When I started writing this blog I intended to record my first 12months experiences of living in Latvia and then stop. I did wite for 20 months and then stopped. It wasn’t a conscious decision but it dropped down my list of priorities as other pressures mounted.
It’s now 12 months since I lasted posted an update and I felt the need to communicate.
Much has happened in the last year, the most significant being I no longer work in Pinki. Meaning I don’t have to drive the 100+ km to work and back every day. I had thought of retiring but that thought didn’t last long when I considered the financial implications. I was starting to worry a little when it got to May and I still hadn’t figured out what I should do. After all, for a 62 year old non-Latvian speaker, living in the Latvian countryside, the options are limited. Fate, however had plans for me. It appeared that a Latvian teacher of English, at the local secondary school (Vidusskola) had become ill and they needed a substitute teacher, to teach 6 lessons a week, until the end of the school year. I was unaware of this until I received a phone call from the school Head teacher (Direktor) asking could I help them out.
I was more than slightly amused at this prospect as it took me a number of attempts to pass English ‘O’ Level. However not one to pass up on a challenge and I was going to earn some money meant I accepted and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I don’t know who to compliment, the teachers or the students, but the clear majority spoke almost fluent English. To my relief, the job was made much easier.
It would appear my short period was successful as I was asked to return in September. So I returned, teaching 16 lessons a week and I love it. It’s challenging because many of the strategies I learnt over 15 years in the UK teaching maths and ICT are not relevant to teaching languages. It’s a bit like being a newly qualified teacher again. The other slight problem is I haven’t a clue what the differences are between participles, determinants, transitory verbs etc, etc etc….. so I’m having to do a 120 hr online TEFL course. I thought I had left coursework assignments behind many years ago. Hopefully will finish the course before school starts in January.
In part 2 I’m going to examine the differences between the 2 education systems.