October 27, 2019
I haven’t had much time to process this past week, to be perfectly honest. It’s been intense, to say the least.
I’ve already passed my grammar test, but nevertheless I’m rolling on with this theme because just like present perfect simple, time may pass but it’s never truly complete. Oh, and grammar is still important too, I guess.
One of the functions of the present perfect is to describe actions in the past taking place in an unfinished time period. I’ve taught three English lessons so far in Prague, but am only halfway through my course. I still have six more classes to teach, a one-on-one lesson to organize and a variety of other homework assignments and workshops to attend.
Teaching new English learners has been quite a bit of fun so far, even though there are plenty of challenges and frustrations. So far, I’ve taught three 45-minute lessons. One covered a vocabulary selection of my choice, another was an assigned grammar point and the third was a listening class.
With each lesson, I put a lot of effort into engaging introductions, which I enjoyed but am also slightly regretting. For my lesson on birthday celebration lexis, I pretended it was one of the student’s birthdays and gave out party supplies and then presented them with a cake. When I taught a listening lesson on the rules of soccer, I dressed as a referee, tossed a ball to one of the students and then pulled out a yellow card on them for a hand ball.
It was fun but I don’t think I can afford to spend money on props every lesson.
The lesson focusing on grammar was by far the most difficult. I was assigned the zero conditional which is a tense that native speakers rarely if ever use in everyday speech. I was supposed to create a lesson that, by the end, would have them using zero conditional naturally which seemed like an impossible task.
To make matters worse, within a minute of starting my lesson, my observer informed me and the rest of the class that I had written on the whiteboard in a permanent marker. ‘I’ve made a huge mistake’ was my thought after that immediate past action. Wearing a beret that I constructed out of paper for my ‘art’ theme, I felt pretty embarrassed.
The rest of the lesson felt like a disaster. I forgot a lot of the steps I had been taught and had to backtrack, but by the end, they were actually using the zero conditional without my help. They said really weird sentences like ‘when I see that painting, I buy it’ but overall my lesson actually worked, and afterward my teaching observer said that zero conditional using the method were being taught (including a theme and everything) would probably never be something I actually did in the real world.
After my final A2 lesson, we were given feedback cards filled out by the students. I had three 10/10s and one 9/10. One of the 10/10 slip’s only comment was ‘Ok’. Apparently that’s a Czech term of endearment.
I’ve made it through half the course and I’m not sure how I’ll be able to keep going. That’s an action in the past, where the emphasis is on the action’s effect on the present time. I’m afraid that I may have lost my spark, but am hopeful that it’s just a blip and by the end of the day I’ll be excited about a new lesson plan. I teach a slightly more advanced group (B1) this week and have already been assigned my first lesson topic.
I’m still not sure if teaching is really for me. Well, I think I’ve actually always been sure that teaching isn’t my goal in life. But could I do it for awhile as a means to make money while I pursue my writing and artistic ambitions? Am I good enough and can I tolerate it?
I can’t think about that now. All I need to focus on is that I’ve taught three English lessons in the Czech Republic and they went well. Those are now my life experiences and just little pieces of my past, which is taking place in an unfinished time period with unlimited potential.