Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Is it Culture or Torture?

Okay, so today I went back to Polish class. They are doing it a bit different than normal. I thought I understood what was to happen (from an American perspective), but I did not! I America, you would get a student teacher to teach you a whole series or even a whole semester. NOT HERE!

I came into class jet lagged, a bit shell shocked being back in Poland and reminiscing on how wonderful it was to sit with the USA MEN'S Volleyball team from Frankfurt to Katowice when I was hit face on with Polish! The classroom had 4 students in the front and 20-25 student teachers in the back while one was in the front trying to teach. I knew I was in trouble when I was asked to move from the back of the room to the front. I did not quite understand what was about to happen though!

After just five minutes, my brain just wanted to scream and get the heck out of Dodge! The level that the student teacher was teaching was above me and all I could say was "Nie wiem." I don't know. I did not understand most of what she said although many of her words were familiar. For the first 20 minutes I kept on thinking about how the student teachers in the back must think that I am really stupid but then the Holy Spirit calmed me down and made me realize that this class is not about me, but about teachers learning and I am to be a part of it. I saw that I needed to love this teacher like Jesus would. To be a good student and try to learn all that I could even though I had no idea what she was saying. I had to stop warring about what others were thinking and help this student teacher learn how to teach me. After that, I calmed down and tried to concentrate on what I could understand.

After class, I explained in my very broken Polish that I did not understand because I was a level A0 student. Relief washed over her face. I could tell that she was doubting herself more and more as time when by during class and I encouraged her in the fact that it was my lack of knowledge and not her lack of teaching that was the problem. I hope it encouraged her.

How intimidating it must be to have all of your fellow students watch you succeed of fail right in front of them. They could very well see her as the problem and not me. I want these women to succeed and to become the wonderful teachers that I had this past four months!

So tomorrow I have two other student teachers trying to teach me things that may or may not above my head. I am going to go in with an open heart and mind and try my hardest to help them succeed and to learn as much as I can.

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