Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Momma said there'd be days like this...

I woke up this morning fully energized and ready to take on anything that came at me.  Knowing I had work to do that the medical center, I ventured on over there after I had filled out the long term plan for the club with my partner teacher.

We agreed to discuss how we would handle today's new lesson for the upcoming week after I had returned.

I will be attending a peace corps seminar next weekend and need to go with a partner from the hospital.  I asked the ladies at reception to send the message, but upon my arrival, I realized the message wasn't received as well as I had hoped.

I decided to go straight to the top, the boss, and was surpised to observe how well my romanian has come along.  More news tomorrow about this matter.

I returned to the school and had met with both partners at the highschool.  We were in agreement.  I attended my first lecture with my 7th graders.  They are possibly the most difficult to control.  We got through our work ok until the end when they started talking out of turn, talking in english (which is a no go in my classroom), hitting each other...being kids basically.  It was almost as if they were testing me and my partner, both of us have never taught such a large amount of children before.  It was a lot to handle.  I'm not sure how it happened, but I ended up giving them a 10 lecture on respect.  Which then turned into homework, a whole page about what respect means to them (for a grade of course)

After thinking my troubles were over with.  I went to my other lession with a different teacher.  Our experience last week was pleasant, so I was assuming things would be similar this week.

It wasn't.

I started off by explaining that I had given the 7b class homework about respect.  And if they work nicely, we would do a fun activity I had saved just for them.  At first it seemed as if it would work, but towards the end, they were more difficult than our first group.  Again, I gave the same lecture but slightly different.

They got 2 pages about respect in the classroom (of course, for a grade)

I left the class fairly frustrated, it must've shown because a couple students chased me out of the classroom and had apologized.  I accepted the apology and wished them a good day.  I went to the computer lab and graded 40 some-odd pretests while my partner teacher dealt with her primary job in her office.

Let's see how tomorrow goes.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Everyday is not exactly the same

Today started off fairly ordinary considering my work schedule.  I had my one and only class with my 6th graders whom I haven't met.  Their home-room teacher is my neighbor and we talk on a fairly regular basis. My partner teacher whom I was to teach the lesson with was very busy working in her office assigning books to teachers and students.  She insisted I waited for her when the bell rang for our lesson together.  We ran to our class, but I'm afraid I got into exercise mode and left her in the dust.  Oops. When I arrived maybe 2 minutes before my partner, I improvised a little in front of my students who were just as wide-eyed as I was.  Pretty hilarious, should have been there.  I also surprised to see my host brother's daughter in the class. 

The energy in the room was hard to control because it seemed as if these students were more hyped at the thought of an American in the same room.  They all ended up asking for my autograph by the end of the lesson.  It was very flattering.  And I won't lie, in the midst of it all I felt like a celebrity.

We'll see what surprises tomorrow brings.


Friday, September 4, 2009

No clue is my friend.

So this concludes week 1 of teaching health education in romanian in Moldova.  Whenever I mention that I am a teacher of health education, I have to mention that I'm doing so in Romanian, the only living language closest to Latin.  Take that!

Shout out to all the M24's teaching Health Ed.  We're awesome, we know it/show it.

Oh yeah, we didn't have school on Monday, and the first bell ceremony on Tuesday didn't really count.  The first FULL week starts next week.

Oh ma doare capul.  (My head hurts)  It's a good hurt, it's a hurt that let's me know I'm still alive, still kicking.  Doing things I couldn't even imagine I would be doing 2 years ago.

My students.  Wow, what can I say.  I love them, the quite ones, the loud ones, the short ones and tall.  The ones who follow the rules and those who show up 10 minutes late.  Those who try as hard as they can and the students who are apprehensive to let loose.  It's normal, it's life, it's healthy.

I live in a very developed area, my first impressions were, "wow, these people have everything.  What can I do to help? What a horrible and ignorant question to ask.  I'm not here to construct another grocery store, or bar.  I'm not here to put more computers in the lab.  I'm here to be a mentor to these kids who need someone to talk to/hang with.  Something constructive, positive, hence...healthy.

I'm SO excited to be here, and thank whatever powers that have put me here.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Am inţeles

Today was the first day of school and oddly enough, I wasn't the least bit nervous.  I mean after all, they're just kids.  My first class was a little difficult to deal with.  Talking out of turn, stuff like that, kids being kids basically.  It wasn't impossible to deal with.  They were positioned in the group-style face to face position.  But I gave them a standardized pre-test.  That worked out in my favor to say the least, I noticed the questions were difficult and my 7th graders had a little trouble answering the questions.  I even didn't know some of the answers, a little difficult to understand how my 5th graders will be able to it.  But, I understand the purpose of the test.  Plus it gives me more time to prepare for the first 10 or so lessons.  I feel comfortable in the language.  I even found my tutor for Romanian which is, oh wow! I can't even explain to you how awesome that is.  If I learned so much in a handful of weeks, who knows what I can accomplish over a year of work with my tutor.  And, she's worked with volunteers before so, she knows what to do. 

Tomorrow, I think I have a handful of classes with the 6th graders.  Who knows what's going to happen there.  Friday is three classes with 5th graders, my little draguţi  I don't know if I got that in the plural form correctly, but the fifth graders are the newbies, I'm looking forward to working with them.  For sure.

