Boy oh boy oh boy was today a rough start. I think it actually began yesterday. It was the first time in a week that I was absolutely dreading going to school the next day (aka today). I tried taking a walk hoping that by getting outside and getting some fresh air and some thinking time without the distraction of music or technology would be of some assistance. But unfortunately it didn’t quite give me the affect that I was expecting. So many thoughts were going through my head and I had trouble falling asleep. When I woke up I was hoping to be back to myself again… but that wasn’t the case. As they say in Moldova, I was fără dispoziție which literally means “without disposition” and in American English means “emotionless”. Yoga didn’t help, and neither did the personal pep talks (which I felt kind of awkward doing, but I figured I might as well try everything I could). Finally I looked through a book of positive quotations that was given to me by another PCV when I was struggling and I found one just as I was about to walk out the door:
There are seeds of self-destruction in all of us that will bear only unhappiness if allowed to grow. – Dorothea Brande
I figured it was pretty relevant considering it is officially (in Moldova and the rest of the world) spring (yay!). So the entire way to school I repeated that to myself because, after all, I am the only one who can control my thoughts and my actions… so I was trying to not let that unknown seed of self-destruction bring me down. By the time I got to school I was feeling a little better especially because I knew it was starting with the 10th grade and ending with the 9th… my two favorites.
But then I got to school and realized it was test day for the 10th grade. All morning all I’d wanted to do was cry (the reason is still unknown) and then I arrive and I have to give a test to the class that I was hoping was going to start the unwanted day off right. Now, a little bit of background on why this isn’t such a great thing. I. hate. test day. The ironic thing about it is that I’m not the one taking the test, but I still hate it. The students don’t study nor do they actually know the information (no matter how hard we try to teach it), and I don’t think it is ethical to give them the answers. On any regular day I can help the kids out… give them encouragement, try to get the usually silent ones to talk, and help as much as possible. But not on test day. They’re on their own. And I must admit… I am kind of a stickler when it comes to copying. I just won’t have it. I know I’m only here two years but it is important they learn to do the work on their own, you know? So if I see people copying out of their notebooks or using the book or a dictionary, I take it. If I see them copying from a neighbor, I will take their test for 5 minutes. This would be fine in my own class, but my partner teachers don’t exactly agree with this and they get irritated with me, but it is something I feel strongly about. So I dread having to be a you-know-what to the kids, and I dread the disagreement with my partners. I just hate test day. Did I say that yet?
Because I dislike test day so much and I don’t want to deal with the grades, I let my partner handle all of the test writing. Because she doesn’t know how to use a computer, she writes everything on the board. I noticed a spelling mistake, so I corrected it. Then during the test the students asked a question about one of the questions saying it didn’t make sense. We were both looking at it and I thought I’d finally figured out the problem. I added a verb that I thought was missing in the sentence and she got so mad at me, showed me from where in the book she got the question, and told me they were supposed to know where to put the verb. Because I wasn’t exactly standing on both of my feet I decided it was best if I just left the room and let her handle the rest.
I called a friend, and I cried.
I still don’t know what exactly came over me today. There wasn’t one day last week I was seriously dreading going to school lately I’ve been really good about talking myself out of those silly situations I put in my head. My friend helped me calm down a bit, but I still wasn’t ready to go back in the room. So I went to find the school nurse, who for some reason I feel like I can confide in. All I wanted was a hug. (It’s the little things in life). Thankfully she was there just as I walked down the stairs and she took me straight to her office so we could talk. I was still clueless as to where all of this was coming from but thankfully she was there to talk to me regardless. I didn’t have the next lesson so that gave us another hour to talk.
She eventually calmed me down and I feel so much better. It was nice just to talk… and she got my mind distracted which was what I was needing. So, I was able to go back to my next class where I taught the whole lesson by myself. Then we had a break and I went on a walk to get some tea and just to get out of the school for a bit. I spoke with the woman who works at the small shop who I believe is right around my age. She came to our village from a big rayon because she has family here and there was work, which I find kind of ironic because the nurse told me that of the approximately 2000 people that live here, 600 are children, and the majority of the remaining are old… and those that aren’t old and are not receiving their pensions are without jobs because there are only 200 jobs in our village. Eek!! But she gave me a lot of insight on how the school system works because she was a teacher for a year before she decided she couldn’t do it anymore. She said in the big cities the students are even more misbehaved than the students here (although they really aren’t bad here for the most part). She also gave me some insight as to how the tutoring system works: when students go for tutoring, they usually just do their homework assignment. They usually don’t get extra problems to do. Thus, they are paying to have their homework done and for their grades (which I already knew, but not quite to that extent). It was nice to talk to someone my age that doesn’t have kids and because the store is right across the street I know I can go there on breaks and relax and talk.
Before I knew it, it was time to go back to teach another lesson, this time with the 9th form. My partner got really mad at me again when I corrected an answer that was given and wanted it to be expanded upon. Apparently we both woke up on the wrong side of the bed and today just wasn’t our day. I told the students I was going on a walk and if they wanted to join me I would love the company. While I usually like to go on walks by myself, after a rather stressful day I was feeling the need for some company. Three girls came along.
I learned the reason for the old part of the village being destroyed by the river rising (can you see the outlines with the stones in these photos? These used to be houses). Varatic is very close to the Romanian border, and the border is a river which feeds in to the river in our village. Some 30 or so years ago a bridge was built over the river to connect Romania and Moldova, and when this bridge was built, the course of the river changed and the level of the water rose. I’m not sure how quickly this happened, but all of that part of the village was eventually covered in water, which explains why most of the houses in our village are not as old as in other villages.
We also laid in the grass and enjoyed watching the clouds as they passed by. Many Moldovan students do not have a very imaginative mind and they weren’t afraid to tell me that… so unfortunately our imaginary pictures in the clouds game didn’t last very long. But it was fun while it lasted and I hope to do it again soon (just next time I hope not to lose my glasses).
So now the sun is setting. It’s almost 7pm and I am hoping the clouds will stay sparse enough so I can see that huge moon that everyone keeps talking about. If I do, I will take pictures… but did you really expect any less?