Greece and Morocco travel blog

The children at Anne's School

The young kids were very interested in Tom's fingers

Wednesday was a day of several English classes for Anne in the village school of Rogthia. The day began with a very early knock at the bedroom door by our leader, Sam, saying that Evi (the English teacher) had received a phone call from the headmaster whose mother had died the previous evening and Evi was asked to come quite early to cover some of his tasks. So Anne did a rush job of getting ready and out the door at 7:40 AM. This was in time at school for the opening "assembly", where the grades stand at the bottom of the steps leading into the main entrance, and begin with a prayer and a little speech. (Greek Orthodox Catholic is the state religion.) Then they enter as a grade into the school. They are never so orderly after that! There were five periods of English (double periods for some grades), and Anne had a "conversation" with questions, translated by Evi for the students who are not as fluent in English, about where we are from, our family, our home, our flights over, whether she is "famous" (like Sting maybe?), all supplemented with a world map and photos from home. It was very enjoyable! (Gregorio and Mikali - you are now famous, as are the rest of the family - and Audrey's forestry job and Jeremy's farm and farm stand are now famous too, as are Jesse and Tim.) It was a long day, and after our lunch at the hotel with the group at the usual time of 2:00 PM, a huge meal, we took a well-deserved long nap.

Thursday was a big change of pace for Anne. Since Evi goes to another school on Thursdays and Fridays, and is the school librarian on Mondays, Anne is now doing kindergarten (ages 4 and 5 at this school). Despite apprehensions sparked by some other team members experience in kindergartens this week, it was wonderful. It is a real educational experience for the children, and the teacher is terrific. She had a lot of ideas about education and works hard to socialize the children at the start of the school year so they are in the classroom by themselves before 9:00 when class starts! Amazing! The room is spacious and functional too. These children are not expected to know any English - that does not start until third grade - so Anne was quite unsure as to what would happen in the class with her presence. Well, this teacher is working with them on the concept of communication, including non-verbal and the concept of other languages, showing them what a communication of a message is basically about. The teacher translates quite well, so we talked about where I am from, looked at several of the photos - they were excited to see kids like them, i.e. Jesse and Tim. They also did some flashcards, and worked on the regular lesson, the letter "nu", or "N" to us. The capital letter is "N", and the lower case is "v". They are printing the letter and putting it into a work illustrated and written on a card. The teacher also has a long-term project on recycling, motivating them as to why it is necessary these days, making recycled paper in a blender and using the product for projects in class. She also is into organic gardening too for heself, at least. It was a really great experience!

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