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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job, Uncategorized

Just TRY

While substitute teaching I meet all kind of people, it’s a new class and a new location every day. My colleagues are all kind of folks, some of them are young and broke, others are established professionals with money and families. But we are all in the same boat, no one has any clue what they want to do next. It’s kind of sad lots of us still think we have no choice, it’s not true unless you believe it. Fear is the greatest moving force in peoples’ life and it is not okay. Most of the things we do we do out of fear, there are exceptions of course and if this is the case I am truly happy for you.

Some of us get a job just for the sake of getting a job, just because we need to pay rent and buy groceries. I understand that, we can’t all live under the bridge eating free food offered. But on the other hand, five years down the road we still work the job we hate to make a paycheck, feeling miserable most of the time, getting ridiculously drunk every Friday night to escape the sad reality. Let’s face it, we all have to make it work somehow. It’s okay if you tried and failed, maybe you tried multiple times and still failed. But if you never even tried to make YOUR life better… You should start today!