Friday, November 25, 2011

(44) Our Experience in Poland II: Teaching There

        I ran into a college student, who started to speak in half decent English at a Kebab fast food place here in Kielce, Poland when he heard us talking.  I mentioned that I would enjoy collaborating with his college, which has Business and English as its principle majors.....maybe teach a course or two, give talks, seminars, etc.  Within a few days he arranged a meeting with the President of Wyższa Szkoła Umiejętności (WSU), Dr. Andrzej Błachut. 
      I accepted teaching on Fridays and Saturdays anywhere up to 18 hours per week for an average of eight hours a week a combination of Business and English to eight sections of a Master's Program for English majors.....primarily English teachers.  Their English is quite good, but with a thick Polish-British accent.  They are also being trained as interpreters and translators.  To do that effectively in a business environment, they must have a general knowledge of business concepts as well as terms.  Otherwise, their translations won't make sense.  I've seen enough of poor translations from Polish to English in my three visits here.  As always, I try to integrate the social teachings of the Church (common to most faiths) in my courses where applicable.  It's not for the money (a very low $390/credit/semester, which is about the same as an adjunct receives at the University of Rio Grande with no benefits), but an opportunity to make a contribution and feel useful plus the experience and challenge of teaching in another country besides Peru and the USA. 
            The president of the college asked me to co-author a book which combines basic business principles with the linguistic aspects of Business English.  I've done two chapters so far.    I'm trying to make it simple with an integration of social responsibility, ethics, and the social teachings of the Church with a model of business as an interdependent internal community which is also part of the larger community which surrounds it .  Higher education here is quite secular.  So I don't know whether he'll see it through on the underwriting for publication.  I'm determined to get it published in one way or another..  
            Dr. Błachut also asked me to be officially a full time faculty member, while only being required to teach the Spring he facetiously expressed, dividing my time between my two loves, Poland and the USA.  I could get in deeper of the proposed deal with Clark University of Boston goes through.  A group of their professors would teach here and give Clark University degrees.  It appears dormant for now.
            I accepted his offer and taught Negotiations this past Spring and expect to return next March.  Besides Business deals in sales, mergers, etc., I included labor negotiations and conflict negotiations, i.e., peacemaking and reconciliation, again integrated with Christian principles without necessarily calling it that.  The class did practice negotiations involving the recent Yahoo vs. Microsoft and a labor management contract.   If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to send you my class notes by e mail.  For the first time I typed them up instead of doing them by long hand.  Thus I was able to give them to my students. 
       Monetarily it's not much, but medical and dental insurance is included in the package.  It came in handy for Jaga when she returned for her father's funeral September of last year, for dental work, for Stephanie, and for Joseph when he broke his thumb this summer.  Anyhow, I'm not doing this for the money.  The same as America desperately needs Polish priests to alleviate the severe  shortage of vocations, I think Poland can use a few missionaries, Polish-American and foreign with an aspiration to serve where needed and contribute a little to the Church and the economic development of the country which has so much potential.  It helps to have a native speaker giving different viewpoints on business with an integration with the teachings of the Church.  It's such a privilege to pay back in a small way what Poland has done for Western Civilization and America.  So I feel like I'm a missionary again as I was in Peru for 14 years doing the same things, but in Spanish.  Native priests usually can't reach students in the University who have already fallen away from the faith.  As in the United States they are numerous.  Of course, I can't preach, but Polish and foreign lay people can be very effective witnesses.
      Already they have heard of the University of Rio Grande, where I am Professor Emeritus after I retired.  Since Scott Morrissey asked me a few years ago to keep my eyes open for good soccer prospects in Poland and confirmed it again, I told my some 160  students about our soccer team as being one of the best in American collegiate sports.  They know that there is a possible soccer scholarship opportunity at Rio for a top notch player and any prospect would have to present himself in action on a video tape as the first step.  One of my students is a Forward for one of the local soccer teams.  Soccer is big here; they just built a new 15,500 seat stadium in this city of 300,000.  I know that there's a very remote possibility of my coming up with something, but there's always a chance. 

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