This week was my busiest week of the school year to date. I knew it would be chock-full of activities, and so I wasn't surprised when I had basically no down-time for the first four days of the school week.
On Monday I went to Navsi, a neighboring village, where for a few weeks now, the pastor of the SCEAV (the local Lutheran denomination) church in town and I have been leading a Christian English Club for the junior high aged kids at the primary school. Because it was the first Monday of the month, I went not only for the club, but to also teach two classes. That evening I had my first class in the "new season" of my Anglictinu s Ashley (English with Ashley) classes. When I arrived in the classroom, I was overwhelmed as nearly 30 pairs of eyes were looking at me, waiting for me to begin. Because there were so many, and the class was designed for 2 hours, we decided to break the class in half and do only an hour for each half so that there would be fewer students and less for them to remember from week to week.
Tuesday was the first day that I was to be in the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms at the school here in Trinec. I had planned to do a memory game with the second graders, but due to a communications error, I showed up for that class during the second hour when the class was during the first hour. Oops. In the first grade classroom, the director of the school and I taught using a song about the "Happy House": roof, wall, door, window, floor, and chimney. Cute. That evening I had high school and adult conversation at the church. My chosen topic for the day, because I'm going alphabetically through my conversation topics, was "Arguing." I thought that this would be a wonderful, fun topic with lots of participation. Boy, was I wrong. Arguing, not even in the sense of defending one's position with facts, was not regarded as important among my students. It was much more important to avoid making any waves. I tried to bait the conversation by posing a situation about having a friend inviting them to go shoplift at Tesco (like Wal*mart), asking whether that would be a situation in which they might argue. The answer: a lot of hemming and hawing. This makes me wonder about the state of conviction about the Truth among the believers here. But I digress.
Wednesday was 3rd, 4th, and 6th (a) grades at school. It's getting easier, but it's still hard to stand in front of a group of children and try to teach them something. Everyone says that just giving them the opportunity to hear and be around a native speaker will help these kids a lot. I hope so. That evening was my intermediate class at the church. Thinking about this class was the most nerve-racking of the evening classes for me, because it was the new one. And because I have no curriculum for it. For the beginners I have a curriculum, for the conversation students, I already have a plan worked up for the lessons. But the intermediate? Would they even understand me? It went really well. I'm starting from a basic level: introductions/getting to know you activity, classroom vocabulary, past simple and present simple verb tenses (review) and a little reading: a simplified telling of the Fall with LOTS of our "verb tenses of the week" included. The students gave me good feedback, and by the end of the two hours, I began to think that maybe it would become my favorite class. We'll see.
Thursday: the longest day every week. I have 5th and 6th (b) grade regular English, and then conversation with the 8th and 9th grades. It's good. The eighth graders are the most difficult class for me because many of them don't want to be there, but they are required to be. If anyone has any ideas on how to involve and interest 13-year-olds, I'm more than willing to listen! After lunch, I teach the teachers at the school. They are so much fun and so eager. I really enjoy their class. By the time that class is over, around 3:30, I'm completely beat and have only 90 minutes before my Czech lesson begins. The best way to completely exhaust myself, I've found, is to teach all day on Thursday and then sit and try to think and listen in Czech for two hours in the evening. Wow. My brain wants to jump out of my skull and run away from me, screaming "No more!!!!!" by 7:00 on Thursdays.
Friday: awesome! I teach only 7th grade conversation during first hour, and then I'm done for the day. This week Stephanie and I met in the afternoon for our first Book of Concord reading group meeting. We went to a nearby cafe and talked and drank caffeine and read from the Formula of Concord and discussed our questions searching Scripture. It was great.
When I started writing this, it was late Saturday morning, and because I had been so busy during the week, not evening checking my email for four days, I was at a loss as to what to do with the free time. I had already gone for a run and even cleaned my bathroom, but was wondering what to do with myself. Strange to be so busy and then all of a sudden, not.
-For my friend Emily, that she would receive the last bit of her support for being a Campus Crusade staff intern. Her deadline is 3 days away and she has a way to go, but we have a big God who is able to provide for all our needs.
-That God would use me as His mouthpiece to share the Gospel of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, especially in my evening classes and in the children's club on Mondays in Navsi where there are non-believers. These people, and all without faith in Christ, need to hear the Gospel because they are perishing in their sin.
-That I would improve as a teacher of English and a learner of Czech.