discipline, devotion, and death defying draperies

monday is usually not anyone’s favorite day of the week, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart. it was magical. well i should explain that my scale of ‘the great and the terrible’ has been slightly skewed from my last week of classes. so magical in those terms.

my monday classes went awesome and it was even slightly fun (hurrah!). though sadly i must admit it wasn’t because of any miraculous discipline plan i thought of over the weekend. well it sort of was…it was more or less: go to the teachers and tell them i can NOT teach that 8b form class without their help in discipline. that was my plan. and it was the only good one i had…besides not show up for class (just kidding…maybe). so before school started i gathered up my courage to propose my idea and beg the teachers to help me. i understand that they’re busy so i was trying to give my best act of desperation, which wasn’t hard to do. the head teacher agreed that she would be there and just to double, triple, check she knew what she agreed to, i asked her again before my class began.

i walked into the classroom and the students greeted me on the way in. one girl (the one that cares in class) set a bag of chocolate covered tube things on my desk. (i found out later they were delicious). i sort of wondered if the teacher would actually come, but surely enough she walked into my class just as my 8b students were getting settled. and BOY did she make an entrance. i’ve never thought this woman could even raise her voice, she’s so soft spoken, but she came in belooooowing it was hard to believe it was her. she yelled at the students to get out their stuff for lesson, walked around the room and then sat in the back, keeping an eye on everything. it was kind of intimidating to have someone watch my lesson, but hell, if it got them to shut up i didn’t care at all. the whole staff was welcome. i began teaching and honestly forgot at some points that these were my 8b students. you could have heard a pin drop. all eyes were towards me, they were actually writing what i put on the board and some actually answered questions!!! it. was. magical. as they stood up to leave for class i thanked them for being quiet, then i realized i probably shouldn’t have cause that’s what they’re supposed to do in the first place. but whatever, i was still in a tizzy from their sign of actual discipline. now only if they’d be that way WITHOUT the other teacher there….i guess i’ll find out on wednesday.

before my next class, i went to the teacher’s office and profusely thanked the teacher for being there. i told her it seriously made such a difference. i was about to say it was like ‘night and day’ but wasn’t sure if that would be cross-culturally understood, so i just left it at that. she sort of chuckled at how thankful i was, telling me it was nothing, but i kept thinking ‘no, really THANK YOU’. i taught the rest of my classes for the day on a high from how well that one lesson went. my 9th form was kinda chatty and had a hard time staying on-task, but i can hardly complain about that. i taught the younger kids body parts, putting sticky-notes with body part vocab on an unassuming volunteer. the kids loved that. and then we learned ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ to which i actually got applauded after i sang the first time and they left class still singing. it was great.

it was one of those days of teaching that actually reminds yourself why do you what you do. i don’t mean to sound like a seasoned veteren, because while granted teaching is not actually my profession and i’m still a newbie at this, i do really enjoy teaching and found that i’m not so bad at it…in my opinion anyways ; )

i had spent pretty much the entire weekend curriculum and lesson planning like i actually said i was going to do (well there was a few buckets of laundry, some sweeping, cooking and a skype with jeff in between). i realized that, since i don’t know when my counterpart is coming back and i wasn’t given any idea as far as a curriculum goes, i needed to plan one myself.

so that’s what i did. i looked through their text books, which are horribly written and outdated, to get an idea of what they’re supposed to be learning. i jotted down ideas for fun classes, looked up resources on a data base for PC ukraine volunteers, and post-it noted teaching books. by the end of the whole process, my floor was covered with books and pieces of papers with scribbled down ideas to which was to become my year of teaching. i worked late into the night on sunday and all day after school on monday. i couldn’t stop. not that i was fun per say, with the exception of drawing out class visuals, but if anyone knows me, organization and planning are my thing. so i knew i’d feel better once i had the week of lessons planned out rather than working on them one day before. or i was hoping that would solve my problem of feeling overwhelmed…though i think it’s the 22 lessons a week that does it.

either way i’ve been consumed by school (which is hard not to be when you LIVE at school. literally. i live at school) and it wasn’t till i talked to my parents and fellow pcv and confidant megan (whom i trained with), that i realized maaaaaybe i’m a little too devoted. they all reminded me that i need to make sure to take some ‘me’ time, which i’d been seriously neglecting. megan told me that i need to spend at least an hour a day either watching tv or goofing around on the internet, both of which i don’t have at home lol, but i got her point.

the mess i call lesson planning

it’s not the first time someone has told me to scale things back and not be overly devoted. story of my life. but i guess with this being my job that i’m justifying leaving home for and spending two years of my life to half way around the world, it’s hard not to become overly involved. i want, more than anything, for my students to actually think learning english is fun and enjoy it in the process. which i realize might be a lofty goal, but when i work so hard to make fun and interactive lessons, makes it a little more achievable. now it’s just up to them to be behaved or not.

so after my magical monday at school i came back to my room to find the giant curtain rod above my window came out of the wall and was dangling precariously from the remaining stubborn screw. thankfully the whole thing missed my computer which sits on the table near the window…poor thing has already had a lamp fall on it, the last thing it needed was a curtain rod. i would have been more surprised to walk into my room and find that everyone can see into my room (good thing it was clean!) but it sort of half fell out of the wall the night before. sunday night, right before bed one side of the curtain rod just popped out of the wall. i tried to stick the screw back in but that didn’t work, so i added some duct tape and hoped it wouldn’t come crashing on my head as i slept. i sat there for a minute debating the safety of the situation, calculated from my knowledge on pendulums, and decided that if it fell i was clear of the swing. good plan i know.

i knocked on the door to the nurses office and tried to explain what happened. one of them got up, came and saw what happened and called the school after an exasperated ‘oh my god’. within a few minutes the school handyman came over and started to fix it. good thing because as some students were beginning to walk back to the dorms one boy walking by said ‘i’m coming back here at night!’ assuming he was hoping to get a no-curtain peep show. ha. to his disappointment and my delight, it was fixed in no time and with new screws it was sturdier than ever. welp, i guess duct tape can’t always fix everything.

this is my room by the way

One thought on “discipline, devotion, and death defying draperies

  1. I knew I hated that curtain rod from the moment i saw it and now its trying to hurt you…grrrrr, or and by the way are the curtains any easier to open and close, or still a total pain in the butt?

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