Surviving Your Best and Busiest Week Teaching English Abroad

Last week was kah-RAZY!

Seriously, it was probably the busiest week I’ve had since I’ve been here.

It started off with a fun Sunday spent at the local ice skating rink with a group from work (more on that soon), then at a coffee shop for a late lunch.

By the time we splintered off in different directions and I got home, it was early evening, so I relaxed.

On Monday, I worked from 8:30 am until 8 pm, teaching classes and doing lesson preparation.

At one point, I left school to walk thirty minutes to a public school, where I spent about an hour being a judge in a cooking competition, then walked thirty minutes back.

It was a fun experience and the students, who are around junior high school age, really did an excellent job.

By the time Monday was over, I was pleasantly tired from a day that I felt was well spent, and I was kind of high on the adrenaline of a successful day, so I didn’t fall asleep until late.


At the school judging one of the groups

On Tuesday, I worked from 8:30 am until about 7 pm, again teaching and doing lesson prep for later in the week, because I knew what was coming.

Still, I took a moment to pop outside and love the magical feeling of standing in falling snow.

When I knocked off at 7 pm, I stopped to grab some fresh produce from Murad, the farm stand guy in the mini-mart downstairs, then I went home and stupidly spent the next six hours reading two books that ended up not being worth the sleep I sacrificed for them.

So of course, I woke up tired on Wednesday morning.

Off again to an 8:30 am start but this time, instead of knocking off at 6 pm when my last class ended, I stayed until almost 8 pm because I was scheduled to do a demo class on Saturday and my partner and I needed to do some planning and preparation.

That was definitely a two-coffee day.

It was also emotionally draining because of another issue but that’s not for discussion here.

Because I drank a late afternoon cup of (bad, ugh!) desperation coffee from the tea room at school, I was up until well after midnight, marking test papers and working on my Russian language (also more on that in the coming weeks).

With Thursday being my day off, you would think I’d have slept late.

Nope, my mind woke me up six hours later, still sleep deprived but unwilling to go back to sleep.

I decided to get up because I had a colleague from school coming over in just two hours from then to check out my winter coat – I needed an expert to verify that it’s appropriate for a Yakutian winter.

So I got up, washed and twisted my hair and fixed breakfast, all by the time she arrived at 9 am.

The rest of the day was spent writing and trying to relax, until mid-afternoon when I got myself together and went off to meet a local colleague.

She and I were scheduled to teach a demo class at a local construction company, so that’s what I spent the early part of my Thursday evening doing.

Thursday was my most relaxing day for the week.

On Friday, I again started my work day at 8:30 am and although it was my intention to knock off when my last class ended at 6 pm, it wasn’t to be.

We had demo lessons the next morning and there was still some preparation to do so I ended up working another eleven-hour day.

The week finished off with an intense Saturday.

The demo lesson started at 11 am and went on for an hour, after which I took a few minutes to gather my stuff together then taught three back-to-back classes for the next four hours.

By the time I was done, I…was…DONE.  All I wanted was a good book and my bed.  I had the bed but the good book was missing.  Still, I spent the evening relaxing.

When I counted it all up, including lesson prep, teaching, doing the cooking competition at the public school on Monday, doing the demo lesson at the construction company on Thursday, preparing for and doing the demo lesson at school on Saturday, plus the administrative work that’s included in being a proper teacher working for a proper language centre (for example, checking my class registers for students who have missed more than two classes so that their parents can be called to find out if they’re OK), I worked over sixty hours last week.

And still somehow found time to write this week’s blog posts, including this one.

My week was crazy, but God is amazing so although I was tired at some points, He still took me through it in such a way that when it was over, I didn’t feel empty and exhausted.

In fact, I felt like I had more to give.  It’s funny how that works, isn’t it?

How when you’re doing what you love and what you’re meant to do for that specific season, instead of exhausting your emotional stores, it replenishes them.

I don’t want all of my weeks to be like last week was but I do like the fact of having a week like that because it reminds me of how much I love the life I’m living now, it shows me that I love what I’m doing, and it reminds me that as long as I depend on God’s grace and strength, I can do anything.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s