Okay, so I've been teaching for about ten weeks. I'm trying to tell myself it's getting easier and then all of a sudden little Borislav will hit Mira on the head with his book and then I snap back into reality. Peace Corps has a motto, 'the toughest job you'll ever love', and this I definitely do agree with. I tell myself every morning before I walk 25 minutes, halfway up a mountain to my school that 'they're only kids.' I repeat this in my head over and over in between large cups of strong coffee. Never in my life have I had to prepare myself so mentally before I went to work.
Some days are great and some are horrible. An example of a good day would be that the kids actually showed up to my class, they brought their homework, and I only had to tell them to be quiet 10 times instead of 20. A bad day consists of my students asking to go home within 10 minutes of my class starting. (I teach a night class to my 10th graders and they always ask this, especially after they just had six lessons) And if they have a test. Bulgarian kids cheat, all of the time!! I do my best to separate them or write different tests but they are pros at it. The worst part is that I don't speak Bulgarian and I can tell they share information on tests through their language. I always threaten them with a bad grade but this gets a little hard to push when they have always cheated and don't understand why they can't now.
On a lighter note I'm really taking advantage of me being a volunteer from America to make the classroom more fun. I get my 5th and 6th graders to do the hokey-pokey and sing songs. This is completely different than anything they have ever done in school. I know some of my students think I'm crazy but they like it. The reason why I like teaching so much is that you are in control of what goes on in the classroom. If the class starts to get bored I don't continue teaching and lecturing like most of my colleagues, I get to tell a joke or dance to grab their attention. Once one of my colleagues came into my classroom when my students and I were talking about talents. We were all trying to stick out our tongues and touch our nose. She just gave me a look like 'what the hell are you doing?' and slowly backed out of the classroom. I love that. I'm really trying to promote different teaching techniques. I really hope that some of my colleagues catch on. I have my 7th graders teaching their own class. I've learned that sometimes students pay more attention to their peers than their teacher. I had one girl teach a whole lesson, even though I only said 15 minutes was required. She had quizzes for everyone and a list of vocabulary for them to learn. I've learned that when you put most kids in an authority position they take it seriously, they like to be in control and have a successful outcome just like teachers do.
Everyday is a different challenge, but at the end of the day I measure my successes. If I didn't have success this means I'm not keeping on my toes and this is when they eat you alive!!!
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