Thoughts from an English teacher in Kateřinice

From time to time Southminster has been able to send someone to assist the English teachers in Kateřinice. Our first teacher, Pat Carr, visited for a month and taught in the elementary school and worked with groups of adults in the evenings. The next year, Essi Efthimiou went and followed a similar schedule.
After graduating from college and before going to law school, Ross Brown spent a year in the community working with the children and adults and also ringing and directing occasionally) with the Good News Bells. Here are some of Pat’s thoughts on her time in Kateřinice:

Teaching English in The Czech Republic was a wonderful experience in world cultural exchange. We learned about each other, appreciated both our differences, and our similarities. I believe I brought home more knowledge than I left behind!
The English classes for the children in school, grades K-5, were using a British text.
The local English teacher in place was doing a wonderful job so my role was merely
to provide pronunciation and interaction skills.
Working with adults was another story for there were no books, no plan to follow. So with only my knowledge of “how” to teach, internet sources became my best friends. The village library was the meeting place for our lessons. The library walls were painted with simple, child-like art. Every evening, Monday through Friday, we began the lesson by using the art to learn, red, child.
Those evenings also saw my students and I making vocabulary flash cards, practicing pronunciation, pronunciation of word groups (those ending in -ight or those beginning with th, etc) and soon putting together simple sentences.
The teachers who followed me, Essi Efthimiou and Ross Brown, were welcomed into the Kateřinice village as warmly as was I. We lived with families, socialized with them, learned their customs, learned their “living under the Soviets” history and appreciated their willingness to share what they have and knew..