Sunday, May 27, 2012

All Adventures Must Come to an End

These last few weeks have been so busy! I am sad to say that they were my last weeks at my school. May 25th was the student’s last bell which is an awesome tradition that I want to share with you but first I want to tell you how I chose to end the year with my students. I decided that just having a final test with my students and simply saying goodbye wouldn’t be enough. So I held a jeopardy like competition to find out who my best student is. I invited the parents of my students and also told them to bring some goodies because after the competition we would have a party to celebrate their accomplishments and I would bring a cake for them.

So if you recall, all year my 5th grade class has been having a sticker book competition, where every time they do something great in class they get a sticker and the student with the most stickers would receive a special prize at the end of the year. So going into the end of the year competition I knew that my top students were really close in their race for stickers, each having about 50-55 stickers. So to make the  competition have more meaning I told my students that the winner of the competition would receive 10 stickers, meaning basically that whoever won, would also win the year long class competition.  To my Fifth grade class this was a huge deal.
The night before the competition my boyfriend brought me over the most beautiful surprise, a cake for my class with both the American flag and the Armenian flag, it was really so perfect and I couldn’t wait to show my students!!
The class party went perfectly; all the students had bells or sticks to hit their desk with when they knew an answer and they were all so eager to answer every question. It was great for the parents to be able to witness not only how awesome their children are and how far they have come in English, but also to see how classes can be fun and educational. I had so many parents tell me that every day their child talks about how fun English class is and they don’t understand why, so I wanted to share this with them. After two rounds, we had two winners and I couldn’t bear to take away the win from one of the girls so I gave them both the ten stickers, but in the end my little nune was the winner, the one with the most stickers, so she won the prize which ended up being a Hodge-podge of everything my parents have sent me for the past two years, stickers, candy, English books, a pair of gloves, markers and I have no idea what else. After the game we ate cake together and talked about the two years that we have spent together.

I can’t tell you how sad it made me to think that it would be the last time I walked into a classroom and saw their adorable little faces. The last time they would all rush up to me yelling Miss Alyssa , trying to tell me a something before the rest of the class got the opportunity. The last time that we would giggle about language mistakes that I make in Armenian, or they make in English together. I know teachers are not supposed to have favorites but really this class has been my rainbow on a cloudy day. They have always made me feel respected, but also loved. As an outsider in a small town, it’s sad to say they have been some of my only friends at times and in a way, I love them like they are my children. I have grown to know their personalities, their families, their goals and even their shortcomings. I can’t imagine not being in Armenia come next September to welcome them back to school. It really was a great way to spend my class with them but also a really hard day for me because it’s basically the end of my journey here. Sure I am not officially done with Peace Corps until August 3rd, and I have some summer camps and such, but this is the end of what I came here to do, and though it feels amazing it is also very frightening and sad at the same time. Part of me is ready to go home, I miss my home and Americans so much, but a big part of me wants to stay here and is having trouble moving on… 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dance Dance

So the last week has been super hectic!! Not only  have I been preparing for our last 3 weeks of school, which means final tests, review games and just cherishing my final moments in the classroom, but I have also helped to organize a dance camp at the Spitak YMCA where Peace Corps volunteers taught a choreographed hip hop dance... and by helped I mean a little something like this: Hey Peace Corps dance camp volunteers you should come to the YMCA in Spitak and do the camp PCDC: oh really when?? Me: Hey YMCA we want to do a camp when should we??  YMCA: this week would be best ME: Hey PCDC come on these dates, this is how you get to spitak.... =) oh yeah and also I cheered and pointed out where people needed help and provided an encouraging smile! Also I cooked dinner for the volunteers one night, and it was pretty much amazing.

So anyways the camp was three days long and mostly kids from the YMCA attended but I also had two of my students go. 4 PCV's pretty much did everything on their own, teaching dance moves, B boy styles and a routine. Each day was about 3 hours long and on the last day the kids preformed for the YMCA.
 Please follow this link to watch this amazing video that the Spitak YMCA prepared!!! You can catch a few glimpses of me on the sidelines!! =)