Yesterday, I started my new job. I’ll be teaching 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th grade English classes to Czech students of different language levels at ZS Hanspaulka in Prague 6. I’ll be focusing on integrating language learning into content area instruction, similar to the content and language instruction I did at my former school in New York City, the International School at Prospect Heights. For example, in the past, I developed students’ four language skills and their use of academic language through content units on immigration, World War II and the Holocaust, and the Renaissance.
ZS Hanspaulka is located in a quiet, residential area surrounded by leafy streets and grand, elegant houses. I took some photos of the neighborhood on my walk over to the school.
Some interesting things I learned yesterday (which was really just an orientation day): Czech students and teachers take their shoes off before entering classrooms. They switch into slippers or Crocs. You can read more about this custom here.
Students are placed into leveled groups (advanced, intermediate, low) very early in elementary school and stay in those groups throughout elementary/middle school. At the end of fifth grade, the highest level students take a state exam to placed in competitive gymnasium schools, where they get accelerated, more challenging instruction. Schooling here seems more hierarchal than in the United States. There seems to be a particular path a student is placed on depending on the level they display early on; though I do get a sense that this is changing a bit. ~Bukola