Tonight I played Risk with friends at The Globe. Since there were 7 of us, and only 6 armies, the five experienced players decided it would be fair to let the 2 inexperienced players join forces – make it a fairer fight. I knew better. Being one of the two inexperienced players, I felt cornered. James and I had no choice in the matter. He was more eager than I was at the idea of a team in the game of Risk, but his energy swayed me. I thought it would be a chance to show the rest of the group what James and I could end up with. We would be the ultimate underdogs. The outcome is that both of us think we would have been better off alone: he thinks he would have been better without my input, I think I would have been better without his (he wanted to attack our neighbors in Asia with quite a small army). But let me ask you this, James, whose idea was it to take Australia?! That’s all we had – all of our hope lay within that continent, for we were surrounded by bigger armies elsewhere. Eventually, the black army of Adam took over our red men, and we were spread too thin through Asia, circling the drain for a good 3 rounds before we finally built our soldiers a memorial in the corner of our table.

Anyway, I’m leaving Prague. In about 36 hours.

I’ve felt ambivalent about the move, but now I’m just feeling nostalgic about Prague.

And reluctant to experience an Oklahoma summer again after all.

Tuesday Morning

I woke up on Tuesday morning with the weight of my final decision on my shoulders: the ticket had been purchased, my boss informed, and my roommate looking for someone to take my place. Of course, it was a beautiful morning – so sunny – and I was in such a good mood being in Prague and doing whatever it is that I do on Tuesdays before my first class. I was really enjoying myself – walking around, taking in the architecture and the sounds of Prague. I had gathered my teaching materials that morning for my class, and was starting to get excited about teaching that day. On the front steps of my school, I outlined my lesson plan (just to have written what was in my head to help organize a sometimes crazy classroom). When I walked in to the school, I saw one of my Thursday students in the lobby. Though he’s a class clown (I sympathize) and makes my lessons difficult, he was very sweet to me. He came up and spoke more English to me than he ever has in any class (he typically just tries to make the other 6-year-olds laugh by growling or jumping on a desk). I got really sad that maybe he was coming around to the idea of me as his teacher, and maybe our lesson on Thursday would be really great, and maybe this lesson today would be great too. This was becoming more of a routine for me; maybe it was getting easier.

I walked to the fourth floor, where 2 of my students were hiding in the hallway. The rest of them were jumping around in the classroom and drawing on the board. I was a few minutes early, so I just watched what they drew (or wrote). I was shocked at what one of my students was writing – something I couldn’t read, obviously – but in really good penmanship, and in cursive! Definitely not something American kindergarteners can do. This student also speaks a bit of French, in addition to her native Czech and beginning English.

"We look forward to the holidays."

The highlight of the lesson - for them and for me.

I wished that I could have just let them draw on the board, but I had vocabulary to teach. The rest of the lesson, of course, was much less fun. When I tried to get one of my students (Vojta) to say “My name is Vojta,” he only replied “My name is BABY!” over and over again, making the rest of the class erupt in laughter. This is hilarious to them… every week. Suddenly, I was really, really glad that I wasn’t going to be a teacher anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy these kids… before the lesson. But when you’re in charge of their learning, it just gets stressful.