Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Teaching in Żory

I now have a few weeks of teaching under my belt, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts...

I have to say I am really enjoying teaching and being in the classroom so much more than sitting in a cubicle dealing with dealers that don't have financing, marketing vehicles, and a wide variety of other responsibilities. I really love it...and I grow more comfortable with each class I go into. I don't think I was nervous at shaking of the book, or my voice....but it was a bit uncomfortable since I had never taught in the States. Well, there was showing someone how to do something and other training sessions at GM and CCAC (Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center), but no classroom experience. Getting some tips from Paul and Scott about using some of my personal experiences and likes/dislikes has really well as getting to know the students.

Connect English School uses the Avalon method. I really like the program. It has a strong emphasis in conversation, so there is a lot of talking. We correct the students when they make a mistake to help them get stronger. The most mistakes are a/an, the, and on/in. From what I am learning, they don't have the articles in Polish speech. There are also grammar and writing exercises and spelling tests. I have to say, I am really impressed with how well the students speak and grasp English. Even with the students in book 1 (there are 4 books). I told Scott either the Avalon method was a really great method or we have really smart students....Scott said it was the "superior teaching". Okay, I'll go with that.

One little anecdote....during one lesson with some of our more advance students I was trying to teach the word system. I had thought of a bunch of examples and was really trying to make sure they understood it. After going through all my examples and sentences using the word, one of the students tells me that system in Polish is....system. Of course it is. We were laughing and I asked him why he didn't stop me sooner. I went home that night and looked up system in my Polish to English dictionary....sure enough, it is system. Well, we can just add that to another Polish word I have under my belt.

Speaking of learning Polish....that is going well. I am really having trouble with some of the pronunciation and that the nouns change. I haven't been able to figure out why the noun changes depending on the is just part of Polish grammar. I am sure there is a rule about that, so will have to learn it. I am used to having feminine and masculine nouns from Spanish class, and Polish speech has that too. I am also used to the adjective changing from an "o" to an "a" ending depending on the noun or if you are talking about a man or a woman, but the noun really throws me off. Like the color white. It is biały. But on our package of markers for the white is completely different. It is recognizable...I know it means "white", it is just not biały. I just don't know why it changes. Come to think of it, I think I used biały when ordering a white hot chocolate. Either it doesn't change in that sentence or I ordered it wrong, but since I received a white hot chocolate I am not going to worry about it too much. In addition to my Rosetta Stone lessons, I am learning Polish through the Avalon method. Aneta is translating the book into Polish. I am determined to learn the language.

Another great thing about teaching is getting to know the students. Last night I went to the pub with a woman from one of the classes. It was really great to get to know her and talk to her about life in Poland (while she got to practice her English). While talking to her we spoke about life under Communist rule and what it was like growing up here. I've read plenty of books (fiction and nonfiction) that took place in a Communist country (mostly Russia), but had never had someone give me their first-hand account. It was really interesting to hear about and learn from. I hope to get to know more students and hear their stories.

And I now can make the Polish no more misspellings of Polish words. Like the title of my blog should be Żory Bound and not Zory Bound.
That's all for now. Do widzenia.
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