My second year of international teaching started on September 3rd with a precious group of 10 grade one children. I was scheduled to have 16 children but as happened last year, they did not all show up. This discrepancy seems to happen primarily in grade one. There is more consistency in the higher grades between the expected number of children and the actual number of children that show up on the first day of school. Anyways, here are my grade one students this year:
Aren’t they adorable?!?! This year I only have two non-English speakers. Most of the rest of the students have been at Albanian College for up to 3 years, ever since they were three years old. Since many of them have been at the school for so long they have had plenty of time to become fairly proficient in English.
Here, the children and I are discussing how to make a chart to show when the classroom birthdays will be celebrated. This would be a difference between how I teach in the States versus using an inquiry approach that is encouraged at ACT. In the USA I would have the birthdays already posted before school started using some type of visual that I purchased from a teacher supply website. Here the chart is made by the children using their ideas of how to note when they have birthdays. I love this way of giving the kids so much ownership over how the classroom looks and is run.
My birthday was during the second week of school so here are the kids singing happy birthday to me in Albanian.
Over the past summer all of our administration resigned and one was fired. 😦 I found out through various emails over the course of the summer. Needless to say, the whole thing was depressing. I had such a good year last year and was looking forward to one more year of teaching and living abroad. Randy and I had many discussions in July and early August as to whether I wanted to return to Albanian College. The deciding factor was that I have grown to love Albania, my students, their parents and the Albanian Assistants I work with. I wanted to try to give it one more year and hopefully have at least a small positive impact on the lives of the people I have met here. Another reason I wanted to return is that I love international teaching and the way it stretches me to think about my teaching in new ways. We decided we would return to Tirana and if I was miserable in my teaching position we would simply come home to Fairport.
I am happy to report that so far school has gone well. We have an entirely new administration who are working hard to make the best of a difficult situation. As you know from previous posts, I have become friends with many of the other foreign teachers since living here so that helps with the transitions. All the teachers have been very supportive of one another which has gotten school off to a good start. Glad to be here for another year.
Next weekend 17 of the teachers (including me) will be attending all day trainings on Saturday and Sunday (a total of 15 hours). The training is being given by a trainer from the International Baccalaureate community who is flying in. Although I am looking forward to receiving the training, I am not looking forward to teaching for 5 days, training all weekend and then teaching for 5 more days. Ugh!!!!!