четвер, вересня 07, 2006

make way for ducklings!

Still alive, although I can tell my stress level by the amount of communication I have with other Americans. This week's total so far is 4 trans-Atlantic phone calls (I only called twice, two of them were people calling me), 2 in-country phone calls, 5-7 text messages (I forget...), and two times on the Internet in 4 days of teaching.

Thank goodness the first week of school only comes once a semester!

Tenative teaching schedule:

3rd form (1 class per week as Nelya's helper)
4th form (2 classes)
6a form (3 classes)
7th form (3 classes...it's a large class [22 students], so Nelya's taking about 7 of the lower-achieving students in the hall or another room)
8b form (3 classes)
10a form (3 classes per week, plus one American Studies class every other week)
11a form (1 class...Nelya's taking them once a week for intensive grammar...mwuhahaha)

And I think it'll be okay. The 7th and 8th formers are overjoyed (the comment one of them made to me about Nelya as a teacher is best left unposted, but let's just leave it at that), they're excited to work with me, and I honestly think I might be able to accomplish more with them than with my 5th and 9a forms (although I do feel a slight pang of sadness watching them walk down the hallway). We repeated the "good student/bad student" activitiy today in both groups, and it went over well. Now, if they will only take it to heart... :)

I made friends with the 2nd grade girls (who I don't teach) yesterday. I know Liza Y, of course, and we were chatting on the playground yesterday on break when several other girls came up to us. One of them is Alla, who is the school secretary's granddaughter, and who made friends with me this summer ("Do you have a cat? Where are you from? Where do you live? Do you have a friend? I have a friend. Her name's Alina...") Liza took one of my hands, Alla took the other, and the other little girls linked on with them. It looked something like this: xxXxxxx (I'm the capital X.) I suspect we must have looked like a mother duck with her ducklings. The girls had just had their first English lesson on Tuesday, so they all asked me, "What's your name?" Then Alla asked me where I was from. When I said America, Liza Y looked at me and said, "You're from America?"


Ah, to be 8 years old and unaware of life's small details. (I am reminded of a passage in Lois McMaster Bujold's science fiction series about Miles Vorkosigan [FYI, very good sci-fi...Bujold is the Dorothy L. Sayers of her genre] in which Miles comments that, as the emperor had been his foster-brother, there was a subliminal connection between "emperor" and "someone to play hide-and-seek with". I occasionally wonder if the Y kids will in future connect "American" and "someone who reads stories and plays games with us".)

The bugs in my schedule are being worked out, and I have nothing but the utmost admiration for Halyna Konstantinivna, our vice-principal, who is in charge of scheduling classes. I watch her work at trying to bounce things around and how she keeps it all in her head, and I am truly amazed.

Please keep me in your prayers, everyone. I try so hard to keep a good attitude and not snap at people, but it's been a rough week. One more day until the weekend!


At 9:14 пп, вересня 11, 2006, Blogger Heather said...

Hey, Sal. You are always in our prayers! I hope that things will brighten up a bit more for ya. Take care, hun. (and no, no official news yet...i'm still waiting...lol.)


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