Saturday, September 14, 2013

Czech it out, my first lesson to Czech students!!

September 12, 2013

Today I decided to sleep in and not begin my day with jumping rope, as I was feeling a bit tired.  However I was woken by LOUD, repetitive hammering against the side of my building, directly below my window, for about 30 minute straight.  So that was just lovely.  Actually it was terrible ha-ha.  So much for sleeping in.
Old Town Square

LOVE these buildings, so ornate and gorgeous.

During class today, I loved hearing church bells ringing nearby punctuate our lessons throughout the day, so romantic and European, sigh.  During one of our breaks, a few of us walked next door to where they have a huge farmers market set up on Tuesdays through Friday.  All sorts of different stalls selling anything you could possibly want, from jewelry, to toys, sandwiches, pastries, spices, fish, cheese, fruits and more.  A classmate of mine and I walked over to a pastry stand where he selected a delicious looking spice cake and I selected a donut with vanilla pastry cream inside.  We shared bites of each with one another, both of which were delectable.  I will certainly be returning to this pastry stall again in the near future!!  I have found so many awesome dessert places throughout the city and I haven’t even been here long, I am loving this!!

However, despite my descriptions of indulging in various sweets, I have been exercising some very rigid money saving techniques while I have been here in Prague thus far, which I am rather proud of since saving money certainly is not my worst quality but it is far from my strong suit.  The techniques I have adapted so far are as follows (Mom and Dad, take note.  You would be proud):

·         Instead of purchasing a green tea each day from the café next door to my class, (which is not even remotely expensive, but still) I bought a box of tea bags from the grocery store.  I throw some in my purse and then ask for hot water at the café, which is free. 

·         I have purchased groceries.  I eat absolutely zero meals out.  Aside from a random pastry here and there, which costs maybe $1-2 USD tops (Prague really is dirt cheap!!), that is it.

·         And in terms of groceries, I have been super stingy about what I buy.  Here is what I purchased 8 days ago and have made last until now (and I still have some left): eggs, milk, a loaf of bread, yogurts, bananas, tea, ham, small block of cheese, pasta, pesto, tomatoes, lettuce, salad dressing, fresh mozzarella.  That is it.  For meals, I have eggs or a yogurt for breakfast.  For lunch a sandwich, or if we have time to go home on break, I might make pesto pasta.  And for dinner I have either been having pesto pasta, or caprese salad (just tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and pesto).  That would be all.  And yes, I have been hungrier then I am used to being back home in the states on any given day, as the meals I have been making myself are much smaller and less…hearty.  But I am saving money for sure.  And I do love pesto, really, I could eat it every day, so I have really been enjoying caprese salads.  I have been diligent about this, the grocery thing and not eating out! 

·         I take out a small amount from an ATM, less than I think is necessary, and then I make it last all week.

·         I buy one bottle of water and re-use it all week, filling it up in my sink, or in the sink at school throughout the day.

·         I have been packing lunch almost every day to bring to school.  Most of the other students buy lunch or food on breaks.  I bring a small sandwich along.

·         We were given discounted metro tickets for the month while we are here, so I am not paying for public transportation at all now.

·         I have not bought a SINGLE item in terms of material goods.  NO clothing, no jewelry, none of that.  No products at all.  The only things I have purchased have been food.

The big news for today’s entry is this though: we taught our very first lesson tonight to actual Czech students!!!!  This was so thrilling and such a blast!  Our class was split into a bunch of different groups to teach students at various levels in separate classrooms.  So the level I was assigned was pre-intermediate (just one step up from beginners).  Two other fellow classmates and I were to teach this class for 15 minutes.  We were instructed to do one ice breaker and then one warmer for our class.  I was the first one to go out of our group.  As the students filed in, I smiled warmly at each one, though I felt incredibly nervous on the inside.  There were 11 students, almost all of whom were around age 40, with the exception of one sullen looking young girl who I would estimate to be in her mid-twenties.

For my ice breaker, I wrote my own name on a folded piece of paper and set it on the desk in front of me.  I said hello to everyone and had each person go around and say “my name is ____” so that not only were they learning this phrase, but I could also hear the correct pronunciation of each of their names.  Wow, traditional Czech names are not that easy to say.  Some are fine but many are quite difficult, so this was a laugh-worthy moment for sure.  I did my very best with not botching too many.  Then I put three questions on the board: their favorite food, their favorite hobby and their favorite color.  As a demo, I pointed to each question, read it and answered it about myself.  Then I put the students into groups of 2 and 3 and had them ask one another these questions and answer them for one another.  Once finished, they each had to tell me one fact they had learned about a fellow student.  It was super cute, hearing their choppy speech and pronunciation as some of them struggled to form sentences and say words correctly.  It went well though.

For my “warmer,” I put a little poster on the board labeled “Fruits” with drawings of fruit on it to make it crystal clear.  I held a green ball in my hand and instructed whoever had the ball to name a fruit, and then toss the ball to another student.  I tossed the ball to someone and they began.  This went surprisingly well.  Lots of smiles all around, they named plenty of fruits, pronouncing most of them quite well!  Once I noticed they were running out of fruits, I tacked another poster on the board I had made, this one said “Animals” with a drawing of a cute dog on it.  I pointed to it and loudly announced “Animals!”  They smoothly segued right into this and began naming off different animals.  Once the animals began to run dry, I ended with vegetables and they threw the ball around naming various vegetables.

I closed the lesson, thanking them and letting them know they did great and now had a 5 minute break!  Whew, first experience in front of the students is down.  What a relief.  However that was not even an actual lesson.  That was merely two games totaling 15 minutes.  As of this Monday (Sept 16), we have to teach our first, full 45-minute lesson to the same group of students, which I am rather nervous about.  That is SO long, we need to keep our lesson smooth and fluid, and introduce 7-10 new words of target language to them.  The topic I believe I am going to choose to teach them is books.  I am stuck between books or personality traits as my topic.  So we shall see which I go with.

That was the main event for today which was very exhilarating!

Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock!

LOVE this street in Prague, so European and beautiful.

Stay tuned for more to come soon…LOVING Prague so far, what an experience!


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”
Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

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