Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Official Day of School

Yesterday was actually the first day of school but here in the Czech Republic, kids come for an hour on the first day...meet with their "class" teacher, get their "time tables" (schedules) and then go home. SWEET deal for us language teachers who didn't have to teach yesterday.
I officially started teaching my classes today. Today I only had 4 classes. All classes are 45 minutes was 90 minutes long.
I was very nervous, not becuase I thought I couldn't teach but just because I am at a different school with kids I have never met. It is the waiting that is the worst part. My first class started at 9:40 and teachers in the Czech Republic don't have to be to school until 15 minutes before their first class (same for students)-but the overachiever in me had me arriving at 8 am...well before my first class. Teachers are separated into "offices" and that is where our desk, copy machine, supplies, etc are. I am located in the CZ/language office so there are 9 of us in my office. We each have our own desk side by side in the middle of the room with 3 computers located on the back wall.
My first class is called 3D. That means they are 3rd year in their language courses and they are pretty fluent (still learning though) in English language. Iva (my colleague) team taught with me today so we divided up the 45 minutes into different activities. We had them discuss their summer holiday and then discussed it whole class. There were 30 kids in there because Iva and I had our two groups together but normally I will see only 15 at a time (same for her). The kids were very nice but shy and not eager to volunteer to talk, but when I called on them, they answered the question and their English was very good.
My next class was right after 3D. I had a 10 minute break between classes so enough time to go back to my office, grab the next classes stuff, wait for a minute and then head to class. Teachers DO NOT arrive at class until 3-5 minutes AFTER the start of class. I walked to my next class (the school is 5 stories tall and I teach EVERYWHERE) and walked in. Students in the Czech Republic stand when a teacher walks in the room in the beginning and the teacher waits for all students to stand, tells them to sit, and then the lesson begins. SOOOOOOO, I walked into the class, they all stood, I told them to sit, and then they didn't look the age that I was told they would be....I asked them if they were V5G (the name of my class...which means young ones...they are 5 years into their 8 year program) and they said NO. I told them I was in the wrong room...they LAUGHED...and I walked out completely embarrassed. My actual classroom was right next door. Oh well...first day something is bound to happen.
SOOOOOO I walked into my correct V5G (15-16 year olds) and they stood, I told them to sit, and proceeded to break the ice with my embarrassing story that just happened. We did introductions, I passed out expectations, they got into small groups and discussed their summer holiday, and then it was basically time to go. The 45 minutes flew by. This class was very nice but they were very shy and when the spoke, it was hard to hear them because they spoke so quietly.
My third class was at 1:20 and it is called V8G. They are final year (8th year of their 8 year plan) in English. They are so far my FAVORITE class. They are 18-19 year olds and I did my introductions, and asked if they had any questions of me. Every other class so far, had maybe 1 or 2 questions but this class had SEVERAL. We must have spent 20-30 minutes just talking about America, where I am from, why I am here, etc. The class was very polite, and super helpful and the 45 minutes just went by too quickly. I only see this class once a week on Thursday so I won't see them again until next Thursday.
My final class of the day is called KA, which means conversation class. I team teach this class with a Czech teacher (as do I with the rest) and we had to figure out a way to divide the 30 kids into 2 groups...one group with me....and one group with the Czech teacher. If we simply asked them whose group they wanted to be in, they would want mine...of course....:)Of course we had to be fair, so my colleague developed a test to give them today and then we would score it and put the highest 15 kids in my class and they would take the lowest 15. The test was hard for the kids. It consisted of a reading part, fill in the blank part, and a listening part. It took the kids about an hour of the 90 minutes to finish the test. We let them leave after they were finished and would tell them which group they are in next Tuesday. I only see 15 of the 30 kids every Thursday as well.
So overall it was a busy day. I loved my first day and had such a great experience. The kids were very nice, polite and seemed excited to have me there.
In all I teach 3D, V5G, V7G, V8G, 4C, 4D, and I have 3 different coversation groups(7 different preps). I meet each class 2 times a week for 45 minutes and each conversation group once a week for 90 minutes. I won't have more than 15/16 kids in a class so it is going to be a nice treat from the amount I am use to in the States.

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