Megan Vanaman: Day in the Life of a Fulbrighter

Usually I wake up at the first sound of my alarm in the morning: 6am. Sometimes, on Tuesdays, it takes me longer to wake up. I always say Tuesdays are the most difficult day of the week. Everyone prepares for Mondays to be bad days, but Tuesdays are more tiring to me. I also have the most classes to teach. I should mention that I’m a teacher. I teach History, but I’ve been teaching English in a Czech Secondary School this year. I am from the United States and here working with the Fulbright Program.

I walk to school from my flat each morning. It takes about 20 minutes to walk anywhere in my city, I joke. It helps wake me up, but it also makes me look like I just ran a marathon. So, I need about 15 minutes to relax before my first lesson. The students aren’t really awake until the third lesson anyway, so I try to be extra excited about everything we’re learning, even if it isn’t interesting at all. Sometimes they enjoy the effort, sometimes I might as well be teaching to a wall. Czech students need more motivation than any other students I’ve taught before.

With my students

My favorite part of the day is the long break between the second and third lesson. It is the perfect time to get some coffee from the vending machine at school, even if there are sometimes ants in it. At least, that’s what the students tell me. The days go by quickly when I have three or more lessons in a row. On Tuesdays, I have three, then a free lesson, and then two more lessons. It’s the days when I have a long break that go by slowly. Sometimes I watch Game of Thrones, but I always feel bad when I do that. I should be planning. I should be working on cool new lessons that the kids are going to love.

But, that’s the thing about teaching. You have to be flexible and open to anything happening. Because anything will happen and happen often. Your plans rarely go the way you want in practice. Plus, if I can talk to my students about the newest Game of Thrones episode, at least they’re talking in English and not Czech. I find that the students are much more talkative outside of class. I eat lunch after my lessons in the canteen with the students at least 3 times a week. They talk to me while we are waiting in line, but mostly they complain about the menu. I don’t think it’s that bad. I should show them American High School food. They would understand how lucky they are, then.

After lunch, I walk 20 minutes back home. By the time I get there, my friends and family are beginning to wake up, so I spend the rest of my night on social media. It’s difficult to keep up with what is happening in America while abroad. I use that as my main excuse for being on Facebook all the time. I try to go to sleep early, but that never really works. I’m still tired the next day. But, I would rather be a tired teacher than work anywhere else.

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