I like getting comments. It reassures me I am not getting boring, that people are still interested in me even when I am thousands of miles away, and that this is ideally a dialogue rather than a diatribe.
I have had a spurt of interesting events, rather than creative inspiration, which has reignited my blog’s former post-per-day ratio. I doubt it will last but enjoy it while it does.
Today was Sovetskiy day. I didn’t have to get up too early but on the other hand I did not want to leave it too late because I had to plan 6 lessons before the first one at 2.15pm. I had breakfast (breaking open the new marmalade) and caught a marshrutka – it arrived quite quickly so I did not have to wait in the cold, and I had a good seat where I could see where it was going.
I arrived and Lana the senior manager welcomed me. She had news of Janelle and Brianna – Janelle has a job in Moscow, and Brianna went back to her old job in the USA – via Moscow and Turkey.
I sat down to start planning my lessons. I don’t like the keyboard on the computer at Sovetskiy – the mousepad keeps moving the cursor so your words end up all jumbled up – so I brought my own laptop with me to save time. I was happily able to plug it into the printer and print from it without installing any new software. The Russian teachers had printed some material for me for 4 of the lessons but I still like to look through it and work out what order I will be teaching and check if there are things I need to know before I go into the lesson (such as answers to comprehension questions, what “inversion” is, things like that).
There were one or two little hiccups (wrong editions of books, missing materials) but I got all my lessons planned with 15 minutes to spare, so I think I get a 5 on the timing (in Russian grading a 5 is the best score, like an A+ or a First. I think of it like hotel star ratings).
Then I was told my final lesson was cancelled as it had been pushed back too late for the student to be able to attend. In the end I only completed 4 lessons, there was another mid-way through where neither of my students turned up, again possibly because they had been rearranging the times so they could use me for all 6 lessons. I enjoyed most of the lessons, some of the students today were very enthusiastic and keen learners, and I kept them smiling. There were still a few awkward moments though – I taught a lesson about branding and advertising which I previously taught at Spartanovka – it fell just as flat this time as last time. I blame the material.
I have an earlier start tomorrow – a new series of seminars is starting. Peter may be there, Ale is otherwise engaged with a special introductory lesson in Volzshky. The other Stephen is still around, but does not attend seminars as he is working his notice period. He has been working at lots of different offices as a cover teacher, it appears. John has been at a music camp (originally Janelle was meant to do this) but will probably be back tomorrow, but as an experienced teacher he is exempt from seminars.
I will have a little time after the seminar to plan my days’ lessons but not much – I will probably have to make some compromises and just make sure I have the materials and hope I can get through the lessons without too much advance preparation. Then tomorrow and Friday things will start getting really difficult – I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to do my planning. I wish my printer here worked – I may not have access to materials at home but at least I used to be able to do a little in the evenings. The best way to make use of my evenings right now is to have lots of early nights and get plenty of sleep!