In my first blog post, I want to tell you about my first day of work. It was a total mess, but I still loved it and that’s why I want to share it :)
So, a couple of days before, my assigned teacher from my hosting organization (Narva Vanalinna Rigikool) wrote me an email saying that I should come to school in the morning and she would show me around. Since I didn’t have a bus ticket yet, I had to walk the thirty-minute way to school which made me almost late. When I met Olga (still on time!), she showed me around, explained a lot about the Estonian education system and introduced me to the other English teachers and one German teacher. One hour into the tour, Olga told me that almost all the students were taking exams this week and that there wasn’t really anything to do for me at this point. I should just come back on Thursday and then we could see what I can help with.
After only one hour at my actual workplace, I started walking around to explore Narva and, most importantly, to look for a place where I could get coffee. Once I had walked into at least 15 dead ends, I ran into my flatmates right in front of the VitaTiim building (which I didn’t know!). There, I was welcomed and got a quick tour, too, but I still didn’t have anything to do. I grabbed a book and sat down in the kitchen. Loads of people started walking in and making coffee and one of them was Alex, the teacher of a non-formal English class. He invited me to come and help out at the class that afternoon.
Later, we drove to Sillamae, a smaller town nearby, and picked up a couple of students and some snacks on the way. Since it wasn’t a typical school setting, everyone was very relaxed and because everybody chose to come there, the students were very motivated to learn new things and very curious. I got asked so many questions and the class was a lot of fun. Since then, Alex’ classes have become one of my favourite things here and I’ve come to almost every one of them.
In the end, the day turned out totally different than I expected but I loved it. In general, I think for a good volunteering experience it can be helpful to have some expectations. But it is important to be flexible and to also be happy when things don’t live up to them and maybe just change your expectations.
See you next time,
Project number: 2019-2-EE01-ESC11-051786
Project title: “Solidarity in the 21st century”