Tuesday, October 19, 2010

this too shall pass ... with a little help from cross-cultural comedy

My first night teaching fell apart a little. The make-shift classroom was overly heated, I overheated, and the books hadn't arrived. Books on which I had based most of my lesson. That's okay, I had the placement test to give the students. Wrong answer. The chairs with built-in desks had not yet arrived, making it nearly impossible to force students to write on their laps. These are part of the growing pains for the language center. Roll with punches, right? It's a good sign when one group has to meet at a cafe to find space/tables on which to write. But a bad sign, when a teacher, sans books and lesson plan, cannot roll with said punches.

Already nervous for my first class, I FROZE, off my lesson plan, jumping around from grammar lesson to past participle, certain the students could smell weakness. I couldn't seem to form an active sentence that I could convert into a passive one. I FROZE. It was like that bad dream, but I was wearing all my clothes. So when the guy from Turkey with the unintelligible lisp gave me an active sentence, followed with the joke "I could teach the class!" any remaining confidence I had was destroyed.

Thankfully, my second class of pre-intermediate students went much more smoothly. But I was questioning why I was in Kosova, why I thought I could teach, why I thought I knew English. Had I actually ever felt a punch before, let alone rolled with one? I couldn't remember. I was set to start my period the next day, my hormones out of whack with the time change, and I hadn't eaten a full meal in days, trying to avoid gluten in a food-culture based on flour.

Ahhh... emotions, flaky, easy come easy go emotions. After a day of feeling downright depressed and ready to board the first plane to L.A., tonight I had a lovely evening with my nightly pre-intermediate class. We discussed friendship, vocabulary and grammar. We talked about the uses of "who" vs. "whom," watched the "Scrubs" scene below, and learned that sometimes, comedy transcends the painful comedic moments of my own life and puts everything into perspective again.


Shannon said...

Rebecca - you're doing something new, something different... so bumps along the road are probably to be expected, even if they are a little bigger than planned. :) Just think... now you have a hilarious story that you can look back on at the end of the terms with your students and you'll all have a good laugh. Remember... life is about the story... and you, my friend, are livin' an amazing on, so be proud. :)

Hang in there... big hugs from AZ!

Oh... LOVE that Scrubs scene!


Rebecca Snavely said...

Thanks Shannon! The bumps and potholes always feel bigger in the moment, and are definitely to be expected. Trying to stay in the present and see the adventure of all of life!