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The Adventures of an English teacher in the Colegio Colombo Hebreo of Bogota!
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Bye bye Jeannie

My first day of school was in January of 1980.  Why did they need a teacher so urgently in January? 

Turned out that the kids of the Colegio Hebreo had the habit (or plot) to drive their English teachers crazy, so they applied their tactics to a petite teacher from the States who had come to Colombia with her Doctorate in linguistics.  Her name was Jeannie.  She had started in August, but by the time December rolled around, she was taking tranquilizers before walking into class with the senior and junior year students: Jeannie could take it no longer.  She resigned before the school year was half over.  From there she went to Los Andes University and lived happily ever after.  Now I am not putting the blame on any one student.  It’s just that when you put several of them together, well, it’s like a chemical cocktail.  Though somebody did mention that David Sprintis and Ricardo Bigio, and maybe others, might have helped in the process. I will let them speak for themselves.

Dr. Avella did not tell me all this when he hired me. 

You can be buried here.

Jose Warticovschi signed my contract on January 4th of 1980, as an “indefinite term” contract.   “What does that mean?”, I asked the school administrator.  (All the other teachers would get a one-year term contract, ).  “That means you can be buried here,” he answered.  I didn’t know what that meant yet.


It was Moris Sasson who asked me, “Can you prest me a pen?”   Another variation on the theme was, “Can you prest me an esfer?”   That’s called “prestation”.  If you don’t know the word in English, just add “ation”.

It happened, for example, that one day as I walked out of the teachers’ cubicles, I found a student on his back on the floor in the hallway, pushing his way down the hall backwards with his feet.  OK.  I’ve seen stranger.  It was Ricardo Bigio. 

This is just to give you an idea of how exciting school could be.