When I left to come here in September, I was pretty sure I'd stay in Prague for at least two years. I'm still thinking that, as I honestly cannot imagine leaving Prague this summer. I have been thinking a lot lately about what I'll be doing next year. Should I stay with my current company? Should I try to work with adults? Am I meant to be a teacher?
I was sick all last week and at home. The Czechs have an interesting, and kinda nice, system that if you're sick, your doctor will send you home for a certain period of time. I was told I had to take 6 days off. This was a foreign concept (no pun intended) to me, as I'm used to taking maybe a day or two off and then getting back to work as you are starting to feel better. However, since, I've basically been sick since October, I decided to go with it. Well, it worked! I feel all better now!
Being home game me a much needed break and helped me come back refreshed both physically and mentally. Before the break, my patience was thin, I saw only the negative parts of my day - spending hours on public transportation, kids who didn't listen/misbehaved/didn't really want to be there, etc. Every little thing set me off and I had no patience with anyone - including myself. I even started looking into options to teach adults, as I figured they would be more invested and engaged in learning English and I wouldn't feel like I was wasting my time.
Then, I came back to work. And while I have still had several students who literally groaned and said "noooo" when they saw me, most of the kids were happy to see me again. In my classes today, when I said goodbye the kids asked for more. Now, seriously, who are these kids? It felt really good to be appreciated and liked. While in the grand scheme of things, I don't really care if people like me or not. However, lets be real, we all prefer to be liked!
I was able to see how far some of these kids have come in just the 5 months I've been here. Some have had English before, and others are just starting. Both groups have gotten smarter this year. While, there have certainly been moments I've wanted to pull my hair out, my patience has been renewed. I can see clearly why I'm here and the impact I am actually having.
While I'm not always one who knows "what's next" I do find it essential to have a purpose in my life and feel like I'm impacting someone or something. As I said goodbye to one class, our typical end of class routine began. They line up with their gigantic backpacks by the door and wait for everyone to be ready. While they wait, I give them exploding fist pumps, and they LOVE it. They literally fight over who gets to go next. It kinda makes me feel like a rock star. Then they start doing it with each other. I realize this may be new to them or no one else really does this with them, so its our unique English time thing. It's kinda cool. Today as we did it, I thought to myself - they may not remember anything I teach them specifically - but I'm pretty sure they'll remember they had fun learning English. And really, isn't that what matters? Well, that and exploding fist pumps. :)