Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tuesday I met with the principal to discuss Intensive English. A lot of work, and we had barely touched on the curriculum (the point of the meeting) when an hour was over. At this point, I heard Sophia coming crying into the building. She had a headache, she said. The principal said it was fine if I go home. We had a Meet-the-Teachers BBQ that night, and the teachers were allowed to take a break in the afternoon before the BBQ. So no problem if I had to go home with Sophia.

I asked and he was able to arrange for the driver to take us home, which was nice. The Kazakh accountant was in the car with us. She's an older woman and very much a babushka (Russian for grandma, but pretty much describes most older Kazakh women--just very caring and nurturing when it comes to young children and young adults.) She fretted over Sophia and provided a plastic bag for Sophia to throw up in, although luckily Sophia never did.

At home, I checked her temperature--over 100. Since I usually get temperatures around 86 or something unreasonably low, I had to wonder--was this accurate? Was it possibly much higher? I tried another thermometer and also got over 100. Okay, so she had a fever.

I called the principal and he was understanding that I would miss the BBQ.

The next morning Sophia didn't have a temperature so we went into school. One more day to get ready and then school would start! I have two aides, but I wasn't sure what to have them do. I'm horrible at telling others what to do, and I wasn't too sure what I'd be doing anyways. They were helpful Tuesday, though. I left a note of things that I wanted to get done--and one item was "clean and organize room" and they did a good job. What a relief that something could get done in my absence. To come back to a clean, organized room, to know that it wasn't a mess when the parents were there, that was nice.

The other elementary teachers and I decided that I wouldn't teach Intensive English the first two days. I would let the children get used to their classes, the teachers do their introductory things--introduce people, tour the school, introduce and practice rules and routines. I would wander, meet the classes, and talk to the students. Also, I would help with testing.

The school requires that all elementary students are given a DRA reading assessment at the beginning of the year (and also later in the year, I think). Plus the younger kids get a test on ABCs and phonemic awareness. Good tests, but these take time. About half an hour to do one DRA test on one kid.

Luckily, these are the exact same test that I spent endless hours in training for back in Laurens, and I have 4 years experience of administering these tests to children. The exact same tests--the exact same books that we'd used. So I volunteered to spend my first few days helping the other teachers test their kids. It was pretty quickly decided that I'd do all kids who were being considered for Intensive English.

School tomorrow!

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