This weekend I did a combination of sightseeing and taking care of business. One day I traveled with my mentor to Přerov, an open-air museum laid out like a 19th century village. On the way back, we also stopped off at a beautiful lake and a natural spring. I ended the day with dinner with my mentor and her family. We had chicken, pork, potatoes, champagne and beer! I also tried out some of my Czech phrases and learned some in return.
The next day I went to Kunta Hora to get my visa squared away. What should have taken an hour at most took all day because the office of foreign police was crowded and extremely unorganized. We spent the day exploring Kunta Hora while we waited for my afternoon appointment. It was very pleasant hanging out with my mentor before school started. I also went finished up my shopping and decorated my room with pictures.
The next day was my first day of school. I arrived an hour early thinking that I would have time to go to my office beforehand and prepare for my first class. However as soon as I stepped into school the principal immediately escorted me to the opening day ceremony and introduced to the whole school. I was caught completely off guard and when I was asked to give a speech all I could think of saying was dobry den, ajoy, ciao. Yikes. I think the kids got a kick out of it though. That day I had a very enjoyable lunch with the other English teachers and we talked about the many differences between the CR and the US. For example, even though the drinking age is lower there they have zero tolerance when it comes to drinking and driving.
Currently, I am in 16 lessons a week including two Math classes, and three PE classes. As of now I am teaching students of all grade levels. In some classes I am a co-teacher with the other teacher in which we both lead the lesson about an American topic. In other classes I am only responsible for a part of the lesson and in a few I am completely on my own. Also there are some classes I will see every week and some classes that change every week or every other week. In any case I am being exposed to many different types of teaching styles. In general, the students are really excited for me to be apart of their lessons. Many teachers have told me their students are disappointed that I will not be in their class. I think that next semester I will have a whole new schedule again. I think the key to teaching is to be prepared. I find that my best lessons are the ones that I know ahead of time what the students are learning and what is expected of me. With time I know that I will develop my own teaching style and get more comfortable leading my own lessons.
I can also say that I am finally learning how to cook with the help of my mentor and a harry potter cookbook given to me by my sister. Yes the meals have been basic so far but I’m learning to “doctor them up” (as my Uncle Tony would say). I will continue to try my hand with cooking. Hopefully learning how to teach won’t be the only skill that I come away with at the end of this year.