Hard to believe but this is my last week teaching. After Thursday my classes are done. This past Friday I said goodbye to a few classes who I have only once a week and won’t see this coming Friday. I wasn’t expecting too much excitement. Some might have a slightly romantic of teaching. An apple on the desk with bright, smiling students obediently asking and answering questions. It really isn’t.
Teaching is shockingly tiring. Standing in front of a group of kids for 45 minutes telling them things and encouraging them to participate wears you out. Writing on a chalk board isn’t super fun. Waking up at 6:30 nearly daily also loses its charm pretty quick. But mostly the realization that, much of the time, your students really aren’t interested in what you are teaching can wear on your mind. After all if they don’t care, why am I trying so hard? I really enjoy teaching but its not all bubbles and cupcakes, to steal a line from a friend.
When I walked into my 3A class on Friday I noticed stickers on my desk. Some students have World Cup sticker books. It has every team and player to collect. A student had gotten me the USA emblem and team stickers. It was nice. We then played Mafia which Czechs call “The Town of Palermo” and it was pretty fun. Near the end I offered some final words of farewell and took any questions they had for me. When the bell rang the kids got up and to my surprise one, than all, came up to shake my hand. They told me I was a good “lektor” (what they call up native speaker teachers over here) and wished me well. I’m not one to show my emotions publicly and I didn’t at that moment but as I shook my students hand I felt surprisingly bittersweet. Bitter because I was sad to leave these young people but sweet because it reaffirmed that this year was truly worth it. I want to be a teacher. I want to influence and mentor young people. And I have been privileged to start doing that this year.