Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 8: Let the brainwashing begin...

So it turns out I'm like Mrs. Trunchbull when it comes to teaching Polish children English...

Today was my first day of classes, and my first class EVER was a group of fifteen 6-9 year olds. During my first attempt to teach them the introduction phrases of "What is your name?" and "My name is...", I made a small child cry. Yes, I'm that girl. I should teach them to call me by my American name, Bitchy McGee. 

But, as I switched to the game Hachi Patchi, they LOVED it. It's incredible, kids at that age love games and running around more than I love chocolate. And I love chocolate...(I'm a member of the Godiva fan club, don't test me). The next group of kids also rocked (ages 11-13), and I basically taught them the same game as the younger kids. This group includes my host sister, Natalka, and another member of my host family Mikole (I think Natalka is technically Mikole's aunt, but they're the same age...I don't know, my host family is like five times the size of the Brady Bunch). 

It wasn't until the 14-16 year olds arrived that I felt like a total American dweeb in front of the classroom. Nothing makes you revert back to the awkwardness of early high school than attempting to explain a skit dating game to the coolest kids in the village. Seriously, these were sk8r boyz (all the rage back in the day- Avril Lavigne even sang about them back when being punk was acceptable of hormonal teenagers and didn't mean you were a forty year old working at a Hot Topic). Despite the enormous amount of eye rolling that would make Regina George look sincere, I persevered, and managed to get through my first awkward class of the month. 

Later on in the day, I had my class of 17-19 year olds, including my host sister and translating goddess, Marisha. This class started off kind of awkward and rocky since there's only three other guys in the class, but it quickly became fun once I broke out Catch Phrase. Marisha and another boy actually rock in English, and the other two just happen to be good sports. I feel like as long as I can portray the laid back, "whadduppppp brothaaaaaas" buddy vibe and not come across like the lamest lame lama, then I should be okay (although I did just use the phrase "lamest lame lama" which probably means I'm doomed). 

Then finally was my adult class. This one I was actually the most nervous about considering I'm this teacher-wanna-be and they're all employed functional people. But once I got them going with Catch Phrase, a word race, and transcribing "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, they had a good time and my nerves settled. After class, one woman came up to me and admitted she actually speaks fluent English but she just didn't want to stick out in class. Considering majority of the adults are beginners, this gave me an idea for my mandatory service project. After the adult class around 7pm, I'm going to start hosting 30 minute conversations with the most advanced students who just need practice conversing. We'll see how it goes tomorrow, and maybe we'll move it to a coffee shop or something just to keep it causal and unstructured. 

My host family is still awesome sauce and feeds me every hour to the point where I'm pretty sure I'm on my way to walking like an Oompa Loompa. I feel bad though because I'm not spending as much time with them as before I started teaching, now that I have to lesson plan for five freakin' classes everyday. Mikole and Natalka wanted me to play soccer with them again today and I had to say no :( It broke my heart, considering 1. I love soccer, 2. Natalka, Mikole and I actually rock as a team, and 3. lesson planning is like the burnt part of the crust when it comes to teaching. 

Since tomorrow is the fourth of July, I'll be doing an entire day of American culture and vocab. I expect to be made fun of a lot in Polish, but since I won't know what they're saying, it works out (stoopeed Amereecan). 

Wish me luck!

***Fun fact: My first day in Krakow, I immediately learned two words in Polish: "peevo proszę," aka. "beer please." Little travel tip: always learn what these two words are in whatever language you are traveling to. It's about the essentials, ya'll.

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