субота, січня 13, 2007

sort of a grumpy post, skip if you like

It has nothing to do with me, I know, that one teacher at my school retired over Christmas break (so weird that you can do that in the middle of the year here) and that our schedule of classes got turned upside down. And it's great (awesome, actually), that I'm going to be starting two specialized multi-grade English classes/clubs for more advanced/interested students.

But the new schedule means that I have my 3rd form (who love me) and my 8th form (who actually enjoy English and work hard at it) each one time less per week. *wails*

Why does it have to be the GOOD KIDS that I lose to the new schedule?!


Also, I apparently am stuck with all 24 7th formers in my school for the next semester. This is very, very bad, as there are about 6 of them who are massive behavior and educational problems. In other forms, the kids are already split into A and B groups, which lessens the problem, but this group is too small to do that with, apparently. Our way of dealing with this last semester was that Nelya took them and worked with them seperately in the cafeteria or the teachers' workroom--sort of a resource room situation. This helped me immensely, but the kids didn't like it and complained to the director (and to Nelya, and to me). And apparently other teachers complained as well that it wasn't fair. So rather try to explain to people the reasons why we'd done this, my director instead gave me back the whole class with Nelya sitting in there to handle discipline.

This is going to be a problem.

I attempted to point out that I'm supposed to be working with the more motivated students in the school (which I thought was in my contract...worse luck, it isn't), and somehow ended up getting in an hour-long conversation with Nelya and the music teacher about the high level of poverty in Ukraine, which apparently is why all of these problems arise. It was rough. They were trying to be nice, but I just ended up feeling horrible for being a privileged American and like the goal of my school is to suck hope out of me like a vaccuum cleaner (or maybe a shop vac). The one comforting bit is that Nelya agrees with me about the need to split the 7th form...but what the director says, goes.

Fact of the week I'm having trouble coping with: beginning teacher pay in the US is roughly 17 times higher than what the teachers at my school who have taught for 30 years make. Yes, living costs are higher in the US, but not that much.

And yet, I look at the believers I know here and realize that there's a lot to be said for "being content whatsoever the circumstances". In any country there are those who are discontent with how much they have--yes, Ukraine's economy is dismal, and I know it's easier for me to say this coming from the US--but your attitude deeply influences your happiness in life, not the size of your wallet. But I can't say that when talking to the teachers at school.


For those people who remember Marina's dip in the river last January, an article adressing the phenomenon.


I have a second-hand (but still new) fake fur coat, bought for 70 hryven from one of my director's friends. According to the teachers at my school, I look very stylish in it. Unfortunately, it really hasn't been cold enough to wear it yet. :)


At 6:16 пп, січня 13, 2007, Anonymous elizabeth said...

Evil global warming!! It hasn't really gotten cold yet here, either. We had the fifth warmest Michigan December on record.

I'm sorry some things are not going well for you. Just keep your chin up, I know you'll make the best of things.

At 8:39 пп, січня 14, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

Dear Sally,

We are blessed to be citizens of the most privileged country on earth. The teachers at your school have Balaklia, and only Balaklia. They will stay there long after your term of service is up.

It's petty and unjustified for Nelya and the director to make your job difficult, but they are, as you say, "trying to be nice". Perhaps that's all they can do.

Much love,
Jason :)

At 4:35 пп, січня 16, 2007, Anonymous Tifanni said...

Could be worse-You could be snowed in and unable to see out your window like you were last year at this time. But, we had already been to the circus by this time, so I guess its a toss up, Anne of Green Gables gioing to the big city :)


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