Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oh, I Keep Forgetting

I'm sad to say that my brain is not a good diary. The moth that's living up there is leaving little holes. So, before I forget everything, I've got to blog it out.  No more excuses. A lot has happened in the merry month of March. The bare bones of what I've been doing can be seen in the outline below, but if it's meat you're looking for, read on. And don't worry--there are lots of pictures! 

International Writing Contest through Peace Corps
English club at School 16
St. Patrick's Day in Konstantinovka
6 hour school concert
Lecture on gender roles at the local Pedagogical University
A visit from Zap's finest
A visit to Zap Our Visa's into Place

International Writing Contest through Peace Corps
Logan was the oblast coordinator for a writing contest sponsored by the Peace Corps. I proctored and judged the competition at my school and some of my school level winners are being passed on to the next level, so I'm excited. I gave my classes one lesson on creative writing before they participated in the contest and they were some of the best lessons so far. All in all, the contest was a lot of fun, but some students had a lot of difficulty tapping into their creative sides. It's my goal to help them do this over the next two years.

English Club at School 16
Thursdays are my craziest days. I have six lessons in a row and they are filled with ups and downs, but that's what makes being a secondary school teacher fun, right? Anyway, it keeps me on my feet and I'm grateful for that. Sometimes, I'll be walking down the hall to my next class and I'll hear a few "Hello Miss Kerries" from students that I (sometimes) don't even recognize because I do not have classes with them. I only teach the linguistic-track students so I don't usually get the chance to speak with the students who are on a different track (like economics, science...etc). But, some of them are just as eager to talk and practice their English so I decided to start an English club, with the help of my counterpart. It's for older students, 9th grade and above, and I had my first club meeting a few weeks ago. It was wonderful. After such a long day, I ended up staying about two and a half hours more just talking and listening. They even played music for me and sang! I love Thursday suprises!

My goal for the English club is as follows:
to improve listening, speaking, and writing skills
to talk about topics that matter to students
to help students go outside their individual experiences and learn new things based on their pupils' interests and talents. 
to provide an online forum for their words and ideas

In short, I want them to go outside the box and be creative. I want us all to teach each other new things, to take their skills and share them with the class. Maybe we'll throw all our skills and talents into a hat and learn something new at each meeting. I'm still working out the goals in my head. Next week, we're talking about food and I'm going to bring in some chocolate chip cookies!!!

St. Patrick's Day in Konstantinovka
I've been told that Konstantinovka (константиновка) is the biggest village in all of Europe. Wikipedia did not tell me this (so I don't know if it's true or not) but the sky definitely feels bigger there. As we left our fellow Peace Corps Volunteer's house in the evening, the stars were shining and I remembered what it was like to see stars! Maybe I haven't been looking up enough lately. Anyway, my St. Patty's day was filled with peeling potatoes and carrots, making stew, drinking Guiness, hanging with good friends, and an Irish ditty on the ukulele while waiting for the bus to take us back to Melitopol.

I'm a Leprechaun!
St. Patty's Bunch
6 hour school concert
I sat and watched a 6 hour long event. Each class at school 16 presented on different culture topics while a panel of judges chose the winners. 6 hours. I didn't leave the assembly hall once. I said to myself, if the panel of judges can do it, so can I...and I'm still alive. Some of the older forms did presentations on Cyprus,  Japan, Australia...accompanied by dancing, singing, and powerpoint presentations.

Lecture on Gender Roles at the Pedagogical University
This was a really great, yet difficult day at a local University. When I first arrived in Ukraine, life here didn't seem that different, but just the history of Ukraine alone has paved a different path for its citizens and this has created complex roles that I try every day to understand. I know we have common threads that hold us together, but the differences are what define people as a culture. Things here are different here in Ukraine and I truly felt this when Cynden and I gave a lesson on gender roles, stereotypes, and breaking "out of the boxes" that "society" puts us in. It was two American go getter gals up against 50 Ukrainian women with different ideas of gender roles, different traditions, different histories. It was a challenge, and although we had our differences, the students liked the lecture and welcomed us back to give another in the not-so-distant future.
This is not at the Pedagogical University, but at School # 5, where Cynden had a leadership seminar.

A visit from Zap's finest
A weekend with good friends, pizza parties, Lenin statues, and talk about good ol' Melitopol honey and days to come.

We'll call her the Gorky guest who is supposed to be in charge of the playlist.
P-I-Z-Z-A...did I happen to say, "I want pizza?!"
A visit to Zap Our Visas into Place
Travelled to the Zap to apply for new Visas. I think everything is going smoothly with the whole process of getting new visas, thanks to my amazing regional manager, the Peace Corps, and my lovely counterpart.


  1. Yes I agree, you should blog more often. I enjoy seeing how you are doing.


    1. Bree!!! How are you?! Tell me about your life in my long lost states! Как жизнь?
      How is the job situation there? I hope all is well! :)