Well, I have officially completed my first week of school, two days with the kids! Thursday was our first day with the students and it is a huge celebration here in Moscow..”The Day of Knowledge”. So all the kids come with flowers and flowers and more flowers!! We start the day with an assembly which consists of some students performing a skit, singing about loving their school, and the ringing of the school bell by a first grade girl who is being carried across stage by the oldest boy. Then it’s off to the classroom where the kids get their books, planners, schedule, etc. A few lessons take place, then the kids head home. It is all quite interesting, and I think the whole celebration part should definitely be adopted by schools in the states!!
So today was the first day of actual class, however, I had no lessons today so I got to sit on the computer, plan lessons, act like I was busy, watch the kids run around in the halls during their breaks. I’m not sure I’m giving a clear picture here, so let me take a moment to explain this whole Russian school system to you. Let me start by saying: I DON’T GET IT!!!
Ok, so, there is very little structure and discipline in during the day. Each grade has anywhere from 3-5 teachers teaching different lessons. There is no curriculum, but rather a theme that each teacher is expected to tie their lessons to. The teacher’s don’t discipline the students during class, they just tap on the desk in order to ‘gain’ the students’ attentions. Then, after each lesson, the students have about a 5-10 minute break in which they literally go out into the hall, run and scream around, and it’s all allowed. We take the students to breakfast and lunch, and again, they are loud and uncontrollable. They help themselves to the food, instead of being served, and it’s just all very unlike school in the states! Oh! And to top things off, the students are allowed to leave at 2:30, but if their parents don’t come, they stay until as late as 5. This time is used sometimes for other lessons, or as a study hall, or sometimes the kids continue to run and scream. It’s all very mind-boggling to me so far.
Well, now that you maybe have a little picture of the day, I’ll continue on.. I got my official schedule today of what lessons I have, and when they are. So here’s the rundown…Mondays I teach Technology and Desing (basically, arts and crafts), and Drama. Tuesday, no lesson. Wednesday, Arts and Crafts. Thursday, Drama. Friday, Inquiry (basically social studies/english lesson combo dealing with our unit theme). Now here’s the catch, all these lessons take place AFTER 2:30. So you guessed it, I may or may not have students. ha, So it is all a little confusing, and frustrating, and sometimes I wonder what’s the point. But at the same time, I am still enjoying planning my lessons, and the students that DO stay, are gonna have fun learning–i hope, 🙂
On the bright side, I absolutely love the teachers I work with. I think I mentioned in my last post that 3 of the 4 speak English, and we have all hit it off really well. We had “tea time” today and discussed our lesson ideas and visited. Most of the visiting was in Russian, but they would fill me in with English so I could keep up.
Oh, and today was one student’s birthday, so he brought everyone delicious Russian chocolate bars! (Chocolate is such a great coping mechanism!!!)
Ok, hope you were able to follow all this mumbojumbo. Maybe one of these days my posts will be a little more organized and make more sense. Until then, I am going to go enjoy my weekend. 🙂