Sunday, September 19, 2010

Surprise! Time to Teach!

So school has officially started. Teachers have been back for a few weeks and I am one week down in teaching. I cannot explain how happy I am to be finally be doing something. Not only just in terms of the Peace Corps, but I absolutely love to teach, and being in front of a classroom is one place where I am in my comfort zone.

So September 1st was the first day of school for teachers. I arrived at the school at 9 o'clock, welcomed with a cup of coffee and talked with teachers for a couple of hours and went home. Ok, maybe tomorrow we'll do something. Arrive in the morning, get my cup of coffee (which mind you here is strong like espresso), talk with some teachers, and the last half hour of the day we're told what classes each teacher will be teaching, and go home. Ok, somewhat more productive. That would be about as productive as the next week would get. So come Friday, the final Friday before students come along, and I finally find out what each grade is supposed to learn this year. Better than never.

So comes Monday. School is officially starting and I feel like its my first day of student teaching. Basically asking myself, "What the hell did you get yourself into?" But, once again, like the previous 8 days or so of being at school, it lasted for about 2 hours and was extremely informal. Except for one point. So what seemed like half the town in the school yard, the directors begin by welcoming everyone, the local priests bless the school and pray for a good year, and then its time for introductions. Not just any introduction, MY introduction. Now I know what Hester Prynne felt like (Google that if you have to). So I get brought up in front of everyone, and like I said, seemed like half the town, and introduced as the "new American" to the school. Awkward? A little bit.

So Tuesday comes along and I was hoping to just kind of sit back and see how things work every day for each class. NOPE! Class split right away and guess who was teaching. Luckily I have my usual first day planned out, so I did that and it worked out quite well. But, I wasn't expecting in 7th grade to be showing off to the students that I know Romanian. Once I got over the initial shock of teaching unexpectedly, I was good for the rest of the week. Now I'm pretty well set. I'm teaching from this point on, and I have a general idea of what to be teaching. Bring it.

"Throughout my life I've had teachers and professors who have made me change the way I view the world. I was tired of having it changed so much I finally figured out what MY view of the world was. Time to go have students get sick of having their views changed and make up their own minds"

Living at Site

So for the past month or so I have been getting used to living at my site. From trips to the piața, hanging out at the town pool, I've been keeping myself busy in adjusting to my new home. A lot has happened since I moved here so I need to recap, since its been nearly 6 weeks (oops) since my last post.

My first weekend at site was the "Welcome to Transylvania" party being held by another volunteer. I was excited to get out and visit with other volunteers, enjoy some good food, and just relax for a little. While on my way there, I had a good conversation with an older man who was going to the same place as me on the train. Many past volunteers say to sit next to an old bunică on the train and avoid the drunk guys, but sometimes, the old drunk guys are just more fun. Also at the train station I ended up running into another Peace Corps volunteer who had just ended his service in the Republic of Moldova. We chatted for a little while and ended with a little trading of our respective country's swagger.

The next weekend was one which I don't think I will forget in a long time. I decided to meet up with Scott in Fagaraș for their Medieval festival which was being held at the castle. We caught up (even though it had only been 2 weeks since PST ended) over some beers and went walking around the fest. Once it got dark, we decided to go up to one of the castles bastions where they had beer stands and sat over a castle drinking a cold beer. I don't know if I ever would have expected to be doing that in in my life, but it is definitely something I need to do again. I stayed at Scott's place for the night and the next morning go the grand tour of his village.

Next weekend, was Spuneți (Spoo-nets). Spuneți is a quarterly magazine that Peace Corps Romania puts out and talks about whats going on in PCRO. Articles are submitted by volunteers and we put it together. I applied to be an editor and obviously by what I just said, was accepted to be the new editor from our group. we traveled to another volunteer's site, Courtney, as she was our first guest editor. It was a blast putting it together with Mat, Adam, and Courtney and I can tell working with Mat and Adam for the next year will be great. I spent nearly all day (and night) on Photoshop, eventually leading to a kitten falling asleep on my shoulder as I typed away. There's a picture out there somewhere.

I decided to spend the next weekends at home, just getting settled before school starts. Teachers report the 1st and students start on the 13th. More to come soon.

"Sometimes we find ourselves in moments in time where we have no clue how we got here, but we did, and its a matter of enjoying every second of it because it may never happen again."