|Just casually sitting on the glass floor of the Tower Bridge!
He was also afraid of heights so the fact that he took this
photo was really kind of him!
|View from the fortress in Dubrovnik|
|The contrast between mountains and beaches was spectacular.
Quite a few of us remarked that it looked like the view had
been Photoshopped together.
|Some of the sail crew and I eating some really tasty Gelato
in Makaska in front of the surreal mountains.
|The giant floating jumping castle which turned us all into
children again. It was so much fun and we definitely got
longer then the 30 minutes we had paid for!
|The beautiful clear, still, blue waters of Wild Bay,. The little
slice of paradise we got to experience during out overnight
moored at sea.
|After a long, hot wall up the mountain we finally got to see this
view of the famous town of Hvar.
|Lets put it this way, stairs were not hard to come by but
certainly made you wish you had done some form of
exercise before visiting Croatia!
|View of the beautiful, walled city of Dubrovnik. Very hard to
forget this spectacular sight!
|Kayaking around Dubrovnik was both rewarding and terrifying!|
|GELATO!!! Basically what Ella and I lived off!|
|One of the adorable streets we came across. Come on with a
Vesper in that prime position did you expect me not to take
|The classic ‘I was at the Colosseum’ photo
|Couldn’t think of a better person to travel Rome with!
Thanks for make our last trip so much fun Ella!
- Being told to teach a bunch of kids would have been scary enough for me when I was in Australia, especially considering my teaching experience is limited to a one week intensive TEFL course, so being in a country where I don’t speak the language or really understand their curriculum or know how to teach the language I’ve been speaking all my life, was actually terrifying.
- The good news is that I got more confident as time went by, yesterday I even taught a bunch of energetic eight year olds about Kookuburras WITHOUT having a polish speaking teacher in the room!
- I found that teaching by myself, without a supervising teacher, to be much easier than with a teacher in the room. When I was by myself I felt more confident in my abilities and authority over the class, and I think the kids also viewed me more like a teacher at these times too. All the teachers I worked with were amazing at engaging students and it was easy to feel intimidated by them!
- Consequently, I tended to feel happier about the lessons I did on my own than while supervised.
- Sometimes lessons would crash and burn, and essentially leave me wondering why I came to Poland in the first place. I remember have some classes where the students just wouldn’t listen to me, or I just wasn’t prepared enough to cope.
- IMPROVISATION is your best friend as a teacher. The amount of times I turned up only to be told I was subbing, or to find out that the kids already knew about the topic I was teaching, has taught me how to come up with at least some form of game to pass the remaining ten minutes of class, or with an entirely new lesson plan.
- Teachers do have favourite students and classes. I often found myself dreading some classes while getting excited about others. I also had a 4-5 favourite students who always made sure the rest of the class behaved and would greet me in the halls.
- Sometimes all it takes to make your day is when a 7 year old little Polish girl who barely understands English runs up to you and says ‘Hello Samantha, how are you?” and patiently waits for a response even though she doesn’t understand a word you say.
- One of the scariest things I encounter was being headbutted by a 6 year old in 0 class as she launched at me screaming ‘I love you!’
- I now am confident enough to manage a group of 6 year old girls who are dubbed the most troublesome class in the school.
- 16 year old girls do not change from country to country, and still manage to be intimidating. The best course of action is to our sarcasm them, which in this case was harder than one might think.
- I can officially navigate Microsoft word in Polish (mainly because I know all the shortcuts and they are the same in Polish as English).
- Sometimes it’s best not to ask what you are eating until AFTER you finish it or not at all, especially when it comes to a school cafeteria.
- Pasta and strawberry yoghurt, potato cakes covered in sugar, and crepes with sweet cheese are seen as acceptable lunch meals for children.
- I refuse to ever eat cabbage or beetroot ever again (okay this may be more of a Poland lesson in general).
- Most of all though, the thing about being a teacher was learning to both always and never be prepared for anything and everything.
- And lastly, if in doubt, play hot seat (or have a music lesson where the kids show you all different versions of ‘Let it Go’ on youtube, I mean what I never did that…)
I’m from Canberra. That should be enough to let anyone in Australia realise that I’m from the (relatively unknown) land of public servants, museums, and crappy weather. Yet since being abroad for the past 4.5 months I have found myself becoming more and more convinced that Australia is really the land of sunshine. See I do remember the cold winter days, the rain, the hail, and the snow on the last day of winter two years back. I remember how bitter the wind was when it comes of the mountains and how we always seemed to underdress for school. But more than this I fondly recall the memories of summer. Running to the dam on the too hot days, or more accurately taking the dogs to the dam and getting pushed in by a not so helpful brother, and being too afraid to touch the bottom because of the yabbies that were, in theory, still crawling around the bottom. I remember spending evenings eating dinner outside and overspraying myself with bug spray which never seemed to entirely do the job. I remember running around on the lawn after the sun had set and the temperature was finally cool enough to be outside. I remember the hot nights which had me questioning the logic behind pyjamas. I actually miss it more than I thought I would but I’m not ready to go back. I think the distance makes it all seem so ideal but then I remember different things about my life back home. I realise that I don’t want to go back to how I used to live, so many of the things I used to think and do seem so unimportant now. I have become accustomed to a life that I have created.
|Berlin Cathedral, a very spectacular sight!|
|Enjoying the bus tour!|
|With the ‘Gueards’ at Checkpoint Charlie|
|East Side Gallery!|
I visited the Wieliczka Salt mine and did the English ‘Tourist Route’ tour. For 64zloty (student discount, thank you ISIC card!) it was most certainly worth it. The tour went for 1hour 45minutes and the whole time we spent in the mine was about 3hours. The tour took us through 3 of the 9 floors (I think) and gave us an extensive history of the mines as well as taught us some folklore about the creation of the salt mines etc. We climbed down about 420 steps and the whole way we were walking in salt corridors on salt floors. They even had some multimedia presentations to add interest (though I only found the last one any good!). The sheer scale of the mines as well as the amount of salt that is still there was mind blowing. There were all these salt statues and pictures that had been created by the miners (not trained artists). They were fairly incredible! There were also heaps of gnomes around because apparently they came out at night and finished off the miners work/ protected the miners! Definitely worth a visit!
|Some street art by ‘Blue’ and an unknown artist that we saw
whilst on the Jewish Quarter Tour
On the second day I did the free Jewish Quarter Tour. Basically it took us over to the Jewish area and told us about the history of the Jews in Krakow. We visited the outsides of a couple of Synagogues, including the oldest one in Krakow, and our guide gave us an extensive history of each. We also heard stories about individual people and events that happened there. One such story was that after a new Synagogue was built some teenage boys wanted to rob it and the community found out about this plan so worked on a way to protect the synagogue. The synagogue was next to a grave yard and it was thought that it was from this direction that the boys would try enter so all the women and girls dressed up in white dresses and walked around the graveyard all night! Sure enough the boys were scarred out of their minds and ran away! The tour was really good and I would definitely recommend it!
|Prague Castle Cathedral|
|View of the city from the South Tower|
|The cabin we stayed in.|
|The first Graveyard we visited|
Trip to Slovakia:
|A building in the second town we visited|