Carolina, Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems has if you indeed have a very dynamic situation with many obstacles. It's good to see, however, that you are finding creative ways to jump over those hurdles the best you can.
While we don't have such extreme conditions at my private school, the same that you've experienced does exist just around the corner here too. From either side, we must engage students and engineer their content so that it is intentional, and not simply left to chance to to the way the previous (or even current) curriculum dictated.
I'm a strong advocate for dogme, or using relevant materials that I as teacher harvest and modify to meet my students needs. If I am turned off by the textbook presentation, can you imagine how my students must react to it? There is a lot of push by publishers to unload (in hopefully a meaningful way) learning components on schools. There is really big money involved. In your case, you mentioned in the Google Hangout on Air today that often you don't even have textbooks. I am wondering if that is a barrier or a blessing? I think they may be a blessing for younger just-getting-started teachers that have yet developed their craft. But for more experienced language teacher such as you and I, I really think that we already have a keen grasp on methodology, techniques, planning, evaluating and assessing, coaching, etc.
Therefore, I usually abandon the official textbook by the final partial period and just get down to my dogme business. I find that students are more engaged, learn faster, and sense a stronger connection to the teacher and their craft.
To you concern about students losing interest in the target language, I believe that exposing them to as much target language culture as possible helps to connect them to real-world needs. My students live in Mexico, and when they step out of the classroom, they return to a Spanish-speaking world. Teacher EFL has many more challenges than ESL. I connect my students with real programs being driven out of other English-speaking countries so that they don't just see learning English as an in-Mexico-academic-requirement. There are real advantages to learning the languages. As teachers, we need to not only highlight those advantages in a joyous, beneficial manner .... but we also need to connect students to those opportunities: outside of books, outside of movies, outside of learning managements systems ..... put them literally outside of the country in a new place. Technology allows us to do this.
Moving on, I haven't yet been in a teaching situation where I had to worry about getting content onto DVDs, CD, flash drives, take-home-devices, etc. Here my students mostly come from affluent families with ample means to provide their children with state-of-the-art learning tools. With making videos to flip classrooms for a range of subjects that we teach to preparing all these multiple data storage types, I sometimes wonder where teachers find the time.
Are you a full-time tenured teacher like Ken? Most of us in my school system that work in languages are only adjunct part-time teachers paid by the class hour. This employment setup really is not conducive to doing everything that needs to get done. Many teacher need to find additional sources of income. I am not sure how we can handle this dilemma any time soon. There is a great time investment. It is challenging. Kudos to those part-time teachers that dedicate their free time to education. They should be knighted by the Queen or something.
Thanks for your contributions, Caroline.