Friday, September 20, 2013

BIG news!!! My first European travel adventure....

Thursday, Sept 19

Home run on my lesson today!!!  I am back in the game!  As I said in my last post, Monday I did really well (with my book theme lesson), Tuesday I did a mediocre job with my “under the sea” theme, Wednesday I continued on the sub-par quality level with my “planning a party” themed class while trying to teach future tense using present continuous (my instructor told me that the actual content of my lesson was great, the flow, the activities, etc, but I did not teach the grammar point correctly, which is obviously a paramount fail), however today I got a “boo yeah” with my lesson I taught using a health theme to teach the second conditional grammar structure!!

The second conditional deals with things that are not a reality, they aren’t actually real, but they are a possibility.  It follows a specific format, like the following: “If I won the lottery, than I would be rich” or “If I ate fewer sweets, than I would be healthier.”  The format is: If + situation + would + result. 

In following the health theme, the first activity I assigned my class was splitting them into four groups and then giving each group a “profile” of a character.  They needed to come up with 3 things this person could do to be healthier.  As in “If Bill partied less, he would be healthier,” or “If Nina got more sleep, she would be less tired,” etc.  They seemed to enjoy this activity and were discussing it animatedly. 

Then I introduced my target language (words like: healthy, fit, injury, unhealthy, gym, diet).  It was interesting; they didn’t know the word injury.  To initially elicit the term, I asked, “Does anyone know the word for when you hurt yourself?”  Then I mimed the action of being hurt.  People were stumped.  I began to write the word on the board, “I-N-J-U…” and they were still stumped!  I wrote out the entire word and pasted a photograph of an injured man (with a broken arm and leg) on the white board.  Understanding finally dawned on their faces, very cute.

After introducing all the target language, I gave them their activity which was to create their own health centers (after splitting them into four groups).  They needed to come up with reasons why their health center was the best.  So if people came to their health center, then they would….(fill in the blank).

After coming up with their pretend health center, they were all to stand up, mingle with one another and discuss their health centers, the various benefits each one offered by telling one another, “if you come to our health center, than you would…”  At the end, each group was given a ticket and had to decide which health center they would join and why (not their own) using second conditional “If I joined so-and-so’s health center, I would _____.”  The group who had the most people join won a candy bar, which I provided.  So sweet, they really seemed to enjoy it.  Everything went really well.

At the end, my instructor told me the lesson was excellent, I have great presence up there, great activities, very smooth lesson plan.  He said my only critique was I could tighten up my lesson focus slightly, that I needed to make sure when people were talking about their health centers, that they were actually phrasing things in the second conditional, but otherwise it was great.  He said I did more CCQing and more error correction this time around which was good (though I could do a bit more).

And finally, we swap levels next week, so we will have all new students.  My new level next week is Intermediate (as opposed to this week, my level was Pre-Intermediate).  Therefore, last night, the students in our class from this past week rated us in terms of what they thought about our performance anonymously.  I got all 9’s and 10’s!!!!!  I was so pleased and shocked by this.  So that was really wonderful and a welcome surprise for the conclusion of the week!
Prague at night
In terms of Prague life, as mentioned in a previous post, it seems I have found a pastry partner in crime, which as you all know is basically a requirement for me wherever I am going to live. I need at least one, though ideally many fellow pastry partners in crime.  I am working on building up a team, but for now, one works just fine!  Today for our usual break during class between 11 and 11:30am, he and I walked down the street to the farmer’s market next to our school and choose 3 different pastries to share!  We picked what was basically a crumb cake with a sweet cream cheese layer in the middle, a light chocolate cake square topped with a white fluffy almost marshmallow-like cream and then a thin bark-like layer of chocolate, and finally, a sweet cheese pastry filled with raisins (my least favorite of the bunch as I abhor raisons, thought the sweet cheese part was delicious).  We brought them all back to class, placed them on a plate, moved our seats across from one another for the tail end of our lesson and devoured our delicious sweets as our teacher taught class.  This certainly sweetened the end of the day, pun intended.  This is one of the things I look forward to the most during the weekday now, pastry runs during break.  Outstanding!

A gingerbread house of Prague Castle!!!!

In the meantime, I have been trying to jump rope 3-4 mornings each week before I shower, to make sure I stay in tip top shape and maintain my weight while enjoying all these phenomenal European pastries.  Plus I have always enjoyed exercising in general anyway!

Now for the BIG news!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Drum roll….

I am going to Munich, Germany next weekend (September 27-29) for Oktoberfest!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am SO psyched for this!!!

I was not planning to travel outside of Prague at all before I had finished my TEFL course and prior to having obtained a job.  However this offer was too good to pass up.  A classmate of mine with whom I enjoy spending time with told me tonight that she was going to Oktoberfest alone next weekend and that she would be staying with family friends.  I asked if it was expensive.  She said her train ticket was only $100 USD round trip.  Then she asked if I might like to come with her?  She said her family friends have an extra bedroom and had offered it to her, if she would like to bring a friend along.  I thought about it for a beat and then said “absolutely.  I would love to.”

I made this mistake once and will never make it again.  During college when I studied abroad in Italy, at the same time while I was in Italy, an ex-close friend of mine was in Switzerland.  He invited me to come and stay with him and his family there.  I was a total fool and turned down his offer, as I was worried about money.  To this day, I wish I had gone.  I was so close to Switzerland, it absolutely would have been worth the extra money.  It would not have even been that expensive, maybe $200-250.

Therefore, with that lingering travel regret in the back of my mind (don’t they always say “in life, we tend to regret the things we did not do, as opposed to the things we did”), I thought about it and realized $100 for a round trip ticket???  Free housing???  And that is during Oktoberfest when every single possible hotel and hostel is booked solid months in advance.  I can easily eat for less than $50 for the entire weekend.  That means I am going to Oktoberfest for a mere $150-175 tops.  I. AM. IN.  So that is where I will be next weekend!!!!  I can finally start living up to the title of my blog!!  Next weekend will mark the first of my many future travels around Europe.  I am filled with excitement and anticipation!!!

Exciting plans for this weekend: tomorrow night, my friend and I (along with some of my TEFL classmates who I have invited along) will be going to check out U Fleku.  Its Prague's oldest and most famous beer hall!! According to my guidebook (1000 things you must see before you die), it's "the Czech beer experience. Raucous and rowdy."  It should be an excellent time, I have no doubt ;-)
Alrighty then, I am signing off for now as my German friend will be arriving shortly and I need to get ready…Ciao for now!!
More stunning Prague buildings.
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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