So what the czech am I doing??

22 Sep

So you may be asking yourself what, exactly, am I doing here? How did I end up in the Czech Republic? And why would I subject myself to that experience after I struggled so much of the time in a country where I moderately knew (or at least understood) the language???

I’m currently typing to you from my balcony (yes, our new apartment has a balcony! two, actually… more to come on the new place later) overlooking the main pedestrian shopping street of Karlovy Vary. It’s currently 8:39pm (my time, which is to say Central European Time) and there are a few people walking through the street here and there, but it’s overall quite quiet. There is a random bar at the end of the street that plays music loud enough that I can tell it’s some sort of 80s soft rock, but not loud enough so that I can differentiate between Steve Perry and Tina Turner. Oh wait, I can now definitively hear “Careless Whisper” by George Michael. I am not making that up. We’ve noticed that the street is still busy until about 8pm when people seem to head home. It’s a little chilly right now, but I feel fine in a fleece and my fingers aren’t getting numb typing so it’s not that cold. But in the mornings when I walk to work I can see my breath…

So anyways, back to the task at hand, what am I doing here? Not even two weeks ago I took a job with Wattsenglish, a company started and run by a Brit that specializes in teaching English to young and very young learners in the Czech Republic. One of the main draws was that it allowed me to come back to Europe and get a visa/my working papers. In the vast majority of European countries it’s nearly impossible for me as an American to get hired legally as an English teacher because no language school wants to sponsor an American for a work visa when they can hire a Brit with a European passport who already has the right to work in their country. Last year in Spain I had a student visa because my program technically paid me a “stipend” for participating in a language and cultural program and not a “salary.” But I guess the Czech Republic has some different standards with the requirements for working papers and residency, and Wattsenglish is willing to provide the paperwork for Americans to apply for their green card. So here I am legally working and living in Europe again.

coat of arms of Karlovy Vary

Another one of the reasons I decided to take the job was that I would get to travel to a lot of places that I wanted to get to last year and never did: Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Munich. And probably a ton more that I never even aspired to go to. It’s true that there is still a lot of Spain that I never got to see, but I feel like I will be back there again, in some capacity.

My teaching experience this year will be totally different. For any of you who talked to me last year or read the blog know that I worked in a high school in Huelva and I loved it. It was intimidating at first but I ended up really enjoying my experience there. This year I will be teaching kindergarten and primary school children. It’s a whole different world. I forgot that I would be regularly dealing with kids who are picking their noses and putting the plastic fake food in their mouths. Awesome. But I know it will be good experience for me, it will get me to work on being both a teacher and an entertainer and it will teach me load of new games and techniques (and silly songs – “Hello everyone, tra la la la laaa, Hello everyone, traaa la la la la la… I’ve been singing this pretty much all day).

My schedule is not so bad, granted I haven’t finished the first week yet so I may feel differently on Friday. Both Mondays and Fridays I work only 8-12 in our language center (our office) in Karlovy Vary, which is about a twelve minute walk from our apartment. Tuesdays I teach only kindergartens from 8am til almost 11am. Pretty sweet, no? These classes are in smaller towns outside of Karlovy Vary so I drive the company car to those schools (yep, six days into living here and I’m already tooling around in a tiny red Hyundai). Wednesdays I start late, but teach four primary classes of various levels from 12:45 until 4:30pm in Ostrov, a smaller town about 20 minutes from Karlovy Vary. I will be taking the bus there on Wednesdays because my roommate needs the car to go somewhere else. Thursdays I am in Ostrov again, teaching more of a mixture of primary school level again, but this time I have the car so I can drive myself there if I want. It will be a totally different experience for sure but hopefully one I will enjoy.

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3 Responses to “So what the czech am I doing??”

  1. Tricia Kap September 25, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    I love this, I love this! Keep it coming Joanna!

    • Sean September 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

      So jealous, I would love to visit but I doubt I have the funds. Keep posting.

  2. Jen October 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    Love that you are working with kids my style. I am all about the picked noses…ugh!

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