Tuesday, December 11, 2007

День Самоуправления

Today was a sort of holiday type thing at school. День самоуправления. This is another one of those cool Russian "Let's take two words and combine them to make one" things. The second word comes from the words for "Self" and "Administration" (Goodness, I feel like the father from My Big Fat Greek Wedding) Anyway, in English we'd probably just call it "Be a Teacher day" or something because that's what we were doing. When I found out about it, I really wanted to participate because I realized even though I don't really know enough Russian to teach a class, I know enough English to teach an english class. So I talked to some people and they got me all set up, and today I taught two classes. Both 9th grade.

My day started out with a mad sprint to the school because I was running late. Everytime we have a late start, the time throws me and I tend to run late. Today was not a good day to be late. Fortunately, I wasn't too horribly late, and it all worked out and no one was angry or anything.

The ninth graders have been talking in their english classes about shopping and famous stores in Britain. So my job was to talk about Shopping in America. I focused on several stores. Abercrombie and Fitch, Macy's, Wal-Mart, The Mall of America, and a Giant Eagle Grocery store. I taught in a very not Russian style because I don't know how to teach Russian style. Though I did incorperate some russian things i.e. "Write this down." But I tried to get the kids to interact with me. It was very interesting.

I told the first group I had one rule (The second group I added another) But I basically have one rule and that is when I ask a question, answer it because then I know you're not sleeping and at least pretending to pay attention. My other rule is usually Don't talk while I'm talking.

Anyway, since I didn't really know what they were talking about I asked "What have you been talking about?" It took some tooth pulling but I finally got the groups to answer. The first group told me "shopping" and when I asked if in England and what stores they gave me some answers. When I asked the second group they finally answered shopping and I go "In Britain? Or what?" And this girl goes "It's on page two hundred and..." And I'm like "I don't have a book. That's why I asked." And she goes "oh." I found it rather amusing. The second group was also the one where when I asked if there were any questions after the presentation this girl goes "What are famous stores in america?" And I'm standing there thinking "Devushka, where have you been for the last twenty minutes?"

I was worried that my presentation would be too short as it was only five or six slides long, but after the introductions and speaking slowly, it was just right for the forty minute period. At the end of my presentation, I made up a slide with some little quiz questions on it, to see who was paying attention. I gave out some Ohio state quarters as prizes which the kids thought were really cool. Though I didn't bring enough. The lesson was just long enough in the sense that we didn't get through all the questions on my last slide before the bell rang. Excellent.

After my two teaching periods, I went to my classes. We only had a total of four lessons today. The last two were Physics and Astronomy. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but we were taking tests in both (Somehow I missed the memo) and as I'm always a bit fried after I do a presentation I really really didn't feel like taking the physics test. The kid who was teaching got after me, and so I pretended to work, and then stopped, and then the real teacher got after me, so I pretened to work some more. I ended up translating one question on the Physics test. When I finally understood what it said it was something like "What is the historical significance of " and then some guy's name. I had no idea who the guy was or was even aware that we'd studied them (Just because I take notes in class doesn't mean I always understand them) so I wrote something like "I have no idea who this guy is, but I imagine that his historical significance is that he did or discovered something important to physics." Then the bell rang and they took the test sheet away and so I didn't get to any other questions.

On the Astronomy test I answered two questions. One was "Why can't you find the position of planets on a star chart." Once again I had no idea so I was like "You can't find the position of planets on a star chart because planets move and also because it's a star chart, not a planet chart" heh heh heh, sometimes I love being an exchange student.

After school, Nina and I had made plans to go to the National Museum. First though we decided to hit a cafe, Margarita's. There we dined on pizza, Chai, and Tiramasu and talked. Finally, Nina was like "are we going to go to the museum?" oh. yeah. Right. So off we went. Except today is tuesday. Apparently Tuesdays are выходные days at the Museum. i.e. It's closed. So we walked across ploshad Lenina and admired the New Year's tree because it now has lights (For those of you who've looked at my flickr recently, you can see the tree, I'll be taking more pictures of the tree with the lights in the next couple of days.) then we waited for my bus at the bus stop until Nina's mom randomly showed up and offered to give me a ride home. So they dropped me off, and that was my day. Despite the rough start, I think it was a good one. I'm really enjoying myself right now! Life is awesome!

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