Remember how I was pretty much freaking out about the cold- considering it was in the 30's in September? That was Mother Nature playing a trick on us because that is now far from the case. Looking at the 5-day forecast ahead of us, the high is between 63º and 71º, and the low is between 39º and 51º. This is much more like fall... and I'm so not complaining! The unfortunate part about this now normal weather is the leaves changed so quickly it was like I blinked and they were gone. Fortunately enough, though, no leaves means you can see a lot more of Moldova because the trees aren't hiding the villages. It's like I'm in a while new country- only, I'm not.
Peace Corps M25 English Education Volunteers (aka everyone who came to Moldova with me and is an English Teacher) had training all last week in Chisinau. I am pretty sure I can speak for all of us when I say we weren't looking forward to this. PST (summer training) was exhausting and at times it felt like it wasn't necessary... and this was our first break from school since it started on September 1st and we had to do it all over again... for the entire break. Not. Cool. ... until we actually started the sessions.
We had language classes the first day from 9-5 and then a half day on Tuesday. After that it was "teacher training" from 8:30-5 until Friday. I wish we had more language training (yea, I should probably find a tutor) but Peace Corps has a certain amount of training we have to go through every year (which also prevented my from going to my host niece's baptism -from Razeni- on Friday. While I'm still upset that I had to miss that, I also understand the policy.).
But once the "teacher training" started I was so glad I was there. Everyone shared experiences they've had so far, challenges, successes, and ideas for change. They reminded me again why I'm here and what I should be doing... because, let's be honest here, I have been questioning that a lot...
... but now I'm not questioning it anymore. Just saying, "I'm doing it for them... I'm doing it for them..." won't make much of a difference until I begin to actually do it for them. My activities in the classroom weren't getting any better and neither was my attitude. Yes, I was being lazy, but it was more than that because my head really wasn't in the game. But after being at the training and listening to everyone I've become motivated to get back in the classroom and take things to a whole different level. It's difficult teaching to 10th and 11th graders that have a couple students at that level (and above) and the rest would have difficulties with the second grade book. But by sharing challenges and successes from others, I now have so many great ideas of how to help everyone learn (ie creating different versions of the text in the textbook, more group work so they can help each other, and more activities). Now I can't wait to go back to school, have a meeting with my partners about what we talked about at training and get started!!
... but then I got a message telling me no school next week. Yay! But the desire to get back into the classroom and get things rolling is SO high! They are still doing the repairs on the school and so it is a mess right now, which is why school is cancelled. But instead of sitting around and planning and making visuals, I'm going to do that- and go visit other sites. Older volunteers are always telling us to come and observe them working with their partner teachers, but that's pretty hard to do without taking time away from school since we all have the same vacations. So I've packed up my things and I'm ready to start traveling next week to observe some other classes and get even more ideas, and see everything we learned last week as it is already working.
... but then I got home to Varatic yesterday at 3:30pm (after being on a bus all day from Chisinau) and told my host parents I'd be getting on the 5pm bus to head to Pelinia, and then be on the road again all next week. While I expected an, "ok, sure, do what you want" response, I was completely surprised to have the opposite. From both of my host parents. My host dad was the only one home when I first got there and his attitude for me leaving shocked me. He was so nice and friendly and was upset I was leaving because he wanted to talk about what I did/learned in the week I was gone. When NMG came in (just a couple minutes before I was needing to walk out the door), she was equally sad. She'd made chicken noodle soup and sarmale (probably my two favorite dishes of hers) and she, too, was looking forward to a discussion. I tried to make it positive by telling them that now we'll have two full weeks to catch up on!
So, as you can see, fall has brought so many changes to my life here in Moldova. With winter just around the corner (even though it seems so far away with this weather!!!), I was in need of something to give me a spark of motivation. And thankfully I found it!