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.
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.