Hello, hello! It is now my 9th day in Warsaw, Poland and it’s all fairly interesting so far.
On Monday we started out ‘training’ around 11:30 and went through loads of games and ways to adapt some of them and went through all of the difficult classes the school offers – the ages, levels, etc.
Kindly, our boss bought us all lunch and had it delivered to the school. There’s an Indian restaurant just around the corner and their lunch time deal includes two curries, a box of rice, naan bread and a dessert. It was pretty good!
Then we spent the afternoon lesson planning and Karolina, the director of the primary school program, was available to help us.
Back up. When I arrived at 11:30 I was told that I’d be teaching a block of 6 hours on Tuesday and I wasn’t impressed considering I was told in my interview that each teacher gets a week of training. What they meant was: teachers who start in August receive a week of training. I expressed my disappointment to my boss and explained that I didn’t feel ready to jump into 6 hours of teaching without any knowledge of the schools, classes, materials etc.
She was amazing and it wasn’t a problem at all. Instead she asked me what I wanted to do instead and how could I be better prepared.
So on Tuesday I went with the director to each of the four schools, met some of the staff, saw the classrooms and tried to find my way around the buses and trams. We even went to McDonalds for breakfast! Then I went back to the main school to meet the director and she went through all the different classes I was teaching, including the exam prep ones. I had time to prepare for my Wednesday lessons, although there was only three of them.
Tuesday’s snow was also amazing. It started around 8 and didn’t stop until gone 3 in the afternoon. Everything looked beautiful.
After ‘work’ I stopped by the shopping centre so I could stock up on toothpaste, pasta sauce, coconut milk and I treated myself to a bottle of coke. Wow – living the dream!
It’s amazing that in the first 5 days I hadn’t had a single piece of chocolate, nor a packet of crisps and no fizzy drinks at all. My stomach hasn’t been boated and I haven’t felt sick or uncomfortable. It just goes to show how much I damage my own body sometimes.
But yes, that ice cold bottle of coke went down a real treat!
Wednesday was not my favourite day. I woke up feeling off. Nervous, panicky, unhappy about certain comments that had been made the day before, so I wrote a blog post about My Mental Health in 2019. It left me feeling shakey and sick. For two hours I contemplated calling in sick. Even as I left the house. Got on the wrong tram. Ended up at the depot. Back on the right tram. Right until the second before I walked through the school gates. I wanted to run back home and hide under the bed covers.
Thankfully I managed to pull myself together. I taught one amazingly adorable class, one class of devils and one class of pre-teen drama queens. Oh my poor head.
I only taught 3 x 45 minutes and it felt like I was trapped in the school for years.
I had a little wander around Galleria Mokotow, very close to the school, and was going to treat myself to a movie and popcorn but by the time I got to the ticket desk I had a freak-out and walked away. Instead I got the tram home and jumped into my PJs.
Thursday was supposed to be my second training day but because I’d swapped my schedule for more exam classes (yayay!) I had to teach right away. I went into the school early and once again Karolina helped me prepare the lessons, find the right books etc.
It was certainly tough!
I had a one-to-one PET lesson which went well, Two young classes, both went well and also an FCE class. Wow. I was so nervous before that class! I got the timings wrong and they were eager to leave on time, I think they might have been a bit bored and I desperately wanted to do everything right. I don’t know if I did.
I went in early again on Friday to prepare for another four lessons and for four lessons on Monday. My poor brain was fried before 2pm.
I had one individual lesson with a lovely 8 year old girl, who was extremely shy at first but by the end of the 50 minutes she was shouting things out and had a huge grin on her face.
The second lesson was the first girl, plus another. So these two little girls were learning about body parts and activities we can do like sports, driving, riding a bicycle etc. You could tell there was an ability difference and the quieter one ended up drawing sad faces everywhere because she wasn’t getting as many questions right. However, in the end, I felt really pleased with both lessons and I think the girls had fun. Especially as they tried to teach me Polish.
Then I had two tiny nursery school groups. Oh my god. The cuteness factor was unreal. They were so little and adorable, although some of them were teenage sulkers – big time!
During the third lesson we were playing a ball game and unfortunately I ended up hitting my head on one of the desks. How I did not cry in front of all of those children, I don’t know… but it hurt immensely and today I still have a huge lump on the back of my head and a lovely headache to accompany said lump.
The final lesson was ridiculously difficult. I was supposed to teach them the days of the week but the computer, CD and DVD player were all acting up so in the end we couldn’t use the book or watch the video and it was a nightmare. We ended up playing ball games and ‘pass the flashcard’ until I couldn’t drag them out any longer. I tried to have them run around with flashcards and when I said stop they had to line up in order.
It was so adorable because they all kept mixing up Wednesday and Thursday. God knows how! The lesson was too difficult for them and some of them were stressing out and I just felt so guilty. I thought I had all the back-up options possible but I was wrong.
With Friday out of the way I went home to put a frozen bottle of water on my head, watch some tv and think about absolutely nothing. (Ok I’m lying. I finished rewatching Homeland on Netflix and my life feels a little empty without Carrie and Quinn.)
Back to work on Saturday, sadly, as we had another training day planned. I knew it would be worth it, but I wasn’t impressed about having a 6-day working week.
I went along and we discussed PET and FCE exams, the marking criteria, tips and strategies for a couple of hours and it was all extremely beneficial and I definitely feel more confident about the upcoming lessons.
I was exhausted, my head hurt and all I really wanted to do was go home and sleep. However, I was also beginning to feel a little socially desperate so I got the tram into the city centre and met some new friends to watch the Liverpool match and grab some beers. Thankfully, it was totally worth it!
Last night I slept for 10 hours and I still feel like it wasn’t enough.
Olivia and I walked down to Caffe Nero and spent a few hours trying to plan lessons. The atmosphere was amazing. Everything felt really new and there were bookcases everywhere – I think it’ll probably be my new favourite cafe.
I spent the afternoon researching places to visit during the upcoming ‘Winter Break’ and after a couple of hours I’ve finally booked my trip.
Friday 25th – overnight bus to Budapest and stay until Sunday
Sunday 27th – Bratislava and stay until Tuesday
Tuesday 29th – Vienna and stay until Thursday
The rest of the trip I’ve left open-ended in case I have enough money to go somewhere else… I’ve not been to any of those cities and I’m ridiculously excited.
If you’ve been before, feel free to let me know your suggestions on places to eat, visit, hang out etc…
I have a huge week ahead of me and I’m still deciding whether to go out tonight, stay in and plan, or just get pizza and watch Netflix.
Lots of love xo