Throughout the summer, we were warned numerous times to be mindful that Moldovan schools operate a bit differently than American schools. That seemed a bit obvious to me- we’re in a completely different country, of course it’ll be a bit different. I think I underestimated a bit. Now, I’m not saying that the “American” way is right, and the “Moldovan” way is wrong, but they are certainly very, very different, and that CAN be confusing.
I think a large part of the frustration is that, because of the additional language barrier, I miss a lot of key things during school meetings and when talking with other teachers. Therefore, I have felt a bit like I never have a single clue what is going on around me. That said, I’m excited for the school year to really get rolling! The biggest difference I’ve noticed is in regards to the schedule. In the United States, a schedule might change a bit after school has started, but it’s usually figured out in advance and is more or less set. Here, the schedule is not at all set in stone, changes throughout the first month (sometimes very drastically), and we maybe have our schedule for the following day at the end of the current day. At my school, two new (to the school- they’re actually very experienced teachers that have come out of retirement and are from the next town over) teachers started halfway through this past week, so the schedule basically had to be done all over again.
This also means that, because I teach with two teachers, my schedule is a bit wacky at the moment. Currently, I am supposed to be in two classes at once more than one period a day. I’m sure this will all get ironed out eventually, though.
I observed one partner teacher this week but planned and taught with the other. I observed fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth grades and taught third and fourth. I am really hoping that the final schedule will allow me to continue to work with third and fourth, as I have really enjoyed it so far. It requires a lot more Romanian knowledge, but they are so excited to learn! I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be teaching ninth, but if I do, I think it will be a whole new experience for me! I’ve only taught up to sixth grade in the past, and seventh and eighth don’t seem that different, but ninth graders are a whole other story!
Learning how Moldovan schools work is definitely going to be a process, but I can’t wait to start working more with students and I’m sure we’ll get (more or less) there soon!