culture, experience, immigration, learning, motivation, self help, survival, Uncategorized

How to survive in a new culture

Working with American teens made me think about useful tips I can share with new teachers.

The culture I found myself in is a mix of Latino and African-American youth with a minority of whites and Asians. Just for your information I came from Ukraine where the population is very homogeneous.

The school environment is not usually conducive to making friends with students but I keep trying anyway.

  1. Listen to their music. God only knows how much I hate rap but this is what they love. I make myself listen to the lyrics, it’s quite weird for strangers like me.
  2. Eat their food. Teens love junk food, it never looks or tastes great. But you should be brave enough to try it. I also go to cafeteria once in a while to experience the agony they have to endure every day.
  3. Don’t ignore the things that matter. Two of them are mentioned above but figuring out the rest can be tough. One thing that I noticed is you have to pronounce their name right.
  4. Ask questions showing genuine interest. When doing this you should be ready to deal with their answers which are not always easy. Reflect on them.
  5. Be a good student. Take notes to remember new words and concepts, learning new language / dialect is always fun. You will be tried and tested a lot.
  6. Mind your body language more than anything else. Respect yourself and the people around you.
  7. Stay positive and keep learning despite making mistakes.

This list is not all encompassing but gives you a general idea. Good luck!

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inspiration, meditation, morning, motivation, self help, Uncategorized

Good morning!

How to make your day better? Start with a winner morning. I am pretty sure you have heard this before. Well, summer is here which is honestly a perfect timing for kicking off a new habit. Here is a few things I plan to do myself cause you never know… It might actually work 🙂

  1. Mind your head before minding your feet. It’s Buddhist advice which makes you look in the mirror, comb your hair, smile at yourself and put your thoughts together before you run somewhere doing something.
  2. Meditate / pray or just sit quietly practicing Zazen for 20-30 minutes. Stay away from watching TV or checking your social media accounts at this point.
  3. Drink water before you have coffee or anything else. Play some music if you like.
  4. Have breakfast outside or inside. If you are not hungry in the morning, try to eat half of your meal the previous night saving the other half for the next day. Light dinner will help you sleep better and be hungry  the next morning.
  5. Keep your diary. Look back on what went well on a previous day, what could be done better next time, note lessons learned, plan and prioritize.

If you can do at least three of those every morning you will feel like a champion. Add sports/yoga activities if you like. Be good to yourself, life is too short to skip the best part of your day. Good morning!