Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Expect the unexpected

And now for a slightly delayed post on my 3rd day of teaching (I warned you not to expect daily's only downhill from here).  But first, a snippet from my early afternoon. I don't know what all of you think, but I consider 70F to be a nice temperature.  Warm but not too warm, suitable for a skirt and a light blouse. I'll carry a jacket in my purse because I realize it's not going to be 70 all night, but I don't see the need to wear a jacket and hat and scarf.  This is where the Russians and I differ.  When I walked to the metro as previously described, an older man stopped me and asked whether I was getting home late. Answer: No...? He then got into hysterics trying to tell me that he was only concerned I would be cold - where was my jacket?! It was going to get very cold at night! Please don't freeze, young lady! I'm sorry, but you will get sick and that is no good!! I thought it was the sweetest/funniest thing ever, so I kept thanking him and showing him the jacket stuffed into my purse.  He kept apologizing and eventually produced a heavily accented English "I'm sorry," and I continued on my way.  

After more running around and waiting at HR yesterday (bureaucracy, my favorite), I got back to the office at Mayakovskaya to plan my lesson for the day.  I had the group of teens from Monday again, but using what I've learned over the past few days gave me a different plan of attack.  Step 1: I was super structured and had all of my handouts ready and knew what order we were going to do them in...except for the one I forgot about, but that ended up being homework. Success!! I had them play a game, and ended up changing what was supposed to be an individual activity to a group one when it proved to be a little too confusing. Adaptation! Next, I showed them a bunch of videos that went really well with what we were doing in this unit...4 in total.  This may have been a bit too much, but it certainly kept them more engaged.  Except for when they got out of control, but then I threatened to take the videos away & they told one another to shut up.  We went exactly until 650, and by then we had run out of time to go over the homework I had assigned on Monday as I rushed to give them their assignments for the weekend.  It wasn't the best class in the world, but definitely a marked improvement.  Of course, after I taught the lesson I found out that we have a bunch of online resources tailored to our books, making it all but unnecessary to plan a lesson, but I can always take advantage of that in the future.  Or not.  I'm still figuring it all out.  

I also learned that for the next two Saturday mornings, I get to cover a group of what we call Little Stars for a teacher who will be on vacation.  These students are really young, about 3-5 I believe, so I'm looking forward to grabbing a bunch of puppets and drawing pictures. Not looking forward to teaching youngsters on a Saturday morning, but it is what it is. 

Yesterday was also eventful outside of being a teacher (teachers have lives?! No way!).  After work, I met up with Yulia to go to a restaurant with some expats that she knows; many of them are either current or former EF teachers, some from the US and some from England.  The group was really great, as was the Azeri dish we went there for: sort of like a stuffed cheesy bread, sort of like a calzone, better than either and served with a raw egg on top.  I started the hour journey home at 11, and by 1230 was having a mini panic attack because my key wouldn't open the lock.  My first thought, of course, was "Oh no, not again!" I called Chien, but he's the heaviest sleeper in the world (even moreso than I am) and couldn't hear his phone.  Then I called the director, but her phone was off...probably for the best.  My last resort was to ring the doorbell about a million times until a poor, tired Chien came to let me in.  Thank God for roommates.   

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