Life has just gotten a lot crazier. I started my new teaching job on Monday. I wasn't really sure exactly how it was going to go because a Russian woman had been teaching there while they were looking for a native speaker. So I didn't know how the transition would be.
I finally got an email at about 10pm Sunday night with previous lesson plans and instructions about meeting Sveta (the other teacher) the next day. I still wasn't sure about what to do the first day. Should I continue a topic that Sveta had started? Should I just stick to get-to-know-you activities? Should I pick something completely new?
I started to panic that I wasn't prepared at all. I was also really tired. So on Monday I woke up and had to spend the morning making four different lesson plans. It was rather frenzied.
I needed to have not only a written lesson plan for each class, but handouts for each student since they don't use textbooks.
Finally I had the papers ready and had to organize them all. I used my roommate's bed for collating.
I arrived at the meeting spot right on time, but I didn't know what Sveta looked like. I didn't see anyone around except a young women dressed in a sporty outfit making a lot of calls on her cell-phone. As people came up the escalator, a lot of them were making calls in order to meet up with people. I was holding my own phone, waiting for it to ring when Sveta got there. But everyone just walked right by. Then I got a text message. "Hi Elizabeth, I'm waiting at the top of the escalator. Are you going to be here soon?" I looked around. Still no one of interest. Did I have the wrong place? I went outside and looked at the sign. No, everything was correct. I went back inside and the sporty woman looked at me. And it turned out that she was Sveta. For some reason she hadn't thought I could possibly be Elizabeth, and I hadn't thought she could possibly be Sveta.
I was still confused about what was going to happen if we were going together to the company. Was she going to introduce me? Was she going to teach part of the class and then let me teach? Was she going to watch me teach? I really did not want to be observed on the first day of teaching.
Then she said, "Of course this isn't how I normally dress for work. It's just my day off, you see!" Now it was all beginning to make sense.
Entering the building, I had flashbacks to the first time I visited a Russian orphanage to volunteer there. It felt a little the same, a new beginning. It didn't feel quite as terrifying. Maybe because Sveta was with me, or maybe because I'm used to being in Russia (I knew God was with me, but He was with me at the orphanage, too!) We went through the orientation and I met all the necessary people. Then Sveta introduced me to the first student and left. I was so relieved that she didn't stay.
My first class was just a tutorial with a 31 yr old woman. It was such a blessing that she was my first student. She was very pleasant to work with. Next I had a few rather ornery guys who claimed they didn't know anything and kept mumbling to each other (and to me) in Russian. When I asked them what they liked to do, they said "drink beer" (okay, maybe the question is childish, but with beginners you have to start somewhere). While I was trying to get them to have a basic conversation, one guy asked me (in Russian) "So your task is to determine our level of English?" As if he had everything figured out. "Today's theme is 'getting to know you,' " I said.
Then I had a guy and a girl, more advanced, but the guy had one of those earphone pieces, and it annoyed me. He kept saying "yesofcourse" to everything and not responding when I corrected his grammar.
My last class was a tutorial with a guy who was at intermediate level. He seemed bored. But I asked him (and the others) to make a list of the topics that they would like to study. That will help me personalize the lessons.
Here I am blogging and there is lesson-planning to do...