25th April, 2010. 4:20 pm. Wow, way overdue epic post!!
So the regular blogging whilst on my CELTA didn’t exactly go to plan, at all. But now I’m sat here bored, putting off preparing for tomorrows interview and I’m in the mood to reminisce. I want to put down as much as possible about the course, people, students, lessons and general experiences so that I’ll always be able to remember. First of all though I’ll start off with a bit of an update on what’s been happening since I got back. So I got a Pass A, yay for me! I’ve been applying for English teaching jobs at summer schools around the UK. I’ve got an interview with Thames Valley Summer Schools tomorrow, it’s my first interview so I doubt I’ll get that one because I have no clue what to expect. I’ve applied to nine schools so far so hopefully I’ll get at least one.
So the plan is to teach in a summer school and gain some experience/earn some money and I really want to teach in South Korea, so after I have a summer job secure I’ll start applying for jobs there.
Anyway, back to CELTA. I wasn’t completely useless and blogged about my first couple of days in Krakow.
I went into the school pretty early and picked up my keys for the apartment. Our apartment was amazing, we were so lucky, all the bedrooms were huge with tall ceilings (it’s the one in the picture). It was on Batorego which was really close to the old town and the school. The only downside was it was 78 steps up so it was a bit of a trek with the suitcase!
My two flatmates didn’t get in until about half 8 so I didn’t really get to speak to them much but they seemed really nice. I lived with a girl called Marita and a guy called Charlie, both were 26 and from the UK.
We woke up the next morning and set off to the school for our first day of CELTA. I was SO nervous. They throw you in at the deep end and we taught on our first day. Only for 20 minutes but I think it was still pretty harsh. The lessons were only ‘getting to know you’ lessons and I had to set-up and design a board game ‘Tell us about’ where students had to work there way around the board and when they landed on a square they had to talk about their topic for at least 30 seconds. My topics were things such as favourite film, what you’d do if you won the lottery, family etc. It went ok but I was so nervous, still my lesson was deemed ‘to standard’.
There were twelve of us on the course altogether. Me, Marita, Charlie in one flat, Barry, Ed, Chris from the UK and Josh from the US in another flat and then Maciek, Blanca and Ella who lived in Krakow, Martyna who was from another part of Poland and staying with a friend and Caroline who was from Africa but was married to a Polish guy and living in a village about an hour away. We were an odd bunch but we made it work and got on really well.
(Clockwise from top left: Ella, Me, Martyna, Marita, Barry, Charlie, Ed, Maciek, Chris, Carol, Declan, Basia, Josh, Blanca and Magda) The last day of CELTA! Sad times!
The first day was mostly admin bits and games to help us get to know each other and it was a lot of fun. Our tutors were amazing, really funny and supportive and amazing teachers. We had three, Declan, Basia and Magda, they were very different but all excellent in their own way.
That night all of us from the UK and the USA went out for some drinks because we weren’t teaching again until the next week. We went to a pub called Dog in the Fog and got to know each other, and had our first Polish food experience. Polish food is incredible and I miss it, especially Bigos!!
The next day we had a Polish lesson, to give us an idea what it feels like to be a language learner, which was really fun. That night we went out and ended up in Kitsch, the same place Laura and I went when we travelled around Europe last year! I’m ashamed to say that once again there was a bit of pole dancing involved. It was a really good night though and we didn’t get in until the early hours of the morning. On the Saturday we spent most of the day in bed, that night Marita, Charlie and I went to Kazimierz, the Jewish district, where there were lots of really awesome old pubs. We ended up chatting with a group of about 15 quantum physicists who were in Krakow for a conference. It was like being in an episode of The Big Bang Theory, they definitely lived up to their stereotype! Lovely guys though and somehow we ended up at Kitsch once again. Sunday we went back to Kazimierz and had a few drinks and then went to the cinema to see Alice in Wonderland, really good film!
