On the eve of the anniversary of the first post on my blog, I’d like to write something special. This blog is mostly about lessons that I myself have planned and taught. None of the lessons described was taught using a course book although it wasn’t my original intention. As I said in one of the comments here, I am hoping to show other teachers how the planning of individual lessons as well as strings of lessons can be done and to give them the power to do so themselves.
I realise that the message sent by my posts, and sometimes in my tweets may be slightly negative, revealing how busy I am and how much time lesson planning takes. So to balance this I’ve decided to write a list of the exciting things I’ve got to do with my students and for my students over the years.
As a private freelance teacher, I don’t only get to teach the language, but also:
- Engage in a Tarot lesson with one of my all-girl groups. This was an amazing and memorable class!
- Buy baby cards for the students who have just become mothers and write the wishes with the remaining students – I have already had two baby girls like this!
- Help write letters of appeal to the school principal after student’s kid didn’t pass the dreaded entry exam to a “gymnázium” high school.
- Help with the correspondence regarding faulty laboratory equipment the student’s company ordered from GB. It took months before the problem was resolved.
- Get recorded as the automatic phone voice because the student could not find anyone else to do it in English. This was in the 90s and I was about 20. I really hope they deleted the voice know.
- Help rehearse all sorts of speeches and conversations you never even imagine people could have or would need to have.
- Talk about all things female, periods, pregnancies, weight loss, weight gain, problems with parents and raising children, going green when shopping and many, many more with my female students.
- Have been taken for walks by students to talk about the world around us – movie posters, café bar menus, architecture and so on.
- Get driven home in all sorts of vehicles of which the most memorable one is a vintage Mercedes convertible owned by one of my students.
- Build an amazing network of other professionals. If a private teacher needs a builder, a seamstress, or a tattoo artist, all you need to do is ask your students.
The list could and will go on, so who knows? Maybe next year I will post an extended version. The adventures, as I call them, mentioned in here are what keeps me going, because we give something of ourselves, but we receive back a lot more.
In this anniversary post, I would also like to uncover the mystery of the origin of the name of the blog, because many people have been asking me. There are several reasons for angels and lions. One way to look at it is that I am from Prague. I was born here. I grew up in the Old Town. I love the city. If you stroll down Prague’s streets, you get to see a lot of not only angels and lions, but also faces, gargoyles, bears and other creatures and beasts. They are everywhere and all you need to do is raise your eyes to the sky and to the buildings around you.
Another way to look at this is that I live on a hill in Prague 3, at the intersection of three cemeteries: Olšanské, the Old Jewish cemetery where Franz Kafka lies, Vinohradský and one more. I am not afraid of them. They are beautiful places to walk through and naturally, you get to see many angels there. The lion, a symbol of the Czech state, represents the Prague Castle on another hill across the river. Most of my lessons take place within this space, hence the “between the angel and the lion”.
Or you could look at it another way, with the angel being the symbol of kindness and spirituality, while the lion is seen as the symbol of power and strength and I perceive these two poles and the many shades in between them as the symbols for the student and teacher and the continuous transformation from one to another and back like a yin and a yang if you want – just a bit more Czech.
Finally, thanks to all of you who are reading my blog. I really appreciate it if you stop by!