It was the first week of TEFL class! We are a group of 10 students- the seven from the flat/apartment and Is from the US, Mi, a world traveler, and Z from the Czech Republic. It is interesting to have a native Czech speaker in class. We call him our resident Czech expert. He has been in international schools his whole life so his English is pretty amazing. Mi has done a similar certification before, but it wasn’t internationally accepted so he is doing it again. He is usually the first one to know the grammar stuff and says very strange example sentences such as:
“When I was young, I used to have crushes on girls. Now I have crushes on grandmas.” (He is older than the rest of us).
Is is taking a gap year, or at least a year. He just graduated high school and:
“I thought about college, but when choosing between university and fun, I chose fun.”
Z was at university, but didn’t like what he was studying so he is taking time off and going to go back later.
We had to be at the school a little earlier than usual the first couple of days since we had things to learn about the program and about the city. In the TEFL program, we have to sit in class for a certain amount of hours and have a certain amount of teaching hours. Four of us started teaching that Thursday. I was one of them.
Everything is online and they gave us many worksheets to help with our lesson planning. My first lesson was geared around fantasy vocabulary and creating fantasy stories. Surprisingly, my students knew most of the words I gave them. The teaching is broken into two parts. The first hour is with one trainee and the second hour is with another. There is a third trainee and our instructor in the back observing. I was second, which has its pros and cons.
P went first and I felt a little bad as she had people coming in and out of her class for the first 10 minutes before things got settled. Her nerves also made me a little nervous for my own lesson. However, being second I was able to get a head’s start on the names and observe P. She had them fill out notecards with their names, which I then used for memorizing and calling on them at random. P’s theme was fashion, she also spelled it wrong on the board, which then a student called her out for. She then spelled runway wrong (runaway) and the same student mentioned it, to which P replied,
“This is how I spell it, maybe the Americans spell it differently.” In my head I reply, “Well, we spell it the right way….” We have a good laugh over the story now.
Soon it was my turn and I found that it was very comfortable, perhaps of my experience as being a Resident Assistant at my university. The students seemed to have fun with my lesson and theme. I did make mistakes, but I was very happy with the outcome.
We also had two survival Czech lessons in which we learned basic words and how to pronounce the different letters. There are similarities between Czech and English such as doctor/doktor. There are also similarities between Czech and Spanish such as the vowels.
In both my English and Czech classes I was having difficulties with the grammar only because I learned it properly in Spanish so my first instinct was to say everything in Spanish. I am thoroughly excited to be learning a new language. Perhaps, by the time my stay is finished in the Czech Republic I will be able to communicate sufficiently enough.
We had a visa and housing presentation by a third party company giving us some insight into the process and that we can use their services. We have to start the process soon as it will take time. Now is a question of if to go with the company and where to go for the visa process. We can’t apply in country so we have to go to the Czech embassy in a different country. Such a bummer, right? Haha.
I would love to go to Spain again as I have missed hearing Spanish on a daily basis, but Switzerland is also calling to me. Then there is the matter of where to live in Prague. I was having internal conflict with Prague as I do like Prague, but I am not connecting with it as much as I was with Budapest. I was in Budapest for only a week, but something clicked. I don’t have the same feeling for Prague as I do for Budapest. Prague is a very nice city and I like it, but something was missing.
However, I think it will be easier to stay in Prague for this first year. I will have the support of my friends who are staying here and the support of the school with its alumni group. I have only couple weeks for this process before my class ends and I need to find other accommodations. By staying here, I will then get a year to figure out my next place I’m going to and develop contacts for that location.
My classmates are excited for the upcoming months especially with the winter/Christmas markets. I am excited for it as well and it is weird to think that we will be living here. My cousin is actually touring around Europe right now and I am super excited to meet up with her. Here is her youtube website: Stumbling Around With A Backpack On, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCevf1TWDUdyvPXTttcBcfeg
We learned a lot of things this past week and putting it all into practice is a bit difficult. I keep telling my classmates to not over think it and that the easiest/simplest answer usually is the best. It is really hard to believe we have only been here a week/have known each other for a week. Because seven of us live together, we tend to stay up late and talk. It is like being in the dorms of university again. It is a lot of fun, but I am someone who likes to go to bed early so it is a bit of a struggle. However, I do enjoy spending time with them! We laugh so much and have many inside jokes such as realia (objects you bring to class to explain vocab words), P’s laughter, and differences between American and British English. K is our resident American-British expert since she has spent the most time there and watches British shows. If I have a question on what was said, she explains it in the “American” way and vice versa. P is such a chocolate addict and can go through bags like none other. It is actually quite bad because our self control is nearly gone at this point. Passing her room? Get a piece of chocolate. No question! K is a food and coffee lover. One might hear her mutter,
“I just want food.”
or….Where’s my coffee (some variation of this). She has planned her next meal while she was eating.
One of my students said that he really liked American English, but others have said that it is a bit more difficult because they are used to hearing the British English. G and P said that our accents are different from each other (between the Americans) and I can sort of hear the differences between those two.
We, of course, had to do a celebratory going out for completing the first week. Friday night was definitely a long night. I took an hour nap before getting ready. Z and Is didn’t come over until ten and then the Americans taught them how to play flip cup. Z and Is are the youngest of our team, but Is is the youngest. We were teasing him, saying he was the baby of the family.
In Argentina, they drink something called Fernet, which is Italian. I was thrilled to find that they also drink it here. Though my flat mates thought it was “like drinking cologne.” More for me.
After an hour or so we decided to go to a bar called Café Popo and ran into our teachers from the school. We then meandered over to Lucrena club.
In Café Popo, H ran into many Hispanics and was super excited. We spoke Spanish with them and we enjoyed a little bit of familiar since we are surrounded by an unknown language. H also encountered someone from his hometown who in turn bought us shots. After, the man called me a “sexy Pokémon.” I am not sure what that meant, but I’m taking it as a compliment.
In Lucrena, we ended up going to the second floor as it was less crowded and stayed there the rest of the night. It was a fun club- 80’s and 90’s music with music videos playing behind the stage. The directions were also quite cheap with 100 Czech crown cover (about 4 US dollars). I somehow took G’s phone and was messaging his friend from England. We are now Facebook friends 🙂
K, G, and I got back home around 6 am and met the rest of our group. We talked for another half hour and then went off to bed. I smelled like smoke because it is allowed to smoke indoors here so I decided to take a shower and do laundry. It wasn’t until 7 by the time I actually was able to go to bed.
However, because I normally wake early, my body made me get up at 10:40. My flat mates were still asleep so I went shopping and bought a pumpkin for the Halloween season, I named him George. I made friends with the check out lady at the store and we talked about going out at night in Prague. We had several laughs.
That night H and I met two people who took our class last month and are now teaching English. They gave us some hints on the class as well as getting visas and finding apartments. I am really surprised how I was able to stay awake so long since I only slept 3 hours.
I had finished my assignments previously, so while everyone was doing work on Sunday I was able to walk around Prague. It was very beautiful with the changing of leaves. I climbed up the Little Tower to receive an amazing view of the city. I was going to go to the castle, but there is a lot to see as it is the biggest in the world, I believe. The ticket is good for two consecutive days so I thought it better to do it a different time.
Finally, in a week, I was able to go to bed at a decent hour, which was super exciting! I’m looking forward to seeing what this week has in store.