I think I have seasonal depression. These very short days are not benefiting me at all, especially when I wake up and it is still dark outside and will be for another hour or so. I have countered the winter blues by tons of reading. And when I say tons, I mean that during January I have read more books in one month than I ever have in my life. Reading books has helped pass the time and not make me go stir crazy.
I have also slowly been taking on extra projects that I am really looking forward to. I have always considered my service here to be much more than just teaching. I know that I am qualified at other things as well and as much as I try, I know I’m not the best teacher. My kids do end up learning things and I do bring a new perspective into the classroom so I guess not all hope is lost there either. Anyways, back to my other projects. I have been working with Loredana (my community mentor and the new director of the county’s CCD (Educator’s Learning and Resource Center). The CCD, which I have mentioned in the past when I did my PDM training, is the part of the education system that offers continuing education and resources for educators throughout the school year. So I am working with her to put on a communication and team building event for all of the county inspectors. The date is set for the weekend of February 22nd when we will all head up to a cabin in the woods where I, along with some fellow PCVs, will facilitate the workshop. I consider the lack of teamwork exercises that students are given in class as a huge problem because as much as they annoyed me while in school, I now see the benefit of them when I look at how most Americans work in groups compared to many Romanian groups where things aren’t as balanced or the leader is not putting in any effort at all. If this one goes successfully, we are looking to put on at least one more for all of the school psychologists throughout the county.
Another thing that I am looking forward to is our COS (Close of Service) conference. This will be the last time that all of us will be together and as much as I am looking forward to it, I am dreading it just the same. This is to take place the last few days of March. We are all to travel to Sibiu for this time where we will discuss the administrative stuff about leaving, any worries we might have, and just hang out with each other. Meg and I are also planning to visit our friends we made during an event that we participated in this summer in Brasov and I can’t wait to see them either because all of them are absolutely amazing and very strong individuals.
Immediately following our COS conference is Scoala Altfel. I talked about this week-long nationwide event for all elementary and high schools where the educators are asked to do different things with their students and break up the standard way of just sitting in a classroom. You can see some of my posts from last year’s event by clicking here, here, here, and here. This year some of the teachers are looking to go on 3-4 day field trips throughout the country which I plan on attending as well.
The week after Scoala Altfel is spreak break and I have yet to fully decide what I am going to do for this time period. We have a week off this year instead of the normal 2 weeks off and some of the options that I have been thinking about are Portugal, Danube Delta, or Ukraine. We will see which one pans out since I have exactly 6 days left of leave that I plan on using.
Following the very eventful first few weeks of April, I will be continuing with trainings and workshops. If the communication and teamwork one goes well with the inspectors, we will have our second run with the school psychologists sometime at the end of April, beginning of May. I am also working with a former GLOW/TOBE TTT participant who is trying to put on her own camp skills transfer workshops in her city of Craivoa in southern Romania. The participant, Carmen, who is a librarian at main city library and who has taught herself English is extremely resourceful and truly wants to help out around her community. After our training, she put together a mini day camp within the library and now she wants to pass along the information to other adults so they can help put on camps throughout the summer. I am partnering with her to put on two various 1-day long workshops with the themes of “teaching and facilitating team building activities” and “games and songs”. It will be nice seeing Carmen again and seeing what great things she has planned for her city come to fruition.
And last but not least, we have GLOW camp. This year’s GLOW camp will be held the last week of June immediately after school gets out to help better accommodate the PCVs schedules since we have to COS by the end of July. I am very grateful that I will be able to participate in at least one more GLOW camp before I finish a wonderful two year service in Romania.
At the beginning of this semester I thought to myself, “Wow, I have absolutely nothing planned for the last 5 months of service…” Very soon after that, things started coming in and now I am more than occupied with everything. Don’t forget about submitting grad school applications as well. Those are taking up a nice amount of my time too. In the end, I’m glad that I am keeping busy and trying to contribute as much as I possibly can before I leave.
Until next time,