I had such a great day at my school today! It started off as a normal day, I got up at 7:30 am, drank tea and got ready for school. As I was getting ready my brother popped up on instant message! I have been missing my brother a lot and have been trying to contact him so it was awesome to start my day off with him.
As I walked to school I could feel a bit of warm sunshine on my face. For the past few weeks all the volunteers around Armenia have been speaking of this thing called spring, but we have not felt it in Spitak. While others were packing up their heaters, snow was still falling in Spitak, and I was secretly cursing the others…. Actually in all honestly I didn’t think winter was so bad. Yes it was cold, but it was livable. This California girl survived her first winter pretty well I’d say! Anyways the last three days the snow in Spitak has finally begun to melt and spring is on its way in.
I dropped Sophie off at my counterpart’s house, as I do every day, it’s pretty much her doggie day care. I go to work and she plays with my counterparts dog Micky. This way she never gets lonely and I don’t feel the need to rush home from school.
When I got to school I found out that two of our teachers were celebrating birthdays, which meant lots of candy and cake, so much for my pre-vacation diet! Then it was time for my first class, 4th grade. My 4th graders are angles, they really are. I never have a problem with them, and they seem to understand just about everything I say, which is amazing for second year English students. Today’s lesson was a review. As we went over the old vocabulary all the children fought to shout out the answers. They all remembered the words perfectly. For the past three weeks I have been teaching my classes without my counterpart because she had medical problems, so it meant so much to me that my kiddos actually absorbed what I taught them. It was almost like a test of my teaching skills and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Even better, my counterpart was so thrilled and went back to the teacher’s room raving about how well the kids learned while she was away! Also during my fourth grade class I gave the student of the month award to a very special student. This student is one of my reading club students. At the beginning of the year his mom invited me for tea and explained that her child was behind because he couldn’t read and she couldn’t help him. He didn’t know any of his letters, let alone grammar or vocabulary. He received mostly 4 out of 10 on every test. Now he is reading and doing so much better on his test, receiving mostly 6s or sometimes even 7s. When I called his name for student of the month, he began to look around the class. He thought that I was joking because no one has ever told him he was a good student before. When I explained that he won the award because of the effort he put in and the progress he made, all the students clapped for him and he looked so happy. During the break his class master told me that he was really proud and couldn’t wait to show his mom. These are moments that teachers live for! It made me so happy.
After an hour break I had my tenth grade class. The previous class I had given my students a project, which is not really something I have ever really been allowed to do before, but I decided to try it out anyways. I assigned my students to make a poster board answering the questions: who am I, what kind of person am I, and what do I look like. I told them that the best project would get candy. Any time I give an assignment I expect maybe ½ the class to do it, and only three or four of them to do it right. When I came to class I was surprised to see that most every student had a poster board. I asked for a volunteer to present their project and all of the students volunteered. I felt that it must have been some kind of joke, this just doesn’t happen here! The first girl to give her presentation completely rocked it. She impressed the hell out of me. Normally she is an average student but she always tries her best, and this time she really shined. My counterpart once again was blown away, and explained to me that this never happens and she can’t believe how well they did. One of my boys who always tells me he can’t do anything because he doesn’t know English, gave one of the best presentations. It made me so happy that they would all put so much effort into an English project. At the end of the class they even thanked me for giving them a fun assignment and asked if they could take me on a trip during Spring Break. Even though I will be in Istanbul for Spring Break, it made me so happy that I told them that I would bake all of them American cookies. I can’t wait to go to their class tomorrow morning with a huge plate of Snickerdoodles!!!
Finally at the end of school, I walked out to a group of my third graders who had been waiting for me. They asked if they could walk me home. It was so adorable! They grabbed my hands and led me down the street. I am so lucky to have been assigned to my school. I really do have the best students in the world and the best co-workers! I am so happy that spring is here. In two days I will leave for vacation and it will be awesome, but it’s great to know that I get to come back to a place where I am appreciated!