My friend Dana loves it when she makes “guest appearances” on this blog. (Hi, Dana!) She recently emailed me a bunch of questions about school. I thought about making a video to answer them, but I am lazy so, no.
What ages are they again?
I teach 7th and 8th grade, so they are eleven to … fourteen?
Is it just you and the kiddos all day? Is there anyone else in the classroom with you?
No, I am not supposed to ever be alone in the classroom. I am partnered with a Kosovar co-teacher. The goal of Peace Corps is to help teachers here develop new methods of teaching, and to develop sustainable teaching materials.
How long do you have each class?
How many classes a day do you teach?
It varies … 3-5 classes per day. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to teach 20 classes per week.
What time does school start and end?
Most schools in Kosovo operate on two shifts, morning and afternoon. I work mornings, so 8:00-1:00. I think the afternoon shift starts at 1:00 and goes to 4 or 5:00.
What’s all the rage on the playground?
Because the school day is short, I haven’t observed an official recess time.
Are they soccer kids?
Totally. Volleyball is also a popular sport here.
What’s the big activity for them?
I don’t know.
What gets them excited?
They seem to be into all of the things American kids are into. One of my students has a cool Spiderman/Batman pencil case. Another student has an adorable Hello Kitty backpack I want to steal. (Of course, I am kidding. I would never steal from a child. Maybe.)
What are the other classes most of your students are taking?
The basics … Shqip (Albanian), English, math, geometry, physics, geography, history, physical education …
Are they led down a vocational route, or a route to higher education?
Both. My understanding is that kids take a test at some point. Depending on how they score, some are sent to vocational school, while others apply to college.
What is the school structure? Is there a principal? Who do you report to?
I report to the school director, who I believe reports directly to the Ministry of Education. (Side note, I love that name. It reminds me of the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter.)
How many grades are there?
All of them. 🙂
Do the older kids have after school jobs?
I don’t think so. Employment here is scarce for adults. I don’t think most children work.
Are there any sort of extra curricular activities?
If you’re talking like a drama club or something, not that I’ve seen. Some volunteers run programs like English Clubs, etc. There’s also a new poetry competition that’s starting up, and a push to start chess clubs in schools.
Thanks for your questions, Dana!