Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

Normally the first day of school is a busy and hectic day. Usually my classroom is completely set up and decorated with lots of cool posters. Normally I would have made all my copies for the week and have plans put together for the first two weeks at a minimum. Usually the kids are well behaved because it is the first day of school and they are anxious and nervous about attending.

This was a first day that I have never experienced before. I know that it is a pretty new school, about five years old, but there was a lot of disorganization that would have never happened in the United States. Where do I begin. Surprisingly I am not that stressed out about things, because I have come to the conclusion that all is chaos. They will still hiring teachers all of last week. I found out that I do not have all the textbooks that I need to teach each subject. I did not really understand the schedule, nor was I given the times for each block, plus I did not know the grading scale for classes. I basically had to ask around for information. Oh, not to mention that they fired the copy lady during the summer and then decided to buy a new copier, which was not available until the day before school started. Thankfully I was one of the first to make copies.

So here is how the day started. For some reason the high school and elementary principals decided not to talk with each other until this morning about their procedures. So my principal found out that the high school was ending their day around 9:30am after a meet-the-teachers assembly and the high school was planning to dismiss our elementary students then too. So that changed plans for the elementary school when twenty minutes before school starts our principal came around to let us know that we would be sending children home at noon and that we should inform parents to pick their kids up then instead of 3pm. Crazy! Oh, and then I found out that there are no bells to dismiss children off to their other classes, but I am not carrying a watch nor do I have a clock in my classroom. So I had to run to Joe's room where he had our cell phone and a classroom clock.

My fifth grade homeroom class started to arrive into my room and I decided to go through an activity to talk about school rules. I thought things were going well until I split children into groups to make skits about the rules. It was then that I realized that kids did not understand one anothers English, plus some of them did not understand me, or they did not understand the rules! It took about forty five minutes on just doing that before I had to let the children go off to another class. So much for my high ambitions.

Then the sixth grade class came into my room for their first class. Immediately I knew who were friends with one another because they were very chatty. However, it is not too bad, because there is only ten children in total for the whole group. I gave the students a handout to get to know them, and I also wanted to see how they write their answers. Normally this would only take about ten to fifteen minutes in the United States for completion, but it took about forty minutes and the English skills were really bad.

At this point we took the kids outside for recess and then upstairs to the cafeteria (a bar at night...I will have to write about that one day). They were served a breakfast of traditional food, called burek. It is like a meat pie or a cheese pie. I thought it was good, but very heavy unhealthy food. I get to eat for free...which is kind of cool. At that point I had two planning periods back to back, which took me to the end of the day since we were dismissing early. So why not go to the coffee shop next door! Four of us headed over there for a drink...so crazy!

The whole thing was a little bit different. I have a feeling that teaching will go really slowly, but that is because the students have a lot of English learning to do. I feel like I will be an English teacher using history topics. So this should be very interesting. Not to mention that my husband is having his doubts about being here. It makes it difficult to be positive when someone is hating this experience so much. There are definitely things that I don't like about being here and I miss my old school and my old coworkers, but this could be a fun two years if I make it that way. Maybe if there was more outdoor activity for him it would be better. I don't know what to do so mostly I get frustrated or keep quiet. All I know is that normal is not really going to part of my teaching career anymore.


sdgphoto said...

You made it through your first day! Congratulations! Just hang in there. I'm sure it will get better for you and Joe.

I checked out the hotels in Prishtina -- we (Sonja, Debbie, Julie and I) could bring you some supplies to teach ESL books. They rent rooms by 1/3, 1/2 or whole rooms. http://www.grandhotel-pr.com/ LOL! I don't want to get your hopes up -- it looks pretty expensive for a whole room which doesn't look to big.

Travelin' Tracy said...

Sandy - There are better hotels than the grand hotel...I will check them out! And we have at least two beds in our apartment!
They hired a lady this year to start an ESL program, which will be very helpful...very helpful! I think I will be bringing some books and other supplies with me after I return home in December. Even though funding is up for the school, supplies here costs so much and of course it is hard to find English children's literature books. I'm not too worried about me, but I hope that Joe gets more into it!

AMY_BELL - said...

Okay girly...I posted a few new entries but I still have a lot more to do. I'm going to be dog sitting for Julie for the next 2 1/2 weeks so I should have some down time to finish the updates. I can't believe how your first day was...CRAZY!! I would have been going out of my mind. And yes, you were right, I've been at SRMS until 5 or 6pm everyday and I even went last Sat. & Sun. to get ready. I'll post about all that stuff soon enough but 2 days down and so far so good.

Update in February

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