Czech language, Czech culture

WHO AM I?

I am Daniela Virtelova, a lecturer of Czech for foreigners. I help foreigners speak Czech, understand our culture, and thus study or work in the Czech Republic.

I like being creative, composing lessons in a way that both, you and I enjoy. My goal is to help you feel at home in Czechia.

 

Experience in a nutshell

I studied English and Czech at the Pedagogical Department. I have gained my experience abroad (England, Spain, Ukraine), as well as in the Czech Republic, and I have taught at a secondary school, and at language schools.

At present, I teach Czech for foreigners and Business English at a university in Pilsen and work as an examiner during the Czech State Language Exam and Czech Life and Institutions Exam for the purposes of granting Czech citizenship. I am also a member of Association of Teachers of Czech as a Second Language.

My story or How did I start teaching my mother tongue, Czech, to foreigners?

I have always loved languages – in elementary school, I devoted loads of time to my mother tongue, as well as to a foreign tongue – to English. I mostly enjoyed dealing with grammar.

I travel, therefore I am

When I left for England to work as an au-pair, after finishing my Bachelor’s studies, I realized I wasn’t actually able to speak English properly. Even after 13 years of studying English. 3 months later, when I was able to speak fluently with my host family on any topic, I realized why: I had never used the language before.

During that year, I enjoyed my new ability to speak, and, owing to that, I was getting to get to know a new world.

I realized that, thanks to language, we can travel more easily, have better jobs

After returning from England, I continued studying at the Pedagogical Department – I wanted to know more about teaching Czech and English. During my Master’s studies, I was working at language schools. While teaching, I was focused on the fact that to learn a language, one needs to actually use it.

However, speaking the language of the country we are in, doesn't mean we will enjoy travelling, find a job

In England, I realized what travelling can bring to us. I found out I like taking pictures of monuments that are a proof of country’s history, trying the dishes we don’t have here, but, most of all – getting to know the people, their language, and culture, getting to know what we have in common. Therefore, I took an internship in Spain (where I taught English) and in Ukraine (where I taught Czech) during my studies.

However, my stay was not always a pleasant experience. I remember my first day in Spain. I asked where the street I was looking for was located, but I didn’t understand the answer (and my mobile phone was, as it usually is during these situations, dead :-)).

Later on, when visiting a restaurant, I was very confused with the local habit: they threw their bills on the floor. If it wasn’t for my friend, I wouldn’t have known that leaving it on the table (which is the way we do it in the Czech Republic) means offending a waiter.

During my stay in Ukraine, I didn’t realize that the tap water may not be drinking water, drank it happily the first few days and then bore unpleasant consequences. :-) I also blew my nose in front of my students and then found out that it’s considered inappropriate. :-)

What can I offer you thanks my story?

Thanks to all of this, I know how important the ability to use the language and to be well informed about the local culture is, and I am doing my best to deliver that into my lessons.

I enjoy watching you, students, making a progress, I like coming up with new ways of explaining new things and practising what you have learnt, and making sure that you comprehend it. I am also happy to talk to you about the differences in our cultures, in our history, and coming to the conclusion that we all are able to laugh at the same joke. :-)

I like coming up with games for students – when you enjoy the lesson, I enjoy it, too. :-) As a student of languages myself, I appreciate the times when I don’t realize I am learning, yet I know new word, create new sentences at the end of the course.

What about you? Do you also want to speak Czech?