That's all for now.  It's time for a cold one, Russian TV, and a long term plan.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Another day, another celebration.

Last night brought back another sudden awakening. Bad dreams, waking up delirious. Where am I? I think I have a test coming up in some subject, forgot to feed the dog...Wait, I don't have a dog. Am I at my friends house and I'm going to walk home at 4 a.m. again? Dang, I hate walking home.

Oh yeah, I'm not in Kansas anymore.

I woke up around 7 a.m. finding host mom Nina frying something up with sunflower oil. It smells good, I hope she's got the coffee going. Yes, I smell coffee! Today is the celebration of the Romanian Language in Moldova. 20th annual if I understood correctly.

I walked to the center of the town, just next to the Ştefan Cel Mare statue. Everyone has flowers. I'd better go buy some too. I walked to the florist and ask her for help. I don't know what I want, but I have money, and want something beautiful. I spend 25 lei, which is just a little over 2.5 bucks. It's a pretty bouquet although, I'm not sure what constitutes pretty. I walk with the bouquet to the center but not before I'm stopped by a russian speaking man. His town sounds aggressive, but that's normal. He says something with the word bouquet. And not knowing a lick of Russian besides "Yes, No, Beer, lighter" I smile and say a polite, "Poftim?" or "Come again, excuse me" Then continue walking.

At the ceremony the Romanian teacher at the high school gives a speech about the importance of the Romanian language, and that Russian speakers should attempt at learning the countries language. Then I hear my name. Surprised I remember the conversation we had earlier about "saying a few words" Oh lord. I thought we were talking about tomorrow's inauguration to open the school year. I hadn't prepared anything, I'm decent in conversation, but anything requiring a full-blown speech is going to take some preparation.

"We have a Peace Corps Volunteer, Ahmad...Ahmad where are you"

My heart forgets to beat for a second or two. I walk forward and throw my arm in the air. Smiling, nervously.

She continues to talk. Thank god. The speech will wait until tomorrow. Thankfully.

"Ahmad has been in Moldova for 2 months, and he speaks Romanian beautifully" Thank you for noticing I thought to myself, I know a word or two. Heh. I set back into my spot and receive the comment that I was used as an example with a chuckle and a relieved smile. Safe with my flowers and my briefcase, I hide back in the crowd.

The speech is over and I thank the Romanian instructor, I think I just found my tutor for the upcoming months. Then something happens, it starts to rain and I'm in the middle of dancing the Hora. The national dance of Moldova. I haven't really danced the hora and considering there are a few multiple forms I'm relieved yet again to find out that we are doing the simple, "in and out slightly moving right" version. The dance is over and a well dressed older man approaches me.

We talk, and I practice my speech I had written for the next day with him. Who I am, where I've been, where I lived, my family, no I'm not married, I don't know if I want to be, maybe, ok we'll see what happens in two years. He's a very polite man and begins to reach into his briefcase. He gives me a book filled with Romanian poetry. I'm filled with joy as he begins to sign the inside cover addressing it to me.

I thank the man, hand's me his card and we're on our way. After the most intense hour I've had in a long time, I walk to the predominately Russian speaking Piaţa (market) and practice my non-verbal communication. I need bed covers and a roll of toilet paper.

Better make that a couple rolls of toilet paper.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Normal is a good thing.

Today was good, or normal, whichever way you want to look at it.  Cleaned up from last night's festivities before Costea woke up.  The look on his face when we went outside expecting a mess and finding it almost spotless was nearly histerical.  Dishes washed, masa cleared, ground swept.

After working on the long term plan for a couple hours, I talked to my sister and a few friends over the internet, then went for a jog.  Been running everyday for about a week.  Feels great, my mood has improved greatly, giving me time to think.  Thinking in a mixture of broken romanian and english is interesting.  Dreaming in romanian is also interesting.

My host parents returned from their trip to Ţiplova.  They visited my host mom's sister there, I understand she's alone there and life is a little difficult for her at times.  Makes me think about my own family and how much I miss them.  It's only been a couple months, and understanding the length of two years makes it hard at times.

I've read the rest of my american literature, a collection of books I borrowed from the Peace Corp's library.  Just in time too, I'll begin working at the highschool starting Tuesday.  A little nervous, but that is normal.  And normal is a good thing.

House party

Costea threw a bash last night. Not with tons of people but enough.  I felt like I was in a Snoop Dogg video.  Something about the party not stopping til 6 in the morning.  I've noticed something, I can not hang with the youths here.  They stay up way too late.  If I'm not in bed by 10 p.m....well let's just say I'm in bed by 10 p.m. otherwise I'm sleeping on the ground.

Today was interesting, with the start of the school year looming I wanted to get cracking on my long term plan.  It's been difficult meeting with my partners with some of the holidays and all, so I started one up by myself to get the feel for the format, and the whole...not writing/speaking/teaching in english thing.

That's still a trip.  I need a tutor badly, I learn a few words here and there but not even close to the rate at which I was learning during language school.  Those days were more tired, structured though.  Structure is good.  I am doing well in the language however, able to get certain things across.  And when people are not speaking russian, I can gather the gist of the idea.  Thank God for hand motions and non-verbal forms of communication.  Something I'll definitely teach in the coming months.

Ok I'm leaving bye.