Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Today something must have been in the air.  All of my students had completely lost their minds! My first group of 5th formers are total sweethearts, but can be quite the rowdy, out-of-control bunch.  Today, someone had turned them into these quiet little angels.  They were actively asking questions about the material in the text and I didn't feel the uneasiness I usually feel as flying pencils, erasers, markers, and just about anything and everything else turns the room  into a warzone of sorts.  Unfortunately, my luck ran out after first period.  My second group of fifth formers, who are usually the my little angels, had the wiggly-jiggly crazies and wanted nothing to do with quiet and calm.  The climax, however, was when some casual teasing went to far and one boy jumped out of his seat, picked up his chair, and attempted to smash into onto another student in anger.  Luckily, he missed, but quickly dived in for a brawl which, thanks to a few boys in the class, was quickly ended.  The teacher came and took both boys out and the kids kept going with the lesson as if nothing had happened.

Seventh grade was hyper, but manageable. The kids who wanted to learn were engaged, but keeping the distracted ones on the perimeter in check was the only challenge.  You see, the teachers like to put both groups together for my lessons.  It's already a game of tug-o-war between the teachers for lessons with "The American", so they try to get as many students in on it as possible in the limited time I'm able to be at the school.  And while I'm always happy to teach as many students as possible, we all know that too many preteens in the room can really lead to some crowd-control issues. Sixth grade made sure I didn't forget this fact. There was some drama between the students about who was sitting in which seats while the groups were together which they, of course, needed to resolve by throwing things at each other.  I had their attention at least somewhat for the majority of the lesson, but the last ten minutes things were completely out of hand - and there was nothing I could do about it.  There's only so much I can do against twenty 12 year olds.

So I wouldn't put a golden star on today's teaching, but it doesn't change the fact that I love those kiddos and wouldn't trade teaching them for anything even on a day like today!

Yesterday Oleg called me and asked if I could come to the orphanage today.  Luckily my schedule was free and I quickly thought-up a little something to discuss with the kids. I went to the store and loaded up my basket with notebooks, pens, and cute little smiley-face pins.  I also had some clothes for the kids which Kayla left here in Ukraine when she went back to America, plus a few things I don't need anymore.  Mario even decided to come with me and we set off with goodies and smiles to visit the kiddos.  They were happy to have visitors and I was happy to see them as always.  When I sat down in the room one of the little boys planted himself at my side, wrapped his arms around one of mine, leaned his head against me, and looked up at me with a big smile and "Privyet" (Hi).  I said hi back and let him snuggle up against me while I gently rubbed his back.  I can't imagine how it must feel to be all of eight years old and not have a mommy who cuddles you up and makes you feel loved.  That's one of my favorite (and all the same terribly heartbreaking) parts of going to visit - just showing the kiddos some love.  I led a discussion about people in our lives who help and encourage us, sharing the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan and sharing my own example as well.  I then let them use some of the blank cards my mom sent from America (thanks mom!!) to write a note to someone in their life who has helped them, thanking that person for their love and support.  Those who can't write drew a picture inside of the cards.  They were excited to give their cards to their special someones.  By the time we were done many of the young ones had their smiley pins proudly pinned to their shirts and kept thanking us for the notebooks and pens.  We gave lots of hugs and smiles and, as always, I wished I have could stayed longer with all of those sweethearts.

Getting ready to watch a short cartoon

Explaining the letter writing activity

Listening to Oleg


Kiddos with their notebooks and smilies


Tomorrow I get to give out the 8th of March (aka International Women's Day) presents I have for my professors and fellow English teachers and am looking forward to it! It's fun getting into all of these Ukrainian holidays!

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