That week I was teaching Tuesday, Thursday and Friday so I had plenty of time to prepare. Our first group were pre-intermediate and we used a Language to Go course book. The students were really nice and we actually had a night out with them at the end of the second week. There were usually between 10 and 12 of them and there English varied dramatically, we had one guy who had been leaning English for a week and a couple of girls who could easily have been in Upper Intermediate.
Tuesday’s lesson was 40 minutes and I taught them different sports and the verbs used with them e.g. swim, go swimming, do gymnastics, play football. It went well and I got above standard, I was still really nervous though and when I’m excited or nervous I speak too quickly which was the main weakness on most of my tutors comments.
Thursday’s lesson was also 40 minutes and this time I taught giving advice, specifically using ‘should’ e.g. you should go to the doctors. In the final freer activity students were supposed to write down three of their our problems and then ask people ‘what do you think I should do?’ and their partners were supposed to reply ‘you should…..’. It didn’t quite go to plan but it mostly went well and I got another above standard. In fact all of my lessons bar the first were above standard, which I’m pretty proud of.
Fridays lesson was only 20 minutes and I did a live listening lesson about my favourite teacher.
In the mornings we had input sessions, two a day, on lots of different things, most were really interesting and helpful. Although I don’t think everyone enjoyed them!
My 22nd birthday was on the Saturday and on the Friday night most of us went out to a few different pubs. It was a really good night and I got lots of birthday drinks, which is always a plus! Maciek bought me a birthday cupcake with a sparkling candle on Friday morning and got me hooked on More Than a Cookie, a cookie and cake shop, they were sooo good. I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty rough, and I’d lost my voice!! So I had a pretty chilled day, did a birthday shopping and went for a few drinks at night.
My birthday (Marita, Martyna, Barry, Me, Josh, Ed, Maciek, Chris and Charlie)
The next week I only had to teach one lesson, our hour long one, but we had to do four assignments over the length of the course so it wasn’t like we had plenty of time on our hands!
My hour long lesson was on Tuesday and I taught reading and comparatives. It was mainly boys vs girls and it went really well. Basia observed the lesson and said it went so well because there was a lot of personalisation, apparently I was asking them their opinions a lot. For example I’d drill ‘girls are more intelligent than boys’ and then ask the boys if they agreed! It was really fun.
The Wednesday night most of us on the course went to the Jazz Rock Café with most of our students and some of the other groups. There were probably about 30 of us, it was crazy. The club was underground and painted black with weird dolls in cages. It started off quite rocky but got really heavy towards the end of the night and we did a bit of head banging, not something I’d done before but I really enjoyed it. About 2ish Josh and Barry were getting fed up and most people had left so we decided to go somewhere else. We ended up going somewhere playing Michael Jackson and met these two Polish guys called Chris and Chris and made our own dancefloor so we could bogey along to Thriller!
Barry with two students Zbig and Vishek
Ed with two students Yustina and Gosia
Charlie with students Theresa, Iwona, Theresa's friend Katie and Marta
Wow that was more than I was planning to write. Procrastinating is dangerous! I best get back to preparing for my interview tomorrow, part 2 will hopefully be coming soon....
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3rd March, 2010. 11:26 am. Krakow Day 2....the salt mines
So it’s nearly 11pm on Day 2 and I’m just sat in bed writing this and watching Away We Go. Awesome film about a couple who are 6 months pregnant and travelling around trying to find the best place to live. Ma will love it, something for us to watch when I get back =D.
It’s the big day tomorrow, well the semi big day, I move out of this hostel and in to my very own (well 1/3 my very own) apartment. I’m really excited, but I’ll be more so when I’m in and don’t have to lift my suitcase anymore, my shoulders are killing me, I’m in desperate need of a deep tissue massage, omg that’d be so good right now.
