08 February 2013

lately, classroom thoughts

Hello, from my little classroom!

I just finished my daily lessons and am waiting for Ben to complete one more (and listening to this awesome playlist). I am happy to report that this week was much easier than the last two. I feel like I can breathe again. Put on makeup. Enjoy music. Eat food. Hold a conversation. Oh, the relief I am feeling after two very, very intense weeks... I don't have words. 

I very much enjoyed teaching this week. The class that was giving me some trouble (8-12 y.os) have calmed down considerably (not exactly sure why--my wonderful, but sort of intimidating administrator Margarita told me she'd talk to some of the troublemakers-- I'm not sure what she said, but they have been angels) which has just made everything better. They respond really well to the lessons and then we're able to play games and goof around a bit. 

I also have another class of 14 year-olds who are all so awkward. Just going through that phase, but they're all wonderful kids and have never given me any trouble which has been nice especially when the little ones were all over the place. Anyway, I've been trying to find ways to make my pre-teens less angsty and it's actually been working! We've started having a lot more relaxed conversations (which does wonders for their English and conversational skills) and watching American films and having discussions. They've also been helping me with my Russian which is awesome because I get to casually surprise Ben with my new knowledge on our way home. 

I feel a lot more confident in my lesson planning and I'm excited to keep going down this path. I've been able to work in games and make-up activities and incorporate them into my lesson plans pretty seamlessly so far--I hope it stays that way! I love the structure of teaching and the chance to be creative. The only thing I'm not too fond of is the administrative aspects of my job (there are a lot of formalities and office stuff), but that's to be expected from me. 

I am feeling more and more confident walking around on my own in our neighborhood. I very much enjoy living in cities and have always felt confident about my safety (always aware of my surroundings- thanks mom!), but it's really hard not being able to ask anyone anything or answer any questions. It puts me in a very vulnerable place that I'm working hard to change. 

I wrote "darling, turn towards me" on our hallway mirror after I read this awesome blog entry from Bekah's blog. I find Bekah's blog to be such an inspiration to young couples as she takes her relationship, and relationships in general, so seriously. That's a rare commodity you'll find these days in a twenty-something and I'm glad I've gotten the chance to know her through her blog. 

Anyway, B and I both saw moving to Moscow as a chance to start over in ourselves and our relationship with each other and begin a new chapter in our lives. We both had a few things we wanted to change and it's been a challenge, a real challenge, especially with the added amounts of stress because of work and moving and my lack of Russian. But after the storm began to settle, we were able to turn back to the problem areas in ourselves and begin to work on them. 

My number one was thinking about other people more, especially B. I've been feeling pretty guilty for awhile that I never cook, so I decided to figure it out. The other night my lesson was cancelled and B had his until 10:30. So what'd I do? Made a shitty dinner. But a dinner nonetheless! And two nights later when my student cancelled again (the flu...) I made dinner again! And this time it wasn't so bad! And B was so happy. Such a simple thing made so much of a difference. The next morning I woke up and B had written sweet things on all the mirrors. I do hope this becomes a "thing" and that we can continue with little acts of love. 

Russians love to give flowers-there are 24 hour flower shops on every corner. Ben brought me home this rose a week ago on a day when I really needed a rose. I love it.

Sigh. So that's all from me for this week. Our friend "booked" us a table at a shwanky Moscow club for tomorrow night, so I'm excited about that. I bought my first dress here in Russia (I got paid today--and it was wicked cheap!) so I'll test drive it tomorrow. I still feel awkward around the Russian girls because they wear heels and fur coats and I have a puffy jacket and snow boots. Oh well. Maybe I'll get crazy and wear lipstick and eyeliner.


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