Wow, it is already October!

We have almost completed our 6th week of school. I am always glad when October rolls around because by then most of the students are into the school rhythm and we are past learning all the routines that come with a new school year.

Here are my Grade Two students.

As always, I have enjoyed getting to know my new group of students. They have some excellent academic skills. It has been a while since I have taught second grade so it has been interesting to observe how strong they are in reading, writing and math. Most of these children attended Albanian College last year which means they are all fairly fluent in English. In the past I have always had at least 3 or 4 children who had no English in my class. Several of my current students are trilingual. Some of them speak Arabic or Russian. I have students who were born in Russia, Egypt, Kenya and of course, Albania. One of my Albanian students has lived in Ukraine for most of her life but because of the war, her family moved back to Albania from Kiev last spring. I have never had such an international class. I love the diversity! One more thing, my assistant’s name is Stefi. She is a 22 year old young woman who is just getting started with her career. I am enjoying getting to know her.

If we take a regular picture then we have to allow time for a silly picture too!

Here is an updated picture of the school. The addition on the right was completed in September, 2021.

You may remember from a previous post that the school building was originally built by the communists as a place where they could train their officers. The architecture of the building says communist style. Many of the older buildings in Tirana have this same box like, somewhat dreary look to them. Anyways, the new part of the school is for the Early Years (ages 3-5) Program and the Primary (grades1-5) Years Program. It is a nice addition to the school. Because of all the windows it can get really warm even though there is air conditioning. My classroom is on the third floor. In much of Europe, what Americans would call the third floor, Europeans call the second floor because they call the first floor “zero” or ground floor. Confusing at times but I am getting the hang of it.

Here are two of the other three grade two teachers. Nilda is from Albania and Rawand is originally from Lebanon but is now a Canadian. We make a good team and I am glad to get to work with them.
The children sang happy birthday to me in both English and Albanian. After they finished, one child raised his hand and asked if he could sing happy birthday to me in Russian. Loved it all!!!
We celebrated International Dot Day a couple weeks ago by listening to the the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. The book has a good message about “making your mark” which led to lots of good discussion.

This is what a week of teaching Grade Two at Albanian College includes:

  • Between 8:00 and 8:30 the children arrive at school and go directly to the canteen where they eat breakfast that is provided by the school.
  • The children have these special classes each week. Each special area class is 45 minutes long.
    • 4x/week Albanian Class; the children who are not native speakers attend a separate class so they can become more proficient in Albanian.
    • 2x/week Music
    • 2x/week Art
    • 2x/week P.E.
  • The children are given 25 minutes for lunch which is provided by the school.
  • There are three 20-25 minute recesses every day. That is one of my favorite parts of Albanian College. It is SO good for the kids to get outside often during the day.
  • The children go to their bus or to parent pick-up at 3:10.
  • Three days a week the children can attend an after school club if they are interested. The clubs dismiss at 4:00.
  • Each teacher has some type of duty everyday. I supervise for 25 minutes during lunch. That means I have a shortened lunch period each day but I am fine with it because then I have more planning time during the rest of the day.
  • There are weekly hour long staff meeting after school in addition to twice weekly grade level meetings during the school day.
  • Each teacher is required to teach a club after school until 4:00 one day a week. I teach the Sudoku Club. 🙂

Now you have been updated about school so far.

The second week of September Derek and his dad, Karl, came to visit us in Tirana. A family member of theirs was married in North Macedonia so they decided to come visit us before heading back to the States. Our families have been friends for more than 30 years. We loved hosting them for a few days!

We stayed overnight at Berat Castle which has been continuously lived in since 400 BC. We love the tranquility and beauty of staying at Kris Guesthouse inside the castle walls.

This is my favorite picture from our trip to Berat, Derek standing on one of the castle walls at sunset.

In 2021 Tirana hosted an International Mural Festival with over 30 artists visiting the city. I just adore coming across various murals as we walk around the city.

Love this message!
This is my favorite mural that I have seen so far. It is titled “A Mother’s Love”.

Well, that is my update for now. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. I really do enjoy sharing our experiences with you. My first school break is approaching so Randy and I are renting a car to take on a ferry from Albania to Bari, Italy. From there we will drive to the Amalfi Coast and then head south to spend a couple days in Sicily. Can’t wait! Randy heads back to the States at the end of the month to spend time deer hunting. I always dread his departure but then when he is gone I always end up handling it just fine. 🙂

21 thoughts on “Wow, it is already October!

  1. I’m always blown away by your experiences and your adventures. I love hearing about them and seeing your wonderful pictures. I look forward to your next post. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, I love hearing the updates! The photos of the class are great! I am impressed with your trilingual and bilingual students when I struggle to keep up with my own language sometimes!
    Interesting to see the new part of the school.
    How I would love to have recess multiple times a day in the US!! My students would have been able to focus so much better had we been able to get the wiggles out!! Oh the fresh air is so good for the brain!
    Well, enjoy your time in Italy! Cannot wait to see those pics.
    I’m in NY now and everyone is talking about hunting, I am sure Randy and Josh are getting the itch. Love to you both!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I miss Albania and ACT. Love the new building addition! We could have stayed awhile in Tirana ourselves! But, Emma needed another path, so here I am in Public school in New England! What a crazy ride this new life is. I am so glad things are going well at ACT! Love seeing/reading your blog posts!


    1. Hi Jessica, Sorry to be so slow to respond to your kind comment. I understand about needing to find another path for Emma. I enjoy reading your Facebook posts. It seems that all is going well with your family!


  4. Wonderful post Sarah! I aways enjoy each one that you write. I didn’t realize that you were teaching Second grade. Your class looks amazing! Enjoy your travel!


    1. Hi Cindy, Sorry to be so slow to respond to your kind comment. Teaching grade two is very different than what I was doing year ago. I am enjoying the contrast. I hope you are having a good year at Dudley!


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