Anyway back to today. I didn’t wake up until like 9am, and had a nice lazy morning, reading my Teaching Tenses book and watching a bit of Belle de Jouer. About half 11 I wandered over to the Galeria. First I went to Carrefour, which is one of the main chain of supermarkets in Poland. It’s really cool because it’s huge like a Tesco or whatever, but it smells so different! You walk over to the bread and actually smell bread, and the fruit and veg stinks of freshness!! It’s pretty damn cool, the root veg is still all covered in dirt and it’s all different shapes and sizes. Then it came to paying and I got a few irate looks from the cashier when I passed over my smallest note (100 zloty) for my shopping which only cost 12zloty, I reallllly need to get some change, it’s not my fault the ATMs spit out big notes though, I’d love to know how everyone else manages!
After some lunch and a bit of net surfing I dropped my laptop off at the apartment then went to the meeting point for my coach to the salt mine.
Whilst I was waiting I met a really nice couple from Ireland, somewhere near Cork, so had somebody to chat to, they were really lovely but had SUCH strong accents. I love the Irish accent, but it ain’t half hard to understand sometimes! The trip lasted about 4 hours, and it was pretty interesting.
To get down into the mine you go down 800 steps, which is about 135m deep. Tourists only get to go three levels down though. The mine’s 9 levels down and if you put the Eiffel tower in the mine it wouldn’t reach the surface! I thought that was awesome! There’s like 40 chapels, all built from the rock salt, and all these statues made by the miners. J.R.R Tolkien apparently visited the Salt Mine about 6 years before he wrote his books and he supposedly based the mines in his books on the Krakow salt mines. Also, apparently the miners were pretty well off and that mine alone accounted for like 20% of Polands economic wealth, so there were no kids or anyone working down there. I remember when we went to the salt mines in Salzburg that wasn’t the case!
I got home about 8ish and met my new roommates, they’re from Poland and are in Krakow for a couple of days before they head down to Zakopane for some snowboarding. I think I’m going to have to go down there, even if it’s only on a day trip. I just thought I’d let you all know, I’m totally going to be the next Gordon Ramsay, I had a baguette, some pasta sauce, mushrooms and cheese, one pan and a hob, and I managed to cobble up a mushroom pizza, granted it was a pretty raw pizza since I had no way of heating the bread up or melting the cheese, but it tasted pretty good so never mind =p.
I’m getting sleepy now so I’m going to leave it here and finish packing ready for tomorrow, you wouldn’t believe how messy a room can get in one day, if you compared the photos I took yesterday to how it looks now it’s unrecognisable. C’est la vie!! Can’t wait to get properly unpacked tomorrow though and settle in. Very eager to start the course, I miss learning!! And I figured even if I crash and burn my first few times teaching I’ve got a month to improve so I can totally do this =D xxx
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1st March, 2010. 3:32 pm. Czesc from Krakow!
So I have arrived in Krakow safe and sound, although at a couple of points in the journey I thought I was going to die in a blaze of glory, or be found in a ditch somewhere, so the actual outcome was quite pleasant.
Yesterday it was all still a bit surreal. We didn’t set off for the airport until 6pm so it was pretty much a day of sitting and waiting around. We got to Doncaster airport without many hiccups, so I was pretty early and the airport was DEAD! Literally 4 or 5 other people waiting. I said goodbye to ma and pa, no tears! And waited for check in to open. I was literally the only non Polish person on the flight, which was strange but cool.
Typically I buzzed going through the security gate, and got frisked quite thoroughly (ooh er!), I wouldn’t have minded if it was a hot bloke, but no it was a woman! Then as I was getting redressed and putting my boots back on they told me they wanted to check my liquids, I must have looked dodgier than I realised! Ha imagine me a drug kingpin! I laughed it off though and carried on to the departure lounge. But not before being stopped at the police desk! He wanted to know what my business was in Poland, he was a big scary bloke with a fierce looking scar halfway down his face but when I told him I was doing the CELTA we had a nice chat about it, he was surprisingly knowledgeable about the world of TEFL.
