First impressions of English. Teaching a (relatively) large group with zero understanding of English

I recently finished teaching a week-long class in a hotel in Sitges. I taught 2 groups of roughly 15 students, both having a two hour class each. Before the first class I was advised that although we wouldn't be discussing Shakespeare, it was at a conversational level and the basics had been mastered. I was caught off guard slightly when, after planning an afternoon of games, revision and light-hearted quips, the question "Hello, how are you?" was met with a resounding "Que?".

Having only achieved the contortion of 15 previously cheerful faces after 30 minutes of repeating "I am, you are" and pointing furiously at myself and others I began to feel less than hopefull. Minds began to drift and loud conversations in Sanish started to errupt. My less-than-authoritative hand-waving and shhing seemed to go unnoticed. By the time I had finished the class I felt the only thing I had achieved was crushing any interest they may have had. I went home, ate frankfurters, drank beer and watched repeats of The Big Bang Theory.

The next day, however, and my faith was renewed! Seemingly unenthusiastic students proclaimed loudly that "He IS a bus driver!" and "They ARE waiters!". My efforts had not been wasted! The repetition from the previous day had not fallen upon death ears! After this breakthrough came progress. The students were quickly able to describe emotion, position and condition of people and things. Previously empty vocabularies wanted to be filled with new objects and new ways to describe them. We practiced expressions, times of the day, days of the week and months of the year. Where things could be found, what they looked like and when they would be there. Even explaining that in English we have to switch words around to make questions (which must be strange for native Spanish speakers) was met with eagerness and curiosity.

We ended the week happy and I felt very proud of the progress they had made. They were all given certificates. I went home, ate more frankfurters and drank more beer. I think I watched a film but I can't remember what it was.

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