Monday, January 10, 2011

First Day of School! First Day of School!

This is from Sunday, no time to take pictures Monday! Too crazy! 
This is the bridge connecting the elementary to the big gym. 

I was much too tired to write last night upon coming home and finally finished what I needed to at 11p and could go to bed...of course I am now WIDE AWAKE and its 3a. The time change AND me not usually being able to sleep when Im too excited about my job means I need to start taking tylenol pm...ugh.

Anyway, yesterday was such a lovely day but was the LONGEST day ever. I would even venture to say it exhausted me 10x more than traveling here did. The school day itself seemed to inch by as I had to go back and forth between my future class I was observing and assisting in for the day to help me get acquainted and HR paperwork, getting keys, internet set up, getting a lunch card...etc. It was very well organized when I was supposed to go do things, just a lot of running around for me. Then right after school we had a staff meeting, then I had to leave a little early out of the staff meeting and go run school errands with the secretary. I now have an empty Slovak bank account, cell phone chip in my iPhone that isn't working yet, Euros instead of US dollars, and a notarized power of attorney for the secretary to process paperwork for me here. As you can imagine, getting all of that done after a long day at a new job was pretty tiring. I was a yawning MACHINE and was having a hard time understanding people because I was so so tired. 

Thats when the adventure began...
We were finally finished with everything around 7p and ended up at Au Park- the big beautiful mall here which is like 10x nicer then anything I've seen in the states and has WAY SWEETER its soldes right now so everything's like 50-70% off...but thats another story. Au Park is apparently ACROSS TOWN from my flat and without my room mates I still have no idea how to use the bus system. I am catching on to how to get to work and the store, but unless you look up your route on the internet and know where to go...its kind of tough to figure out. Plus, the stops are all in Slovak which is Germanic and NOT a romance language so its really tough to even know how to pronounce and remember the stops....aka my little pocket notebook is now my life. My secretary had to go to a meeting, didn't know how to get to where I live, and I was just going to be stuck across town with a phone that wasn't working and no idea how to get home. Luckily she called around and got my roomies number, they told me exactly how to get home, her sister worked at the mall and was hanging out with us and guided me to the bus stop I needed and then I was on my way. Friends, if you ever doubted my travel skills prepare yourself:
-Took the bus all the way home to my flat with one walk and bus change...I had to be brave and ask if anyone spoke English at the stop and if they could guide me to the other stop...thank Jesus a nice girl did.
-Since I dont have keys into our apartment yet and my phone wasn't working to be able to call the roomies and let them know I was there, I managed to run up and sneak in behind a lady who was also getting off the bus and had keys into the building. 
-Did this all in the cold rain/snow WEARING HEELS.

But come now, are you even surprised? 

My room mates were so happy to see me when I got home and had dinner all ready, it was very sweet. But then while they watched CSI, I still had a bunch of stuff to do for work I tried to get done but was just so tired it wasn't happening. I would just stare at the computer screen and forget what I was doing. 

About My Class...
So, even though they call it kindergarten here in Slovakia, really my class is preschool. I have the 4 & 5 year olds who are all English language learners. Some are Slovak and some are German (some speak both!) and there is even one little Chinese boy in the 3's class. Some of the kids speak and understand more English then others, so it is a lot of hand motions, visuals, and repetition which Im actually used to from teaching Spanish speakers in the US, plus its part of my degree to be able to teach English language learners so its kind of my thing. The head of the 3s class is bilingual so she will come and assit in my class during certain times to help translate for the kids and myself. The kids are ABSOLUTELY PRECIOUS. You will all seriously DIE whenever I get a chance to snap some photos of them. Also, since I am not used to seeing children in cold weather attire...they come in all puffed up like marshmallows with their layers on and then it takes them like 30min to take it all off and its hilarious. Then the little girls just wear their stockings and a little sweater around the class, its hilarious. My friends were teasing me back home for wearing leggings with tops that don't cover my NOTHING on these little girls. And the boys change out of their boots and then wear socks with sandals around the classroom. Precious!!! My other favorite part of the day was that they get 2 school fed snacks a day, in the morning it was a roll with egg spread and a cup of tea and in the afternoon it was like that Jewish Hallah bread with butter and jam and more tea. One little boy ate like 3 pieces...they eat a lot of sweet things here apparently. Imagine little four year olds drinking tea?! I couldn't stop smiling all day! 

They pay for 50% of our lunch here and whatever else we use is just taken out of our paycheck, so I tried the lunch today and it was so good! It was bean soup and then a pasta with potatoes and a yummy sauce, plus fresh cole slaw. They have other little rolls or 2 other non vegetarian options of food, but they said they always offer something veg a day so I should be set. Its so nice having a home cooked style hot meal in the middle of the day, not what I am used to. I will try and take pictures of the food here...lots of potatoes in different forms (dumplings, pasta, roasted) and then with either meat or pasta and a yummy sauce on top. They also have a lot of pizza and soups and meats on the menus in restaurants. REALLY good though, I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. Although I already could use a burrito...

In a few hours I will get up and take on another day. I think I will actually take my kids and have them in my room alone today, I am in charge! I dont think the reality has even hit me yet...what I do is so second nature I just jump in and go forward without really stopping to soak it in that WHOA. I AM HEAD TEACHER. The day is really quite simple though...morning play time, circle time, snack, little lesson and craft, outside play, lunch, brush teeth and nap, play time, another little lesson and craft, play time until they go home. Seriously, thats it. And with only 8 kids in my class...oh the places we will go! I already looked up a bunch of songs for us to sing about getting in up...the weather...etc. And I am going to make some CD's with my music to play when the kids are playing or sleeping, and by my music I mean MY music because its my class and I can do what I want!! And because after all those preschool songs you start to lose it and need some adult songs before "the itsy bitsy spider" gets stuck in your head for the 50th time. And Im going to make us some good behavior charts...etc. 

I think...I job?!

Ok, Im going to try and go back to sleep a bit before tomorrow...can't wait for another day!

Love from Slovakia!!!


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