Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Slacker is Back

It's been awhile, I know. Sorry about that, my only defense is I am lazy. It's not a good defense, just my only defense so I pin my hopes for forgiveness on it.

The Past:
I love teaching, I enjoy it so much I am doing much more of it than I thought I would like to. Right now I am working about 16 hours per week, which I find to be the right amount of hours. Anymore than that and I am very tired, any less and I have a really strange broken up week that makes it hard for me to get on a set schedule. I know you are thinking, what teaching more than 16 hours per week makes you tired? Yes, it does, any teacher will agree with me, it is not easy work. After a two hour class I am mentally tired. It is hard to explain but because I have to read exactly what is in the book to the students, I must also remember to speak as clearly and concisely as I can. It is important that the students hear the separation in the words. Then listen to each word they say and correct the pronunciation when needed, etc. It is funny because when I am speaking with them after class I tend to turn that part of my brain off and go back to my old habits of speaking faster and "eating my words" as they like to say.

I teach classes on Tuesdays at 8:15 - 9:00 then catch a bus for the 30 min ride to my next class at 10:00 -11:30. Thursdays at 8:15 - 9:00 bus ride home or to the mall to hang out and chill for about an hour then back out for a 12:00 - 13:30 class. My early class is four adults and I have so much fun with them. My later class is teaching to young woman at a small company, I have had just a few classes with them and also enjoy teaching them. This class is not the "Callan Method" like my others but is a more free form, in the sprit of Spinal Tap Mark II. I do have a book we use for vocabulary and some basic conversation but we are trying out different ideas until we find a combination that works for them. That is why I prefer my morning classes to the night ones.

My night classes are good as well but because the "Callan Method" wants the students to have the chance to hear different teachers to help improve their pronunciation I don't get to teach the same students as much as I would like. This makes it harder to get to know them and their individual level of English. My night class schedule changes every week but I teach most weeks, Monday nights from 17:00 - 21:00, Tuesday nights from 17:00 - 19:00 and the same Wednesdays. Most of my night classes are small 3 - 5 students which is nice because I can focus on them more than with my larger classes. 10 is the most I teach at one time and have only had that once. I do have one class I get to teach at least once per week that I enjoy for two simple reasons. The first is the fact it is just 4 woman who are all at a high intermediate level and they understand 90% of what I say to them. The second is I have a student, who can only be described as, the most beautiful woman I have ever met. She comes to class as if she was about to step onto the set of a movie or TV show. Her hair, makeup and clothes are perfect and the latest fashion. That is the only 2 hour class that seems to take 20 minutes.

The weather in Bratislava has been typical for the winter and not to cold. Other than the almost absolute lack of sun light over the last few months, spring is in the air and my winter mood is lifting and my summer mood is arriving. The lack of sun light sucks but it is not as bad as last year. I think the longest I went with out seeing the sun this year was about 14 days. I went 2 months without seeing the moon which was a shock when I did see it, I had forgotten it was up there, it was a strange feeling that night. We had a nice covering of snow for most of January and February which always makes the an city look better. Right now we are in the ugly phase of the transformation from winter to spring, a lot of rain and mud.

I have been working on my Slovak and I now know the alphabet which is half the battle with pronunciation. Trust me, it's not easy. My flatmate Eva has been helping me learn. I also use the vocabulary from my teaching books to make flash cards for me to learn basic words and phrases, on my laptop. I feel like I am about make a big step in my language skills. I just need to study more.

The Present:
now, well it was.

The Future:
I would like to see if I can pick up a few more hours teaching at companies in the mornings. I would like to get a few classes on Mondays and Wednesday's mornings and then just teach one 2 hour class, Monday through Wednesday nights. I will see if it happen

Maria and Eva have decided to move out of the flat at the end of the month and get a new place with two of there friends. Katka and I are now looking to find a replacement flatmate. We have decided to only have three of us living here, it is a 75m (800 sq. ft.) flat and three is a good number. I am not worried, I think we will find someone we know to move in

I return to the US on the April 8th and will be home for 11 days total. I arrive in to Newark on the 8th and will stay the night at my dad's in NJ. The 9th - 12th I will be in Richmond at my mom's for Easter. I plan on visiting a friend in DC for a night before returning to NJ for a few days in Bay Head with friends. I fly back to Slovakia on the 19th. As the trip gets closer and I have a better idea of my time frame I will try and make plans to see as many people as I can.

As for driving this year at camp, I will not go back this summer. I am sad about this but I need to stay here for the summer, work and make sure I get my visa paperwork done. And it doesn't make sense to get a 1 year visa and spend the first 2 months not in the country. Not after what I am going through to get the visa. I have every intention on returning to camp next summer.

Thanks for your patience with me and my lack of posts. Spring is coming which means more pictures and more stories. Stick around, I will try and keep you entertained.

No comments: