Monday, February 09, 2009

a day in the life

so perhaps you're wondering to yourself, what in the world is amy
actually doing over there? don't worry, it's a question I ask myself
almost daily, but I'll try and piece it together for you.

ambrela, as I've mentioned before, is a tiny two-room establishment
nestled in a labyrinth-like maze of roads in shutka. it's opens at ten
and within about ten minutes, the main room is full of at least twenty
rowdy elementary-age children. they come to ambrela to work with their
peers and the teachers on whatever homework they have for the day. it
ranges from Macedonian, English and Romani to math and writing. the
teachers get a little break around lunch and then the older, more
middle school kids come in after their morning at school. there
usually aren't as many of them, but probably over 25 pop in and out at
some point during the afternoon.

the teachers serve more a tutorial role than that of a teacher.
they'll help individuals or groups on any range of subjects, but don't
actually teach in the classroom setting style. two women, a Macedonian
and an Albanian, are the primary (read: paid) teachers but a Roma man
about my age comes in everyday to help out as well, and a few others
poke around occassionally.

you'll be proud to know that I'm boy quite as worthless at this whole
thing as I otherwise seem. I help out with English, obviously, but I
also help the younger kids with math and reading, since I've mastered
the numbers and can read reasonably well due to my Russian. and
finally, those years of german are paying off, since I can help all
the kids with that. the language barrier makes things harder of
course, but I'm slowly learning and the kids are starting to figure
out my weird gestures. I also teach actual English classes on Tuesday
and Wednesday to one group of younger kids and an afternoon session
with the older. it's gone shockingly well so far, though I wasn't
expecting much so you'll have to keep my classroom reviews relative.
no one's reading Thoreau yet, but if I can at least make their accent
a little less horrific, that will be a victory in itself.

I don't think anyone ever intended me to be a teacher, but I'm glad
I'm giving it a try for a bit now. the kids at ambrela are extremely
well behaved, much more so than any group
I ever worked with in Philly or oak ridge. behaviorable problems are,
at most, a bi-weekly occurance, as opposed to say, hourly. they're a
good group of kids, just sadly behind in their learning.

I'm going to go try and make one of these 'lesson plan' things I keep
hearing about. knowing me though, I'll put money on it never actually
happening. advice welcome ;)


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