Israel, cheating, and World AIDS Day
Funny thing from my trip to Kyiv that I forgot to post: On the way home, a woman in my train compartment asked me, "Are you from Israel?" When I said no, she said, "But isn't your book in Arabic?"
My book was a collection of feminist essays by Gloria Steinem, in English.
So I just said, "No, it's the English alphabet, not the Hebrew one," and continued reading.
Sometimes I feel like poking pins into my world map of all the places people in Ukraine have thought I'm from, most of which aren't America.
I gave a dictation (ie spelling test) to my 7th form on Tuesday. It was a sad, sad experience...I gave them 10 words that we'd studied about the telephone, plus the bonus word "Nokia," a popular brand of cell phone. Three kids only spelled "Nokia" right. I gave 1 point for each correct word and 1/2 point for each wrong word that I could easily read, and still all but three scores were 5/10 or less. To top it all off, I had told the kids that they had to put their books under their desks or in their bags, that they could only have a pen on the desk, and that I would give a 2 to anyone I caught cheating. Well, Nelya and I caught Oleh Y. with his book open under his desk...his argument was that while I had said, "Put your books under the table," I had never told him that it had to be shut.
He got a 2. So did Tanya, who I caught when she dropped her book on the floor. Do not get me started on a rant about cheating in Ukrainian schools!
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Here in Ukraine, AIDS has reached epidemic proportions with a lack of information about prevention and consequences. What does this mean for me? I'm teaching about abstinence and contraceptives tomorrow in my 10th and 11th forms. It's going to be a stretch for me...I never thought of myself as someone who'd be teaching sex ed, and that's pretty much what it boils down to. But I'm choosing to teach these lessons tomorrow instead of the normal curriculum because I think it's important that the kids know how they can get AIDS...and how they can avoid it. It won't be an abstinence-only curriculum, because regardless of my own beliefs, I know that a lot of my students are going to have sex before marriage. But to make them stop and think about possible consequences and wise decisions...that's my goal. So if you're wearing a red ribbon on December 1st, think of me in Ukraine, doing the same.