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September 28th 2014
Published: September 28th 2014
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Hello everyone! So sorry that we have been out of contact. Everything is fine. It's just that we are feeling overwhelmed with our teaching responsibilities. However, we are finally coming up for air. And we see a light of our first school break coming at the beginning of November. We are planning to go to Krakow, Poland.

We wanted to provide a few updates.

While life is different here, it also seems very much the same as back home. Especially during the first part of a school year where you work so hard to establish a classroom environment where everyone is working together. Kevin and I are also learning the culture and responsibilities of a small school that is part of a larger, rigorous entity. The requirements and expectations are high here and we are doing our best to meet the challenge. We are learning a whole new curriculum, but there are many similarities to the U.S. system. We submit detailed weekly lesson plans on Monday morning. We created annual curriculum maps for ourselves and we set annual goals for our class in each subject area. We are to keep a portfolio of our year as a teacher, documenting each responsibility we have. We submit an article for the weekly newsletter every third week. We host an after-school healthy eating club on Tuesdays. We have each joined a school committee to help improve the school and meet accreditation goals.

That said, we are enjoying life and working together. We live across the street from the school so Kevin doesn't have her hour long commute each way to work - very nice! We enjoy popping in on each other during breaks in the day. I especially like to watch Kevin interacting with the 4 year-olds. She is so good with them. I like to listen to her read aloud to them and watch how they follow along, hanging on each word. We get to work together in our after-school club once a week where Kevin and I teach nutrition lessons to about 15 students each Tuesday.

Kevin has 11 students and I have 7. Small numbers, but similar behaviors to those I had to deal with in Kooskia. The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence. We have been teaching for one month and Kevin has some good stories to tell already. Day two, her Polish student that can't speak English told her it was his birthday so we all sang happy birthday and gave him a birthday crown. After school Kevin talked to his Mother and she said it wasn't his birthday. We had a good laugh. A week ago her American student, a girl, told her she had a booger stuck in her teeth and she wanted Kevin to get it out (NO WAY). This week three of her boys, two who don't speak English, did not line up after she blew the whistle at recess. Instead, the three boys ran ahead and little Alex locked her out of the classroom. No recess for them the next day! Always something.

We do miss our friends and family back home, but we are managing just fine here. We live upstairs from the middle/high school. There are five apartments, all occupied by teachers. We enjoy interacting with these new friends. It feels a little like I imagine a college dorm might feel. We have weekend wine/beer/vodka get-togethers. We borrow ingredients and share food that we make. We go shopping at the market together. We share our teacher stories together. Kevin doesn't get nearly so annoyed with my teacher talk conversations, now that she is one!

Best regards to everyone.

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29th September 2014

Great stories!
George, thank you for including me in your list of people to whom you share your blog. This is quite an adventure you two are taking! I loved the stories about kids in the classrooms there. Kids are kids, doesn't matter what country you are in! Take care, Christina Tondevold
30th September 2014

Hi!
Hi there George and Kevin, So glad you are having an interesting time in your new location! I wish I could see things through your eyes. Here we are getting ready for winter. It usually snows by the week after Halloween, and once it starts, it doesn't usually quit until May. We got another house ready to rent. That will be the last one for this year. We have one more to rehabilitate next year, then we should have all we can handle. We will probably be in Kooskia in April deciding what to do with Mother's house and things. When will you be back? We would love to see you and hear stories. Thank you for writing your blog. It is much appreciated! Please, more pictures! Big hugs to you both! Dawn

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