Guest Teaching

Trip Start Apr 14, 2006
Trip End Jul 2008

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Friday, April 28, 2006

oday we began our practicum at the local school. An eighth grade class was broken up into 2 classes and Donald (another one of the 4 PCVs here in kocherinovo) had one and I had the other. It was all very confusing because originally Peace Corps wanted us to team teach this week, but Galina (the resource teacher at the school) didn't understand that idea when she made the schedule. Plus we were supposed supposed to 'microteach,' meaning 20 minutes, but that's not what happened. Yesterday the other English teacher, Snacimir Trenchev, told us he would 1st go over the homework, and then we would teach a lesson on Plants and Animals but he didn't know the page number. Luckily Galina stopped by our Bulgarian class later because the lesson was in a different book than we had thought. Anyway today 10 minutes before class Snacimir hands us a handwritten lesson plan. Obviously we had made some plans the night before, including making up flashcards. So I kind of incorporated what he wanted, and assigned the homework he wanted. So at the beginning of class I found myself alone with the kids - the plan was for either Galina or Snacimir to be with me. But no one was there, so I just went ahead. Teaching in Spain was an invaluable experience; I wasn't that great of a teacher at first but I learned a lot over the 3 months. So I ended up teaching 45 minutes when I had planned for 20. It was ok tho. First we did a name game. Then we did the new vocab for animals, using the flashcards. Next I passed out the cards and each kid had to say 'This is a (turtle)' etc. It was good to have them talking in complete sentences. And I had to fill out the time by having them copy down the words from the books, which was kind of dumb, and then we practiced the pronunciation by reading the words. Speaking of books, less then half of my kids have books because they can't afford them. Overall I thot the class went really well, they were all on really good behavior which probably won't last. The teachers tell them to be extra good, since they see us as guests and want to show off the school, Dessi (teacher Dessi) says it's a holdover from Soviet days. Plus the kids were good cause we're the town celebrities, which will probably wear off. Anyway I thot my teaching went well, but I wish someone was there actually to give me feedback. Over the next 2 months feedback will be a big part of our practicum.
This afternoon we had 3 hours of classes with people from the HUB. We had 2 hours of technical (secondary TEFL) training, mostly talking about lesson planning. And next 1 hour of community skills, just talking about adjusting to Bulgarian culture and our host families. I can tell that we are getting quality training here - this is all on top of our 3 hours a day Bulgarian language training - but we have LONG days. I was so excited for the weekend. Fortunately most of our weekends are free, with some homework of course. I love coming back to the house and relaxing. If I have homework I usually do it in the garden, and someone or other comes over and corrects me, or quizzes me on vocabulary or something. I've been spending more time with Fidanka, Cami's grandmother and Georgi's mother, this way. This afternoon I also got to make banitsa, a traditional Bulgarian pastry, with Fidanka and her daughter who lives around the corner. Cami and her 2 year old cousin Niki were poking around trying to help/pulling the tablecloth onto the floor, which made Fidanka mad but made me laugh. Making the banitsa was great, and took a long time, but paid off when we had it nice and hot for dinner, with yoghurt - usually you eat these things for breakfast, but whatever.
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