Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I didn't mean to make you cry...

Well, two days down of teaching and so far so good! Monday morning started early - 6:45 am on my way to the metro. Those of you who know me well know that this is NOT an hour of the day that I like. But, I was up and energetic and ready to meet my new kiddos! After about a 45 minute commute (metro and bus), we arrived at the kindergarten. This week have a wonderful Czech college student, Jana, taking me around and helping me navigate Prague. She helps translate at the schools which is a true blessing when you have to get kids out of certain classes. Anyway, Monday started with three back-to-back kindergarten classes each 25 minutes long.

One of the philosophy's of WattsEnglish (my company) is to keep the kids engaged in the lesson through play, so we do a LOT of entertaining along the way. In a typical kindergarten lesson, we try to balance being active and passive. We also have to teach them basic things to keep the class in order. Things like stand up and sit down and come here and stop. It's interesting, but also really fun to mime those phrases with the kids. My first class was all boys - I think there were 5 of them, but it felt like 25! One boy was pretty wild and I struggled to keep him engaged in the class. I need to think of some ways to help keep him in line. Any teachers out there - please pass on your suggestions! He basically doesn't want to participate in anything and is rowdy (loud, talking in Czech while I'm talking, not paying attention).

After that, things got easy! My second class was great! While learning some animals, we were miming animals and got to the word spider. All of a sudden this little boy started crying and i figured out he was afraid of spiders. We weren't acting scary, but still he was scared. After a little hug and a few minutes, he was fine and playing with us all again. The third class of the day was also great - no drama to report! Also, my afternoon class was great - four sweet girls in 3rd and 4th grades. All in all, I taught about 2 hours and spent about 2 hours on the metro/tram/bus to get all these places! It's crazy, but I am getting to see much more than the center of Prague!

Today was another adventure as my guide overslept, so I made my way to the school on my own and got there minutes before she did. I had a lovely 3rd grade class which was very well behaved. Then I went to a kindergarten. My guide thought she knew where we were going, but we got lost and ended up hiking up a hill (no, I'm not exaggerating for once) for about 20 minutes only to get to the school and then find out there was a bus that would have dropped us off a block from the school! That was a 50-minute kindergarten which is rare, but we made our way through with the lesson and songs. Tomorrow, I'm back there again for another round...this time without the hike!

The afternoon was also an adventure as no students showed up to class. We did hold one class, but there were only 2 students, so we'll likely cancel that class in the future. This is an interesting week of teaching our standard demo lessons to all students (one for kindergarten and early primary school and one lesson for older primary). So, I'm getting a lot of demo practice! It's a good way to get the year started. :)

Last night I celebrated the survival of our first day of school at a beer garden and of course, we had to go have Svíčková. I'm obsessed...what can I say! ;)

I have been loving wandering around the city and exploring through the trips to all the different schools. I visit 7 schools in the week and will probably teach 3-5 levels of English. I'm also kind of enjoying getting my exercise each day simply from walking to and from schools and the physical nature of my work! I do miss running however, and I hope to be over my cold that I've had since I got here soon, so I can get back out there.


  1. LIKE, LIKE, LIKE... Thanks Suz
    Maybe put your wild child in charge of something... can't think what, right now... oh yeah, how about some Zen breathing exercises

  2. Sometimes wild kids just want the attention - if you don't give it (which can be hard) they don't get what they want and may calm down. (Emphasis on the MAY). Putting them in charge of something can work to - or asking them to be your 'special helper' and lead activities....

    PS - have you read my horror stories about teaching kindergarten? You did WAY better than I did!!