A day in the life
I thought it might be helpful to see what a typical week is like for me here. Then I realized that there are no typical weeks here. There are some things that I do regularly: every Wednesday and Thursday, I teach at a local high school that specializes in foreign languages. On Wednesday, I teach two 9th grade and two 10th grade classes, and on Thursday I teach one 7th, one 9th, and one 10th grade class. I also have Russian lessons every Wednesday and Thursday after school, with Oleg, who teaches younger students English and is featured in the PictureFest I previously posted. Look for the Christmas tree - he's the one that's not me. I am in the process of taking over a debate club that another Volunteer started, which meets every Wednesday night at 5:30, and I'm also starting a class for adults who are learning English which will meet every Monday at 4:00. These are regular things.
Then, sometimes I have teacher trainer seminars, where I work with 30 or so English teachers on various topics (the Communicative Approach to Teaching Country Studies), either alone or with another methodologist from the institute. Then, sometimes I go into work on Friday at 3 pm and am informed that I'll be giving 5 seminars in the next two weeks to university students who are getting their teaching degrees. One of which will be on Monday. About what? "Oh, whatever you want." For an hour and 20 minutes. And some days the copy machine does not work. And some days I don't go to bed until 1 or 2 am because I'm planning lessons or seminars or some other such business.
But before this, there were days when I would literally have nothing to do. I called Peace Corps to tell them I didn't have anything to do. They gave me some ideas. Then I suddenly had a whole bunch of stuff to do and very little time in which to prepare to do it. "Planning" isn't the most popular idea here...yet. I hope to try and demonstrate the benefits of planning if at all possible. Maybe, even, making a schedule in advance. Maybe even a week in advance. Crazy ideas.
So far, I'd say my biggest contribution to the city of Simferopol has been the introduction of classroom Jeopardy as a teaching tool. The Ukrainians are into it. Who doesn't love Jeopardy, after all? Hopefully more contributions will come in time. So far, my coordinator has been happy with my work, thea teachers have been happy with the seminars, the teachers at school have been happy with my lessons, and the students have said "thank you for the lesson" every day as they leave the classroom. I'm learning to stop freaking out when I find things out at the last minute, and start realizing that I will usually figure something out. I'm not sure if I'll ever have a real schedule here, which is very odd for me as a person who is psuedo-addicted to her day planner, but I have high hopes that I will at least fall into some sort of rhythm after a while.
Pictures of people and places are in the works for the next post. Until then...