There are three full time teachers with this company based in Karlovy Vary. There is one contracted part time teacher and now my boyfriend is also doing a few classes for the company. I feel, as do my two other full time coworkers, that the Karlovy Vary branch needs to hire a fourth full time teacher. My full time coworkers schedules are INSANE. I will go into those in a later post. This will be about the “training” in October.
Nearly every school in the Czech Republic had October 18th and 19th off as a kind of Fall Break. My company decided this would be a perfect time to make the teachers from all over the Czech Republic drive to a tiny, tiny village in the mountains on the border of Poland for a two day training. This made all of us rather unhappy. Who wouldn’t rather have a four day weekend? It also did not seem to be the smartest plan because the weather forecast said it should snow that weekend.
On October 18th early in the morning, I got to the office to meet with the other three teachers that are going. I had initially thought we would be taking the automatic company car. I was informed that we would be taking the manual because the snow tires for the automatic were missing. Taking the manual car meant that I would be one of two people able to drive the car. One girl cannot drive a manual at all and the other girl can drive a manual, but is uncomfortable driving on our side of the road (she is British). I went into the office to look for the manual key. No key. I look around the street for the car. No car. I begin to have a mini panic. A few minutes before 9, when we were supposed to meet, my bosses husband drives the car up and hands me the key. OK, we have a car. How considerate, he did not fill up the tank!
Eventually, around fifteen past 9, we were all at the office and began our drive. Our boss had given us a “map” aka a printout of the route without any written directions or any details about exits or street names. We plugged in the GPS. Lo and Behold, the GPS didn’t work. We were driving practically blind.
The drive that was supposed to only be three hours, turned into five hours. We were about an hour and a half late to the training. We made it just in time to grab a delicious lunch.
We sat at a table with the figurehead/creator of the company. He was his second beer in and could not stop talking about how he didn’t want to work and just wanted to get to the drinking. What a great start to the training! We didn’t want to be there either!
The training started as an exact replica of the training in Prague. My British coworker and I kept sharing annoyed glances. Then the most useful part of the first day of training was going over the company’s new book and product line.
The night ended with some form of scavenger hunt that took us out into the dark, rainy, cold night. The drinking began after that. I was tired, grumpy, and sick of the whole thing, so I went upstairs and slept. Turns out I was lucky and missed the figureheads crazy too-much-information stories.
The next morning I woke up rather early. Since I was in the mountains, I wanted to see them and be in nature. I had decided I would take a hike/wander. I woke up to a very fine snow falling from the sky and crisp refreshing air. I walked through the tiny village to a nature park. I was only able to walk for about an hour and a half. Was beautiful and a great way to start the day. I also had time to reflect on how unhappy all the teachers in all the regions were. Interesting. No one is happy with their schedule. Hmmm. Maybe the company should think about how they manage their employees.
The second day of training was full of the company having us create lesson plans for them to use later. It always feels good to be used! Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it felt it at the time. The entire day was filled with I am not sure what besides lesson plans and reviewing games. The reviewing of games did end up bearing some fruit, but it was not worth the five hour drive.
We ended the training with three groups having to preform “Little Red Riding Hood” as students of various ages. My group was the 6-10 age range. As the last thing on the agenda, it turned into a drink beer/wine and do something ridiculous. It was hysterical. The 3-5 year old group had a violent killing of the wolf, my group had the grandmother come out of the closet and run off with the huntress and the 11-15 year olds had a T-Rex as the wolf and a Ninja as the hunter. I believe they are all uploaded onto the companies intra website thingy. You know, the website that only people who work for the company can access. If I can find them, I will upload them.
The next morning the Karlovy Vary bunch wanted to leave as early as possible. We hopped into the car and I started driving at 6:45. The snow started about then too. I dropped off the only other coworker who was able to drive the manual at a train station twenty minutes after we started. He was going to catch a train to his Czech girlfriends family’s village. I got to drive the whole way home! Oh and lucky us- once past Prague there was a detour. The detour signs ended in a small village in who-knows-where Czech Republic. We could not get a hold of our boss- who was out of cellphone range camping with her family on her four day weekend- and the GPS was still broken. We eventually found a Czech man out in the snow who showed us where we were on the map and how to get to the highway we needed.
Once we made it to the highway, probably a good hour and a half had been wasted on that detour, I had to drive at a crawl. I was in third gear most of the time. So many cars were in ditches on the side of the road. It was terrifying. We were not very pleased with the situation.
Finally at about 1pm, after dropping off my coworkers in Karlovy Vary, I made it home to Sokolov. Never been so happy to see a smoke stake with Chemie written on it in my life.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that the speedometer, gas gauge, and other devices on the dashboard would randomly stop working. Apparently my boss knew about this and was not concerned nor did she think it was important to tell us that happened. The majority of the drive back I had no idea how fast I was going, nor how much gasoline was in the tank.
Yay training! Looking back, it was a funny/crazy adventure almost worthy of Georgia. I will also now admit that I did learn a few good games from going to the training and it was interesting to see how the other teachers in other regions were doing as well as who had already quit.