Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. … Probably more like a month. But I have begun to settle into a routine and all the things that were new and different when I first arrived have become the ins and outs of everyday life now.
The longer I go without posting an update, the harder it becomes. It would be like you having to describe the actions of your day in intimate detail. There are so many things each of us do that are common place, we sometimes don’t recognize these things to be different or unusual.
However, I will try my best to give a adequate picture of my average day in Ukraine.
Every weekday our cluster (group of five Peace Corps Volunteers living in the town of Kozelets) has 4 hours of Language training. These 4 hours are either in the morning or afternoon depending on what other things we have scheduled to do for that day. Our LCF’s (Language Cross-Cultural Fascilitator) name is Lena. She has an apartment here in Kozelets and that’s where we go for language class (or just about anything training related). At about midway through training there is LCF rotation in which an LCF from another cluster comes to teach us while our LCF goes to teach another cluster. So for last week and the next 2 weeks following our rotation LCF is Misha. He is the LCF for a cluster up in Chernihiv (about an hour north of here).
On top of our 20 hours of Language tutoring a week, we also have Technical sessions with a TCF (Technical Cross-Cultural Fascilitator). Her name is Luda. Our TCF’s do not rotate like the LCF’s. Luda is responsible for teaching us everything we need to know about the Ukrainian educational system, the schools, things to do, not to do and methodologies for Teaching English in Ukraine. She is the one who introduced us to the English teachers in the schools we are “practice teaching” at. My Cluster-mate Alison and I are teaching at the Gymnasium (which is the Ukrainian word for private school or accelerated learning school). My other three cluster-mates, Hieu, Sarah and Colleen are teaching at School #3. Unlike the US, Ukrainian schools have numbers instead of names. So, There are 3 secondary schools in Kozelets and 1 Gymnasium. Since the previous group of TESOL volunteers that stayed in Kozelets taught at schools 1 & 2 it was decided that our group teach at school 3 & the Gymnasium.
Then on top of our 20 hours of language tutoring and 5+ hours of Technical tutoring, we are also teaching at our designated schools. Alison and I teach 10th and 11th form on Mondays and 4th and 8th form on Wednesday. Each class is 45 mionutes long and I would estimate an average of 3-4 hours of planning time goes into each class. The amount of time spent planning for a class is slowly decreasing the more we get comfortable with teaching and know what to do and how to do it.
Then On top of the Language Tutoring, Technical Tutoring, Classroom teaching and lesson planning we are also responsible for organizing a community project in the end of November. This community project usually involves a few days of one week when we organize some after school activities for the students of both schools. Some groups have shown an English movie, some have done school fundraisers, some have done after school English Clubs. It’s up to our group to decide what to do and put the whole thing together. During these “English Days” in which we will be hosting these activities we will also be presenting our schools with a “gift” of sorts. This year ours is going to be Audio supplements that we will create to go along with the dialogues in their English Textbooks. Most schools can barely afford the text books, let alone the audio supplements to go with them. So this gift will allow the schools to have more English teaching resources.
Then on top of the 20 hours of language tutoring, technical tutoring, classroom teaching, lesson planning and community project, we are also individually responsible for our SDL (Self Directed Project). This project can be anything we want but should be a project that helps us to expand our use of Ukrainian Language and also be something that we are interested in doing. My SDL is going to be a video blog about the town of Kozelets and the neighboring town of Oster. In this video I will talk (in Ukrainian) about the history of the two towns, some interesting facts and also some specials sights or attractions in the area.
So that’s most of what’s currently sitting on my Ukrainian plate right now. Or, I suppose, that’s all the Ukrainian plates I currently have spinning at one time! Hopefully I can keep them going for another 6 weeks!
I’m not sure I did the greatest job of explaining what my life is like here in Ukraine, but hopefully you’ve got a little better idea. I would also recommend checking out the blog of my cluster-mate Alison Burch HERE. She does a much better job explaining, describing and putting things into words than I do.
Well that’s all for now. I’ll be posting more soon! I promise!