This second week had a lot of material to cover. We learned how to teach different parts of learning a language: speaking, listening, and reading as well as more grammar. At the end of the week, we had a grammar quiz to keep us in check for the final, most important test at the end. I had to observe two lessons as well as give two group lessons and give a private one on one lesson.
My private lesson went really well. My student has lived in Belgium for eight years and just moved back to her home country of the Czech Republic. She told me that she finds my American accent difficult, but is glad I am her teacher as it will give her practice with the accent. For the next lesson, I plan on using my favorite American TV show to further her listening practice with the accent. For those who are curious, my favorite TV show is the Golden Girls. Yes, it’s a show about old women in Miami, but I find it very funny and relevant.
My group lesson went well. My theme was Summer Olympics and upon asking the class what their favorite sport was or what do they do, one student responded,
“I don’t watch the Olympics and I don’t do sports.”
Her response did not deter me and I encouraged her to think outside the box. At the end of the lesson, she did tell a story about equestrianism, riding horses. Another group also had this as part of their story and asked me to spell it for them on the board. I had to pause for a minute as I needed to remember how to spell it correctly myself. It isn’t a word I use in everyday conversation or writing. I have never evenly properly rode a horse!
My second lesson also went well. It was in the morning, which meant that my students, though supposedly intermediate, were very advanced and one actually worked for the school. No pressure on that front! But the two were very nice and welcoming of my lesson and I believe they learned a few things. My topic was Frozen and I had two grown adults, a woman and a man. The woman had seen the movie, but the man had not and was actually inspired to watch it, at least that’s what he said, to find out what happens since it was a reading lesson and they only read part of the script to the movie.
Is taught after me and his theme was politics. I told him he was very brave since people often have strong political views.
My Summer Olympics lesson was actually filmed so I can see myself and reflect on what I actually do and say during a lesson. I was having problems with storage and moving the video files onto my computer so I had to upload them directly from the SD card to the cloud. It was a slow process. Luckily, I have been filmed previously and know my usually habits, which verbal static I have and nervous movements such as playing with my hair so filling out most of the reflection while waiting for my videos was easy.
The work for the program is not difficult if you don’t do things at the last minute, which, luckily for me, is not my style. However, my classmates/flat mates are not as organized and it has led to some tears. Unfortunately, one of us failed a lesson, we are allowed one. Some people have bad days and we just need to push on through and use the support of the group to carry on. Another friend was very stressed about his lesson the next day and the hours leading up to it. I didn’t observe his lesson, but the two other friends who did said he nailed it and when he got home, he had a big smile on his face.
The trick to lessons is to do what you are interested in for a theme. You might have to teach a grammar or do a listening lesson, but pick a theme that interest you to make you want to do the lesson first off, and second, your energy can be passed to the students. My interests lie with film and certain sports and, therefore, I picked themes around those aspects.
We have had a lot of laughs in class. One particular day, we could not stop laughing and our teacher asked us if we needed to go to lunch to regain composure. Another day, we played a game that we could use with our students. It was a team competition game and Mi was on my team. The point was to say as little as possible, but he would not stop talking. Even the teacher at one point said,
“You are giving too much away.”
Mi also has a thing for the English spoken in India. What I mean is, he does not like it and brings it up almost at every opportunity.
“We know you don’t like it, Mi.” A variety of people have told him. It actually amuses us more than annoys us.
Our teacher came into the classroom one day stating,
“I have a surprise for you!” We all braced ourselves for some sort of horrible grammar thing.
“You are all cynical!” She proclaimed and proceeded to tell us that we were going to have class in a café that afternoon. We all sighed relief and enjoyed that lesson with a warm beverage and sweet dessert. The cheesecake was delicious- it had blueberries in it! Also, a side note, the Golden Girls’ favorite dessert is cheesecake.
We proceeded to have class at that café a different day and I tried this homemade lemonade, which was a carbonated type orange drink and the carrot cake. Both were delicious!
I am starting to pick up different Czech words along with our lessons. The lesson this week taught us how to say the numbers. There is a pattern to them, but it is just remembering the pattern…Café or coffee shop is kavarna (accent on second a) and coffee is kava (accent on first a). As an old friend once told me on my gap year,
“There is only one word that you need to know in every language. That’s beer.” In Czech, it’s pivo. Cheaper than water.
There are other words that I recognize and understand when I see them, but I can’t spell them from memory yet.