After that little episode I figured I deserved a drink, so went to the (dead) Wetherspoons and had a glass of Rose, medium you’ll be pleased to hear, I resisted the large! Ooh and I had a BLT too, and settled down to which a bit of the Runaway Bride.
Getting onto the plane was pretty uneventful, it arrived about 20 mins late but nothing major happened... until I NEARLY DIED of course!! Ok, so maybe that’s a little bit melodramatic but it was pretty darn scary. There was a bit of turbulence all through the flight, but for about the last 40 minutes on the descent I felt like I was in the Pilot episode of Lost, the plane was shaking, the lights were flickering, everything was rattling and at times it felt like we were free falling through the sky. So I was sat there breathing deeply, trying not to throw up, and at one point I resigned myself to certain death and tried to remember the Lords prayer, even though I’m not the least bit Christian =s, I think I did pretty well under the circumstances!! When we finally touched down everyone started clapping, so I don’t think I was the only one who feared for their life!
On the plane I actually watched a pretty good film called Breakdown Palace with Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale. It’s about two girls who finish high school and go on a trip to Thailand. They meet a charming guy who turns them into unwitting drug mules and they end up in a Thai prison. It was really sad and I recommend it, so I won’t spoil the ending for everybody!
Anyhoo, I got my suitcase and found the shuttle bus without too much hassle and settled down for the 2 hour journey from Katowice to Krakow. It went a lot faster than I thought and I arrived at Krakow bus station on time, at 3.20am. Next I had the fun task of finding my way to the hostel with a 22.5kg suitcase and a 8.5kg carry-on bag in tow. A friendly taxi driver pointed me in the right direction. That direction just happened to be through the train station’s long and empty, and kind of scary underground arrival hall. I probably would have been more scared if it wasn’t for the fact that the skin on my hands felt like it was being ripped off. I have blisters on my palms, ew, not attractive and pretty painful, especially when lugging said suitcase up 4 flights of stairs.
When I get to the hostel I decided I deserved a good sleep so upgraded to a double room which was lush , I asked for a double for all 3 nights but the guy said there were not left, so I had to be up at 9 to check in to my next room. The receptionist was lovely though, he got me a cup of tea and carried my suitcase to my room for me, despite the glaring orange ‘heavy’ sticker on it!
The room was lovely and big and I went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow at about 3.45. I woke up again at half 7 though and just lazed in bed until I could be bothered to move. I was still pretty tired so I decided to see if they had any doubles available at one of their other locations, and they did! So I went and booked myself a double room for another two nights. I had a few hours to kill so I had a wander around the Galeria, which is like a huge 3 floor shopping centre, 270 shops!!! I had to carry my carry-on bag around though so couldn’t really buy anything but I’m going back later. I’m actually just waiting for the guy to come and take me to the 2nd location at the moment. I hope it isn’t too far away, I don’t think my hands can handle pulling the case too far, and I’m not subjecting an unwitting victim to the job...
...ok so I’m lying on my comfy bed at Greg and Tom 2 now, the very nice chap, who actually took me and Laura to out apartment last time, insisted on carrying my suitcase bless him, I felt guilty and relieved haha, he was really friendly and interested about my course. It was only a 5 min walk so it wasn’t too bad.
The hostels lovely, got my own double room and there’s a kitchen, dining room, shower room and living room shared between 6 of us. No wifi here though so I won’t be surfing the net tonight, but Galeria Krakowska is only a couple of minutes away and I can use their Maccy Ds wi-fi to post this, and photos of my room on facebook.
Now I’m just going to freshen up before an afternoon of exploring. I’m thinking of finding my apartment I move into on Wednesday and looking around the old town. Then later I’ll go back to the Galeria, post this, buy some food and pampering goodies for tonight and the plan is to lie in bed and watch a film on my netbook. And have an early night to recoup from my lack of sleep.
