We are well into our second week and everyone seems to be settling in with their students. The past weekend was relaxing for me although I have not been able to totally remove myself from business-related decisions that need to be made at home.
I had the opportunity to play tennis Saturday morning with Marek’s friends. Saturday afternoon one of my adult students, Maria, and her family came over for some informal tennis lessons. They actually did quite well. Saturday evening I was able to get a head jump on lessons for the second week. Sunday, Magda, my Polish teacher at the high school in Siedlce, and I journeyed to Warsaw for the day. I have known Magda for several years and although we communicate throughout the year it was nice just to have some quiet time to visit. She is an amazing woman.
As we have all expressed, expect the unexpected when in another setting. This past weekend was no exception. As I walked around the grounds. I noticed a large group picnicking on the backside of the Manor. As I approached the group, I realized that a good portion of the guests were hard of hearing and were using sign language, while playing ping pong , while others were dancing and others were learning the art of archery.
There is a passage in a book I am currently reading, Boys in the Boat, that seem applicable to my experience in the classroom: I am paraphrasing but it could reads “it is not just about coming here to teach. You have to give yourself up spiritually. You have to surrender to the task. When you are done and walk away from this experience you have to feel that you have left a piece of yourself behind in it, forever, a bit of your heart”.
With each passing year I am able to hone in on my approach to teaching English. This year I have built in regular homework assignments and a firm approach to discipline. Maybe it is from my community theater experiences, but I find myself directing as much energy in the classroom as possible in the hopes that my energy is contagious. I find that allowing students to write out their assignment first followed by speaking in class improves their confidence. Having a Polish adult (teacher) in the classroom also helps. It is important we approach these assignments as a team.
This weekend I look forward to more tennis and I have been invited to a couple different homes for dinner.
Journal be Rene.