|Our street 4 days after the last snow.|
I now actually enjoy the crisp winter weather. Hearing the crunch of my boots on the snow’s surface is reassuring. With that crunch comes traction and less of a chance to slip although it still may happen. Now as I walk along, the crunchy sound adds another dimension to the already brisk morning air on my face, and the brightness in my eyes from the snow’s reflection. It is unbelievably quiet and peaceful this morning. The young children in my neighborhood have already reached their school a few blocks ahead. Older students who attend my college get the day off again today so are probably still buried in their heavy bedding enjoying extra sleep and warmth. But teachers and staff must report to my college today. If teachers do not go tol, they are not paid, and there is always planning and preparation for classes which can be done whether students are present or not.
|Judy leaving for school on a snowy, January morning.|
I am a Peace Corps volunteer and not paid, although many Armenians have a difficult time understanding this concept. I am going to my college today to do lesson planning with my team teacher as well as to merely “show up” and continue my pursuit of being a more familiar and legitimate part of the college’s faculty and staff. It is difficult to describe the feeling of being an outsider yet an accepted part of the organization at the same time. This is my challenge as a volunteer teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL). My college strives to provide a technical education as well as to include courses such as English, Russian, economics, physics and other subjects to enhance a student’s overall education. Many students are poorly motivated to study a difficult foreign language which they must take and did not choose. The students want to learn to cook, to sew, to repair cars, to work in the tourism industry, for instance. Any attempt to explain why learning a second and sometimes, third language might be beneficial in the job market often falls on deaf ears. But it is my aim to do just that and to continue to try and add something to the educational process by interacting with students as a native speaker of English. I want to help the students with communication at all levels and to make the learning of English more appealing through new ideas and teaching techniques. All of this takes planning and coordination with my team teacher who also has goals she must reach both to satisfy the Armenian Education Ministry’s expectations, those of the students and herself.
|Teachers/friends at Judy's school|