The Czech people are very quiet. It is quite obvious when we board a tram or when other non-Czech board the tram as the Czech people don’t speak much on transit. Foreigners are quite loud. What I find interesting and absolutely love is their love for dogs. Dogs are allowed everywhere and everyone pretty much has one. They are also the most behaved pet I have ever seen. They walk with their owners without leashes or stand outside the store waiting. The owners are normally pretty good at picking up after their dogs as well.
It has been told to us that even if our landlords say we can’t have a pet in our contract, by law we still can. I don’t know how real this is, but I love dogs so I hope a little bit that it is real.
In terms of finding an apartment. In order to get a business/work visa, we need to have an apartment lease. I have started looking at apartments to get a sense of what Prague has to offer. We tried seeing one over the weekend, but the key wouldn’t work so we couldn’t even see the apartment!
I am honestly, not sure what I will be doing. I have a lot of options and I feel that the best course of action right now is to go with the flow and wait and see. Over the weekend we went out to several different bars and I met other expats. I was networking with them for possible jobs either teaching English or doing something in the field I studied at university, marketing. Some of them work for international companies here in Prague. You can take the student out of the business university, but you can’t take the business out of the student.
It was K’s birthday this past weekend. We were not planning on going out Friday since we knew we were going out Saturday, but Is twisted our arm and away we went. The first bar we went to was called Beer Geek, which has plenty of beers on tap. The second bar was hosting a Halloween party and we met Is’s girlfriend there who also did this TEFL course, but in June. I spoke a lot of Spanish this day, which was amazing! Early, we did a boat tour and there was a group from Peru. Later, at this bar, I met some people from Spain.
The boat tour was interesting. It was a cool perspective from the river, but the boat mainly circled the same spot in the river for almost an hour. It was also getting dark so seeing and taking pictures were hard. A fun fact that I learned was that Czech Republic or Prague has the first and only all male militia that was founded by a woman.
Saturday we ended up going to the past TEFL students’ flat and then to James Dean bar. It’s a 50’s styled diner that has a club underneath. They played 80’s music that slowly transitioned to current pop music. K had a lot of fun there. We eventually went to Chapeau Rouge, which had three levels- the bar and two dance floors. We went to the bottom dance floor, but the music was more techno/house. We decided to go back to James Dean.
No one called me a sexy Pokémon this time, but many told K she looked Czech. Her ancestors are from the Czech Republic, but I don’t think she looks more Czech than any other European country, but clearly I don’t see what they see. Also, in one of our café lessons we learned that anti-social actually means when someone vandalizes and unsociable is when someone doesn’t want to talk with others and is secluded. At James Dean, a persistent man was trying to talk to us,
“Why are you being anti-social?” He said.
“Actually, the word you want is unsociable.” I commented. I explained why and he just looked at me and left, which was to our relief as he was really bothering us.
Is, as the youngest, has a lot of energy.
“If this is what it’s like to get old, I don’t want to grow up.” The oldest of us is only ten years old than him….we are not that old.
There are a lot of puns that happen in my group. One good one was said by P. Again, P is British. To the point that she has to have her tea and is very particular about how it is done. K has made tea for P before and P insisted she give her lessons on how to make tea properly because it isn’t very British like. She was telling the story to H when she said,
“She has the adding milk part down to a t.” She didn’t mean to pun the T with tea, but it was too fitting. I didn’t catch what she said at first because it is not like her to pun, but after a second I burst out laughing joining H who caught it first.
Though this isn’t a pun, we love D’s use of “ya boii.” (like boy) He got it from a youtube video and always says it. It makes us laugh and some of us now use it as well.
I am very glad Prague is a running friendly city. Running has been my outlet for stress. In Buenos Aires, Argentina, I didn’t run that much due to it being strange in their culture and I got stressed and upset. It just proves that you should always do your routine especially when it comes to exercise no matter if you are on holiday/vacation or long term travel. Your body is used to doing a certain thing and if you deny it that, you sacrifice other things. If it happens that your habit is not part of the cultural norm, find another outlet.
Food is also cheap in Prague. If you eat out, of course it will be more than norm, but if you stick to local restaurants you will find it cheaper than home (The United States). Groceries are also super cheap in comparison and if you find a farmers’ market you basically pay nothing. I stumbled upon a farmers’ market this week and bought lots of fruits and vegetables for less than two US dollars.
The public transport system in Prague is also very good. There are metros, trams, and buses. At night there are night trams and buses, which is great. It always amazes me when major cities close their transport system early.
For a capital city, Prague is very manageable and easy to adjust to. It is very beautiful now with the leaves changing colors.
Sorry for the lack of photos on this post! Been busy teaching :)