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- Public Service and Volunteerism
- Teacher: M. Hart
as interviewed by Caroline Foucher, March 27th, 2019
Jennifer Foucher in her own words
I taught in a tiny little town of 10,000 people that was 200 kilometers from Prague. It was in the middle of nowhere in Moravia which was one of the 3 states of Czechoslovakia at the time. it was very very rural, it was in the hills, sort of the foothills of mountains, when I arrived it was January and there was a ton of snow on the ground, it was freezing cold. I was only 1 of only 2 english speaking people in the town, another american who went there with me and we were paired with 2 check women who were the english teachers in the local schools and each one of us taught 13 different groups of students every week so I taught elementary school students,middle school students, high school students and adults. i met with each group once or twice a week depending on the group the most challenging part of my experience was that i had no training on how to be a teacher, i had a little bit of material to use i had a packet of information about teaching english as a foreign language but i did not learn how to do it. Very challenging. But the great thing was the people were so happy we were there ,I felt that i wasnít teaching them english, but i quickly learned they didnít care about that, what they cared about was getting to meet an american and getting to spend time with me and they loved that it made it a much a better experience than it would have been if they were not welcoming to me, for instance my adult students all had hosted me in their houses for dinner they would bake things for me and bring me treats it was a lot of fun it was a huge learning experience for me and i loved learning about their way of life and just seeing the difference between how i was raised the beliefs i was raised the believing and the beliefs they were programmed or attempted to be programmed to believe. communism In the early 90ís had kind of failed in eastern europe and i think the people i know ,most of them didnít believe in communism they were more victims of communist leadership.they had very little access to quality goods, there food was very restricted like the grocery stores, so every single person I knew who owned a little bit of property had peach trees and plum trees in gardens they would harvest everything that they grew and then they would can those things at the end of harvest time and they would be able to eat like stewed plums or stewed peaches. I remember several people in particular, one was kveta the women i was partnered with kveta means flower and she was a woman in her mid 40ís she had a son and was married to honor who was a communist who was the only communist that i knew for sure that I knew that believed in communism and didn't speak any English and Kveta was fluent in English. She was a very pretty women she was very nice to me, she made great food and she did my laundry. Another one of my students was yearshi he was an adult he was an adult about my age early 20ís and he was very entrepreneurial and very focused on getting out of Czechoslovakia. He bought a plane ticket to New York. Fortunately I had an aunt and uncle who lived in New York and they helped him, they picked him up at the airport and they let him stay at their house for a few nights then he ended up coming to dc and I helped him get to san antonio and he ended up living with my mom for a couple of months and helping her doing odd jobs around the house. shortly after I got there maybe the weekend after i got there two of my adult students invited me to go ice skating and their names were merrick and yarrick and they were friends and they were both so so sweet and they took me ice skating on a beautiful pond. I had so much fun.