Moldova: Day 51
As July comes to an end, we have had a pretty intense two weeks. It will stay intense for the next two weeks, and then we will swear in as official volunteers. Currently, we are trainees. Anyway, last week was stressful because we had three projects due. We were required to build a lesson plan with another volunteer in the group, make a video about our program, and take our language proficiency exam. We were constantly reminded of how important this exam was and how we must do well, only to be told immediately that we should not worry about. Well, we did worry about it, and it was very stressful. If you don’t do well on your language proficiency exam, you have to get extra tutoring while you are at site. Everyone gets reimbursed for four hours of tutoring, but people who get below a certain level get six hours reimbursed. Looking back, that doesn’t sound so bad, but I think we were all wanting to do well to show how hard we had worked. Anyway, we got our results Wednesday. I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but I was the same as everyone else in the group. I also think my testing was unfair because she did not cover the topics we had been reviewing and were told would be on the test. She did this to the other people she tested also. We were asked a lot of complicated, critical thinking questions while other testers asked about families, houses, food, and clothes. Tim did very well, and was on a level only a few other people in the group got. He was happy, although he felt he could have been challenged more. Maybe he should have had my tester! We also had to make a video about the English Education Program in Moldova. Maybe some of you are wondering what I’m actually doing here. Well, here’s the video we made to explain to the volunteers in the other program. It’s pretty cheesy, but my friend Emily and I wrote the script. Tim did the filming and the directing, and our friend Kim did the editing. The other EE volunteers were actors. The other project we had was that we had to write a lesson plan that fits PC’s standards and teach it with other EE volunteers acting as students. This was a lot of work because the EE program has very specific requirements for each and every lesson plan. All lessons must integrate grammar, text, and vocabulary with information, practice, and application. All homework assignments must have these aspects too, and you have to explain your activities and methodologies. It takes a long time to write it out because you have to articulate what you already know. I thought it was stressful to do this for one lesson, but then I had to write two lessons a night for practice school. This week was even more difficult than the week before last. In the mornings, we had language class. Then we taught two lessons to real kids that volunteered to come to practice school. Then we immediately started planning for the next day’s lesson, writing the lesson plans, and making materials. I enjoyed teaching a lot, but I was so tired! There wasn’t a night in the past week where I went to bed before 1:00. I tried to keep my regular routine of running, but I just couldn’t make myself get up at 5:30 after those long nights. So I ran a lot in the afternoons, and Tim even joined me a few times. The actual practice school was pretty great, and my students were awesome. I originally started with five, but ended up with three at the end. Surprise, 8th graders don’t want to come to school to learn a difficult subject in the summer. Anyway, my kids that did come were so bright and fun to be around. We had a good time, and we learned a lot. I like being a fun teacher, but that also means making a lot of materials and preparing a lot at night. While I’m teaching, there is an experienced Moldovan teacher observing me. We plan the lessons together, and then she tells me what I did wrong or what I did right at the end. It works well, and she’s really nice. It has been really productive. Next week, my partner teacher from my school will come and we will team teach practice school. So it will be another week of late nights, but I got to relax a little Saturday. Of course, we had language class. But after that Tim, Emily, and I took the rutiera (basically a public full-size van) into Chisinau. We ate at McDonalds, hung out at the PC office, and picked up our internet at the Orange store. We got a USB stick that offers 3G wireless anywhere we can get Orange service. Because it’s like the Verizon of Moldova, that’s pretty much anywhere. So we’ll have a lot more internet access now. Anyway, we had a pretty good time running errands together, aside from not knowing the public transportation system and walking way more than we needed to. Well, when we got home I went for a run, and afterward Emily and Anita came over. We made brownies and popcorn and watched Quantum Leap (which we all love, by the way. Yeah, we’re that cool). It was a really fun night, and we get to relax a little today (aside from making materials and doing laundry). Oh, I wanted to say thank you to all the people who have sent packages. They have really been a lifeline to the things we enjoy at home, and we are so grateful. Thanks Tom and Susie for all the peanut butter and snacks. Thanks Grammy and Grampie for the snacks and the gifts for our host family. They really love them, and they refuse to use them. They will only display them. Thank you for the pictures. I actually cried looking at them, and now they are on my noptiera (night stand). And thank you to Laverne for your gift to me included with Grammy and Grampie’s package. I love to bake here, and the hot pad and apron are really helpful. Can you believe in a week and a half we will have been here two months? Sometimes it drags on, but sometimes it flies by. I can’t wait to get settled in at our site and start teaching in September.
By the way, some people went to a party on Sunday and are really sick. Fortunately, we wanted to relax and we did not go. We are not sick, and we feel pretty good. I think this is a combination of not partying as much as other people, exercising to take care of ourselves, and eating as well as we can. No one is deathly ill, but when you have to vomit in an outhouse with only a hole, I think death would be a welcome change. Please pray for them.