View from my window
I’ve booked the Salt Mines tour tomorrow afternoon which I’m looking forward to. Right enough from me for today, I hope I’ll be able to keep updating but I’m always really good for the first couple of days and then lose interest. Looking back this is rather a long, boring post anyway so no great loss lol xxx
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9th January, 2010. 3:41 pm. Counting down the weeks!!
It's snowing...again!! It's very pretty and all but it's getting a bit tedious now, especially because I'm pretty sure that work won't close unless there's an avalanche!
7 weeks until I fly to Krakow and I'm getting more excited by the day, a bit nervous too, but mostly excited. On my rare days off I'm reading all my teaching and grammar books, but I have a feeling they're not going to prepare me for actually standing in front of a classroom of adults and teaching them.
Only 5 weeks left at work, I don't think I could handle it any longer than that and I can't wait to hand it my notice and tell them to stick their job. I swear my managers are evil, maybe they're not human, I watch enough supernatural programmes, maybe some of it's real haha. Or they're just mean.
I've started writing a pretty awesome list of things I need to pack. I'm rather worried about carrying it all, I'm not the strongest of gals. I'm hoping that most of the stuff I'll be able to buy when I get there, stationery and toiletries etc. Katie and Becky are flying out with me on the 28th and staying until the 3rd, when I move into the apartment. I'm so glad they're coming with me, I would have been fine by myself but it does make it all a little bit less scary. They haven't been before so I'll be able to show them the ropes. I'm definitely going to the salt mines this time round. yaaay excited.
Lots of love
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19th December, 2009. 8:20 pm. Booked it, packed it....
Flights to Krakow are all booked! I'm flying with wizzair on the 28th Feb. I'm flying from Doncaster Sheffield airport at 9pm, and get into Krakow at midnight. I'm sure there'll be fun times getting from the airport to Greg and Toms at that time in the morning. I've booked a shuttle bus with the airline into Krakow, although it doesn't specify exactly where, so I could be dropped off in the ghetto or, hopefully, at my hotel!!
Still haven't gotten round to telling ma and pa that I plan on travelling around Poland for a couple of weeks after the course yet. I'm saving up all the money myself though so they can't really say anything. I'm so indecisive, before I was sure I just wanted to travel around Poland, but now I'm not sure if I'd like to branch out a bit more and do some more of Eastern Europe. I'm going to have to go search for some inspiration I think. If it was up to me I'd be jetting off everywhere in the world.
I'm currently sat watching Greek, I'd love to be in a Sorority, not a real life sorortiy, a movie sorority full of parties and Kappy like guys!
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18th December, 2009. 8:51 pm. A fresh start
So I've apparently been a member of livejournal for a good few years, but I've never really used it, apart from a couple of rather depressing 'emo' posts back in 2005 that have now been deleted, so embarassing!!!
Now seems like a good time to start the whole blog thing, keep a record of everything that's soon to be going off in my life. At the moment things are a bit boring, I'm working pretty much full time in BHS which I hate! Buuut on the 28th Feb 2010 I'm flying back to Krakow to do my CELTA. The course starts on 4th March and lasts for 4 weeks. It stands for the Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults. It's supposedly going to be the most intense four weeks in existance but hopefully it's totally going to be worth it. I'm doing it at the International House and the link that follows is for anyone who's interested in reading up http://www.ih.pl/international-house-krakow.php?pm=22
Today I got told that they're keeping me on after xmas at BHS which I'm pretty glad of, despite the fact I hate it. And that's because, fingers crossed, it means I can afford to go travelling after my course. At the moment I'm thinking of touring Poland a little bit. Currently my planned route is Krakow, Zakapone, Wroclaw, Warsaw and finally Gdansk. It'll take about 2 weeks and hopefully be a great break after lots of work!
So generally this blog is going to be where I can update my plans and what not. It's quite exciting being self indulgent and typing about me me me!! xxxx