Good day from Prague!
I know, it’s been a bloody long time since I’ve posted. Let me assure you that I am alive and this post has not been coerced by the secret police. I’ve just been terribly busy with my coursework. So much so that I’ve hardly had a chance to eat, let alone recap my adventure.
A typical weekday has been:
- 7:30AM – out of bed: wash up, eat up, drink coffee (up?).
- 8 AM – walk to school: a fifteen minute walk through the heart of Prague’s winding, medieval streets – I try to get lost as often as possible.
- 8:15 AM – arrive at school (if I’ve not gotten lost), shore up the details of my morning’s lesson.
- 9:30 AM – get into the classroom, set up for my lesson (organizing the desks, setting up power points, arranging the overhead projects, etc.)
- 9:45 AM – teach a 45 min. lesson to a class of 25 Czech students with low English proficiency based on my own lesson plan and student needs analysis. Topics have thus far grammar (word order, ie. “I miss my beautiful, little, sharp, old German steel kitchen knives…”); phonology (pronunciation of pluralization and 3rd person present simple, ie. “wait” becomes “waits”, adding a /s/ sound, while “watch” becomes “watches”, adding a /Iz/ sound and syllable); vocabulary (practice of “E” and “I” words – letters the Czechs often confuse).
- 10:30 AM: observe another student teach a 45 min lesson.
- 11:15 AM: review the lesson with an experienced teacher and peers (like a post game recap) then generate ideas for our next lesson.
- 12:30 PM: have a quick bite to eat, if I’m lucky.
- 1 PM: Now it’s time to learn! Input sessions learning about grammar, phonology, teaching theory, student analysis, etc. Usually two one-hour sessions.
- 3:30 PM: Teaching practice. Develop a lesson plan and run it by the other student teachers for feedback. It’s almost impossible to get a full plan done during this session which means it must be done later…
- 4:30 PM: Off! Maybe grab a beer at Konvicta pub with classmates or have a wander around the city. (It’s neat to use Google street-view to meander the city. Start at my flat – Benediktska 8, Prague – and try to walk west to the river.) Or maybe stop into Tesco (a supermarket) to lament the state of fresh produce in Czech Republic or celebrating the levels to which they’ve raised a humble piece of pork.
- 5:30 PM: Homework! There are 4 main projects to turn in over the 4 weeks of the course. Last week we learned Irish Gaelic in a full immersion class and had to prepare a detailed report of the entire of the experience (ceart go leor!). This week I’m working on an individual needs analysis for one student for whom I need to create a one-on-one lesson plan.
- 7:30 PM: Dinner. Something simple or drop into the local Czech restaurant for some good, pork eating.
- 8:30 PM: finish preparing the following days lesson plan. This should mean lots of chatting with my flatmates. “Can I cover six phonemes in one phonology lesson with my low class? What’s a fun thing to do to wrap up my grammar lesson?”
- 11 PM: Hopefully I’m done for the day and I can take a minute to read or drink some pivo (beer).
- Next day, do it all again.
However: it’s not all been ridiculous amounts of work! Last weekend I visited the town of Melnik in the countryside north of Prague. This weekend I hung out with some Czech’s and explored the city enough to learn that I need to spend a lot more time exploring the city.
Pictures of my digs and my walk to work are coming shortly.
‘Til next time.
PS – Dobry den means “Good day” in Czech.