Slovakia is the third country to have consented to letting me teach its citizens a bit about my native tongue. In autumn 2012, I blew into a lycée on the northwestern coast of France to assist a team of five frazzled English teachers prepare their students for the all-important baccalauréat exam.
On my first day at the high school, I asked one of the profs what she and her colleagues expected from me as an assistant. Her response? “Oh, just get them to talk.” She might as well have suggested that I will myself to grow 3 inches taller on the spot. Ah, but hindsight is, as they say, 20/20, and I have nothing but fond memories of working in that school.
Last year I lived and worked as an au pair in Vienna, a job that I would estimate to be approximately 2,058,283,580 times more demanding than teaching as an English assistant in France. Of course, there were no lesson plans, no classroom, no rules; however, I also found myself plunged into endless giggle fits and storytelling and delightful syntactical errors.
Working as an au pair was a beautiful experience, and it eventually led me to where I am today: Bratislava. More specifically, it helped lead me to this delightful café (with which this quirky city is filled to the brim) where I have compiled a list of things a nomadic English teacher could expect to experience in a classroom in a foreign country – that is, if they’re lucky enough to seize the opportunity to do so!
*Perhaps childbirth, actually.