Every time I sit down to write, I feel like it’s been weeks and weeks. How could all the things that have happened possibly happened in only two days?!
As I mentioned in my last post, I was on my way out to meet one of my classmates whose name is Julie. We met near the Hotel we all arrived that (though it turns out she’s actually right across the hall from me), and took the train into the city. She had never been to Prague before, so we went and checked out the Christmas markets. We also sampled some Grog (which I didn’t realize was a real thing), which is hot rum, water, and lemon, and was actually super delicious in a boozy way. For some reason they had a stage set up in Old Town Square and there was a group playing what sounded like folk or maybe local music (pic below). I definitely heard their national anthem at one point, so maybe it was some sort of holiday. There were also some live goats and sheep nearby, and I’m not really sure why. I guess that’s Prague for you.
We also sampled some Trdlo, which is a sort of pastry that is covered in cinnamon and almonds and wrapped around a piece of metal and cooked over hot coals. It was super good. We mostly just wandered around quite a bit and chatted.
The next day Alexa was finally feeling better (yay!) so we both went to meet the rest of our classmates for the orientation tour. There were about 16 people there, and a Russian tour guide who took us up to Prague Castle and then down into Old Town Square. It was raining/misting (pic below) the entire time so we all looked like wet dogs by the end. The tour was about 3 hours, and gave us all a chance to meet. When the tour was officially over, about half the group went home, and half of us went for drinks at a pub the guide recommended. Good times were had by all.
Anyway, class started this morning, we all met at our TEFL school around the corner. They split us into two groups (there’s 21 people total), so I’m in a group of 10 people during the day. Our first lesson was a “Survival Czech” lesson. A guy walked into the room, introduced himself as Kveto, and spoke only in Czech. It was amazing, but in about 30 minutes, I learned enough Czech to at least not sound like a complete asshole when checking out at the grocery store. We were all up and having conversations with each other by the end of the 50-minute period. It was insane. Kveto then said farewell (or, more accurately, “Nashledanou!”), and left the room. About 10-seconds went by before he walked back in and introduced himself as Kenny and spoke perfect English.
Kenny then went onto explain that the whole purpose was for us to understand what it feels like to be taught in a language that we do not understand at all, which makes perfect sense. And it was super easy to follow him even though we didn’t know what he was saying. We then broke the lesson down piece-by-piece, which was possibly the most fascinating thing I have ever done in my life. The whole time we were doing this, I was just sitting there thinking, oh my god, I can totally do this!
We had a short break after that and got to catch up with the people in the other group. The other group hadn’t had the Czech lesson yet, but Kenny made us swear we wouldn’t spoil his surprise, of course. After the break my group went to a different classroom where another trainer named Dan gave us a good breakdown of what to expect over the next four weeks. It really is going to be a lot of work – they weren’t lying when they called the course intensive – but I’m so looking forward to it. Even things that normally scare the shit out of me (public speaking, anyone?) suddenly seem appealing. The more he talked, the more I felt I could really do this. I know it’ll be a lot of work, but… I’m just so excited about it that things that normally scare me suddenly don’t seem scary…
We had a lunch break after that. There’s a pub in ground floor of the building I live in, which is right next to the school, so I walked over there with a bunch of people from both of the groups. The menus were entirely in Czech (words that weren’t covered in our “Hello, my name is…” conversations that morning), so we all pretty much ordered at random. I wound up with chicken penne, which was delicious.
After lunch we were back with Kenny who gave us our first “demonstration lesson,” which is basically where we sit through the type of lesson we’re about to teach to real students. We played a game, talked about movies, and then wrote up a review of a movie we’d seen and somebody else had to guess to the movie. It was a writing demonstration, because it ended with us using some vocabulary and a model of another movie review to then write our own movie review. When we were done, we broke down the lesson like we’d done that morning, and Kenny explained why he had us do each step, and how it all led to the final product of our writing. Again, super fascinating to me.
We had another short break, and then Kenny assigned us our groups and set us to planning our first lesson that we will all teach – tomorrow. To real-live Czech students.
Each of us will teach a mini-lesson tomorrow and another one on Wednesday. It’s “mini” because we are in groups of 2-3 people. I’m in a group of three, so I teach one-third of the 50-minute lesson tomorrow. We spent of rest of the day lesson planning, and then at 6 we were done for the day.
(After these two mini-lessons, we will each teach two full-length lessons, which are 50-minutes each, to real students each week. We will also each teach two 50-minute grammar lessons, but those will be to our peers so they can critique us. A number of them will be observed by the trainers which is part of determining whether or not you pass the course at the end, among other things.)
Once class was over, Alexa and I went for beers and desert (pic below) with two more of our neighbors, Tony and Kevin, which was a lot of fun. Afterwards we came back here where I did a bit of homework and looked over the notes for my portion of the lesson tomorrow, and now I’m catching up here.
Part of me thinks I should be nervous for tomorrow, but somehow I’m just not. It just feels so right. I feel like I found a limb that I never realized was missing, but now that I’ve found it I wonder how I ever got around without it.
I’m probably just babbling.
But then again… 🙂
Love from Prague.