It has been a strange week – mostly hot weather but some days were cloudy, there were a couple of rainstorms, and the temperature reached as low as 19C!
Wesley remains at camp and Stephen and John have definitely gone, so I have been the only native English speaker this side of the river. I have been used in two City Camps across 4 days, although if I am honest, the Russian teachers in each occasion were pretty much running the show and I was just there for decoration. One of the Russian teachers I worked with isn’t Russian at all, she is Armenian, and she has been very friendly and conversational all week, it is nice to get to know teachers a bit more outside the classroom.
Also this week, but in the evenings, the school has been running a Global Forum roleplay exercise, where students from the interpreters courses have been playing the roles of delegates to a forum on “Global Events that Shook the World.” My role was as the Director General of the World Health Organisation, and my workshop on Thursday was all about health risks – there was a big section on the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, and the students all got to prepare presentations on various health-related topics.
I’ve been teaching very small children – one of them really didn’t like me and spent the whole lesson hiding her face. Another class just ran around chasing each other, and balloons, and balls, basically ignoring me the entire lesson. Kids, eh!
And I have had a lot of individual students, most of whom have been giving me good feedback that they like my lessons and the way I teach.
Today I started off with City Camp in the central office where we actually left the office and took the kids to an art museum. It wasn’t just to look at pictures, though, there were some crafts demonstrations. These were based on the legend of Peter and Fevronia, a ruler-prince and his wise, though low-born wife. Different groups of children were shown step by step how to create various dolls out of cotton wool, cloth, wool yarn and pieces of wood. I could not stay until the end as I had to leave for lessons in another office but it was interesting to watch the early stages.
Earlier in the day the children had been making knights (cut out and assembled using a glue stick). Some of the designs were good, I particularly liked Sir Bernard Thinlegs, Rabbitlord of Wales, and Sir Rodrick McAsher (from Scotland). One participant had drawn a symbol of a knight on his knight’s shield, and the knight on the shield also had a shield, and there was a drawing of a knight on that shield… I thought he should have been called Sir Infinite Regression.
At Dzherzhinsky I did a couple of lessons and then randomly ran into one of the students from my Summer Camp, the first time I have seen any of them (though I saw my colleague Elena in the office earlier in the week and she was still happy to see me!). The student I met in Dzherzhinsky was the one who got sick towards the end of camp and had to leave early – the last time I saw her she had a sad, distressed face as she was being taken to the medical centre. So it was delightful to see her smiling again, her face shining like a sunbeam when she spotted me! We had a little conversation and I almost forgot that she is so young and only knows limited English, she did very well!
Just as last week I found myself with almost 4 hours to kill in between lessons at Dzerzhinsky. This week I decided to just go home, and come back later. It would cost me 40 roubles but I’d probably spend more than that on drinks and snacks at the shopping mall if I went there to wait.
And then after my last lesson, on the way home as the sun was setting, I saw the most vivid rainbow I have seen in Russia, with a bright red dominant stripe. It didn’t last long as the sun slipped below the horizon but it was a nice view to end the day with.