Life Lately 6-19-16

Journaling and playing with one of kittens
Journaling and playing with one of our kittens

This week has been a very busy, full week.  I’ve had language and technical classes  almost every day, I’ve helped my host family prepare for my host cousin’s wedding, I went to Chisinau for a hub site day, I attended my first Moldovan wedding, and I visited a few Moldovan monasteries!

Cute kittens at our house!

It was overall a very good week, but it was also a very exhausting week!  This week in language classes we learned a bunch of new verbs and how to conjugate them, as well as the words for a large number of fruits, vegetables, and other foods and drinks.  My language instructor, Galina, used a total body response method to teach us the fruits and veggies.  For this, we used motions and didn’t speak at all for at least the first 30 minutes of class.  First, Galina put up pictures of each of the fruits and vegetables on the board, repeating each word several times as she did so.  We then each had to go up to the board to select certain ones.  Then she would say different words and we had to show her and the other students the pictures.  We continue to practice in similar ways before we were shown the written words and worked on pronunciation.  This technique was very effective.  We learned over 20 fruits and vegetables, and I can still remember them with little additional practice.  We used a shorter version of the technique to learn an additional 25 food words the following day.  We also learned how to ask how much something costs and request a certain amount of [whatever] at the market as well as how to say “I like…” and “I don’t like…”.

We also had technical trainings on:

  • The English curriculum in Moldova
  • English textbooks and Long Term Plans (essentially the scope and sequence of what we will be teaching, which each teacher has to submit at the beginning of each school year- which lessons from the textbook will be taught each day of the school year)
  • 4MAT Lesson Plans: this is the format we will use for lesson plans.  It is very similar to the lesson plan format Elmira College used, which will be helpful, although each section has a name that is different from what I am used to.
  • How to teach vocabulary
  • How to incorporate reading into lesson plans
  • Critical Thinking: as Peace Corps volunteers, we are expected to really push our students (and partner teachers) to think critically.  Critical thinking isn’t really a thing here, because during Soviet times the population wasn’t supposed to question anything.
  • Beginning Writing: even if we are teaching upper-level classes, most students are beginning writers of English.  This session was excellent and was led by two current volunteers, one of whom was a high school English teacher for 15 years prior to the Peace Corps, and the other is a writer.
  • Dialogues: How to use dialogues in your classroom and teaching.
Cleaning in preparation for the wedding!
Cleaning in preparation for the wedding!

Outside of class, I spent much of my week helping my host family with wedding prep.  I will post separately about the wedding, as I have a lot to share!  The wedding was on Friday, so I spent Thursday helping clean and blowing up balloons with my host brother for decorations.

Taste-testing wedding food before the wedding!  These were like crepes stuffed with brinza, which is a sweet sheep cheese (that I don't like very much!).
Taste-testing wedding food before the wedding! These were like crepes stuffed with brinza, which is a sweet sheep cheese (that I don’t like very much!).

I left the house at 10 AM on Friday morning for the wedding, and didn’t return back to the house until 5 AM on Saturday morning after the wedding had ended!  I had language class on Saturday morning at 8:30, so I caught less than 2 hours of sleep before heading to class.

Some fellow trainees outside one of the monasteries we visited.
Some fellow trainees outside one of the monasteries we visited.

The Peace Corps staff then took us to visit several Moldovan monasteries (which will also be a separate post!).  Although I was exhausted, I’m really glad I went- the monasteries were beautiful and so peaceful.  After visiting the monasteries, they had arranged for us to go into the forest where we had a Moldovan BBQ.  The food was FANTASTIC and it was nice to be outside in nature.  When I got back, I ate dinner, then took a 4 hour nap.  I woke up and did some homework and skyped with my grandparents briefly before eventually going back to bed.  A busy, full, and culture-filled week!