Some things I will never get over when it comes to teaching in Moldova are the open lessons and also the “masas” at the end of the open lessons. You see, here’s how it works. A few weeks before the assigned day, a teacher is notified that they will be holding an open lessons. What this means is teachers from all over the raion (basically the area… in my case, Riscani) will be coming to observe a lesson. This lesson is supposed to be done how it is done every day, however that’s not the case. When photographing teachers (surprisingly) for a project for Teacher’s Day, I noticed that when I walked in, most of them were sitting down giving their lessons (I know the feeling… I get tired, too). But when there are 20 teachers coming from around the district to observe, you can guarantee they aren’t going to sit down and they are going to do everything according to the books, from writing the objectives and the title of the lesson on the board to using a projector that is borrowed from another school because we don’t have one. The teacher plans way ahead for this lesson to make sure it’s perfect, and even goes over it with the students so they know what to expect and they are fully prepared, thus making the observers think as though those kids really do their homework every day and participate. Ha. Anyways, it’s quite a show because the teachers (and students) get all worked up over it (I don’t blame them). At the end of the lesson, the teachers stay and critique it, offering their advice from what they observed which they may or may not have really seen or paid much attention to it because they may or may not have been answering their cell phones during the class or chatting away with their neighbor. Then, once the critique is finished (often taking up the entire next class period which thus disrupts other classes because the teachers that skipped their lesson for the open lesson stay for the critique, thus leaving the kids free once again… to wreck havoc. Well once this is completed everyone goes to have a “masa” (a form of party) to celebrate the end of the open lesson and to thank the guests for coming. The table is filled with all types of food and alcoholic beverages.
Now, this can be a lot of fun, as it was in the case of today. But, see, here’s what happened. On Tuesday’s I teach the 2nd, 4th, and 6th periods. Because all of the primary teachers were at a seminar, all classes with the primary students were canceled… which was my 4th lesson. Then, just as the students for the 6th lesson arrived, the gym teacher (who was observed today) came to us and said the kids were free to go home because we were invited to the party, and we had to come… he wouldn’t take no for an answer. While the masa was nice and I enjoy socializing with the teachers (or, rather, listening to what they are saying), I would have liked to have been home after the 2nd lesson. After all, my host mom and brother killed the pig today and I could have been of much help.