for amusing stories from the classroom and my travels

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Office larks 2


During the summer we only teach for two hours a day. Even with class planning, writing exams, and all of the miscellaneous paper work that still leaves plenty of time for personal projects and office downtime.

The summer course is a good time to try and sharpen your techniques and teaching practises with well planned and fun classes. Many of the teachers here are spending a little more time thinking classes through, but that still leaves us plenty of time to put our feet up on the desk.

The cafeteria is always a popular morning distraction. Anyone who pops in for a tostada for elevenses and draw it out into an hour long meal. However, the cafeteria is not a favoured haunt of the preacher who has been boycotting it for weeks after they had the guile to charge him 3 pesos for hot water. Continuing on the food theme, we use any excuse to bring food in for the weekly meetings we have; birthdays, anniversaries, public holidays, bat mitzfahs, you name it. This ensures that the meetings go on for a good hour.

Another popular downtime activity is language learning. Of the teachers here only two or three have an excellent level of Spanish. Around eight or nine are of an intermediate level (myself included) and a few are beginners. I put the department onto the free language learning website Duolingo. I always highly recommend it for any level of language learner. It is simple to use, very addictive, has a great interface and has a cool owl as its mascot. What's not to like?

Several people in the department have organised intercambios (language exchanges) with other members of staff here. It's a good way to make the English department a little less segregated from the rest of the campus, and allows you to practice speaking about different topics such as politics, education, local places and the like to supplement the daily phrases that you practice.

Two time Globeball champion Phil 'el cangrejo' Charter
attempting and audacious catch for a bonus throw.
Well, apart from the above activities, and maintaining Tall Travels, the one major activity that I spend time on is of course Globe Ball. I wrote about the new sport sweeping the Sierra Sur region before and am pleased to be able to give you an update.

There have been some monumental changes to the rules. As we know any rule changes have to be approved by all three permanent members of the Globe Ball Council. The player following the thrower can now get into the 'catching zone' which start to the side of the first throwing tile. A clean catch requires the ball to not touch the floor, or the Nicks Club ballast bag next to the bin. Players get an extra throw if they make a catch. This can obvious affect a game hugely, and allow for epic comebacks so catching concentration levels are often high.

Factoid: If a player who has already made a catch then proceeds to miss twice and the next player makes two catches they then get three throws next turn. You can even catch your own missed throw for an extra go.

Other rule changes have been made to stop any illegal throwing techniques allowing players to gain an unfair advantage. One foot of the player must be grounded fully inside the bounds of the throwing tile with the other foot behind the line, or not grounded until the ball is released. This still allows for the controversial leaning technique where player attempt to lean closer to the target before releasing the ball.

A non verbal invitation for a game
from one Globe Ball player to another 
It is a great honour for Tall Travels to report that the inaugural Globe Ball championship was won by Phil Charter. There are four major tournaments:

The UNSIS Players Championship - title held by Phil Charter

The Miahuatlán Open - title held by Phil Charter

The CENID Masters - title held by John Gadstone

and The Ludwig Grüze Invitational - currently in progress.

n.b. Ludwig Grüze (pronounced grouse) is the sadly deceased imaginary coach of Globe Ball player Guy Adams. Ludwig is widely regarded as a legend of the sport although he was found guilty of Nazi war crimes in the 1970s.

The Globe Ball Council are officially seeking funding to procure a 24 carrot gold trophy for the overall season standings after all of the four 'majors' have been completed.

A picture of the official Globe Ball Championship scoreboard.
First to 6 wins a set, and three set wins a tournament.
There has also been an explosion in the number of Perfect Games - where all six throws are completed with no misses. These games are worth two points and are highly coveted.

Phil 'el cangrejo' Charter:
Major Titles: 2
Minor titles: 3
Perfect Games: 19

Guy 'chipmunk' Adams:
Major Titles: 0
Minor titles: 1
Perfect Games: 8

John 'the crumbler' Gadstone:
Major Titles: 1
Minor titles: 1
Perfect Games: 12

Tall Travels hopes that the dominance of Phil Charter continues long into the future and that fans of the crab will be sipping on their PG tips for many years to come.

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