Monday, August 13, 2012

First day teaching

Last week was a long week. When they said "Intensive Training Program" they meant INTENSIVE!!!

So it was Friday and I, like many of my fellow trainees/teachers, was looking at the clock in high anticipation of 6pm. Check out time. Go home, de-stress, sleep. Nope. About 5.30 they announced that we'd all be teaching actual Russian students this week and those who would be teaching on Monday had to stay, prepare a lesson plan, and couldn't leave until it was signed by a senior staffer. They strongly recommended everyone stay to start preparation for Tuesday's and those few fortunate people who didn't teach until Wednesday, well still do something on Friday night, but certainly didn't have to do as much work.

Me? I was fortunate to land teaching Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thankfully that means I don't teach Thursday or Friday. Everyone does have three days and there are 5 of us who have the first three. Anyway, I was very exhausted and while I've done lesson plans before (both for a college job 8-10 years ago and when I substituted 5-6 years ago), this was new. It took me until about 10pm, they signed me out "not final" and sent me on my way. I wasn't able to talk to Daria (her birthday was Friday) despite calling/sending an sms (text).

Alas, Saturday came and I talked to Daria for a little bit. My home-stay family left Saturday for the weekend and returned Sunday night so I had the place to myself which was nice. I do wish I asked how to use the washing machine before they left though. I tried to translate the settings, but I gave up until they returned and washed some clothes late last night.

Spent a lot of the weekend de-stressing and then reworking my lesson plan. Well, my lessons/activities were all fine, but they wanted more substance in the side bars stating the aim of the activity/lesson and a better break down of time (this part of the activity takes 2-3 minutes instead of the whole activity takes 10. Really???? Ok. Well now I understand better how they want it so I can write tomorrow's better. Tomorrow morning. Oi) so I had to rewrite it again today. I think there were 6-7 drafts.

Well, ok. 7 drafts. I'll be fine. I know the material and how to do it. 7pm comes and I teach from 7-7.45 when another trainee picks up the second part of the lesson and a third trainee does the third for three 45 minute sessions ending around 9.30pm with small breaks between each teacher. Pre-intermediate so they have some knowledge of English, but I still have to speak slowly and at perhaps a 3-5th grade level.

On a side note, it is extremely windy tonight. My windows are rattling quite hard. I'm sure the 17th floor aids to the speed of the winds since we're above most other buildings, but still, crazy. Oh yeah, lots of heavy rain and even hail the size of small marbles coming at the rate of someone dumping the entire canister of BBs off the counter. Beautiful t-storms.

Only half the students showed up at first, so my warm-up activity went much faster than anticipated. Well so did all the activities. Eventually 2 more students showed up, so we were only missing 3 (11 for the class). So all my activities went much faster than I anticipated. I was teaching 3rd form (aka past participles - 1st = infinitive, 2nd = past simple). I had two bingo games (full blackout the card, not row, column, or diagonal) set up to help practice where I'd say the 1st form and they'd have to mark their card written in the 3rd form. Second game, I said the 2nd form and again they'd mark the 3rd form as I'm trying to get them to connect the form to verbs they already know. First game, no one yelled bingo so I used up all my list of words. Second game went much better, but I still had 15 minutes left in class and I used up all my "regular lesson." Even my "excess" lesson wasn't 15 minutes. I dragged that out very slowly and decided to officially do attendance for the last few minutes since everyone was finally there. And I attempted to pronounce their last names and made them correct it for me to slow up the time. Whew. Made it.

I know there are a lot of things I could have done better in the entire lesson, but overall I think I did better than I was expecting myself to do. Fortunately I was able to do a lot on the fly that wasn't in the lesson plan to stretch both the teaching aspect and activities out.

Tomorrow, I have a different class. Elementary. Beginners. On the way out the door I asked one of the teachers from that class today how it went. He was much more tense and stressed than I at the end of the day. Warning for tomorrow: lots of gestures; single words - no sentences; don't do pair work even though we're supposed to make them do that (I'll have to ask advice from a senior teacher/staff); and just be prepared for frustrated students and that I'll probably get frustrated.

I'm glad I ran into him and got the head's up.

Few final notes for the night. I have noticed that some of the most vain people on the metro are the emo/scene/punk type people between 17-20. Maybe I'm misidentifying them since I don't know what music they listen to, but they dress like the emo/scene kids from about 4 years ago. Constantly looking into the reflection on the metro door/window glass fixing and adjusting their moussed hair. How many times can you do that in 40 minutes? Tonights 2 guys, I'll guess at least 60 times on my trip home. Also constantly adjusting their shirts to be just proper. Ok, tonights two were worse than any last week, but still, lots of self attention in the reflections. I honestly thought metrosexuals were bad in the US, but I think even those dressed more equivalent to a metrosexual in the US don't pay quite as much attention to themselves here. That or it's all at home.

Last note, I saw a pit-mix on my way from the metro stop to the apartment. Beautiful brown with tiger-eye swirls. Clipped ears :/ but full tail :-) and it did not look like a fighting dog. It was definitely a mix and the muscle definition is not as defined as Karma. On the pit-bull note. In the US the name pit-bull or pit can stir some anxiety in people, but most people don't know staffordshire terrier is the same breed,  just often a less terrifying name. We thought that pits wouldn't even be that known here since it's an American breed and usually in the UK and Australia. Nope, and staffordshire is a terrifying name here. Ok seriously the wind is very intense. Is my window going to crash into my room? Anyway, we tell people that Karma is a "mix" смес/смеш or something like that (which technically she is by her vet record). Any Russian reader want to provide the proper Cyrillic?

Oh, and Ella isn't eating so prayers for her please. We don't know if she's feeling complete stress about this or what not, but kitty is too small to not eat.

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