Today was the semi-end to our orientation process. On Monday, the kindergartners come into the school before the rest of the students to adjust. It’s been an interesting week. I’ve finally figured out how to get to the school on my own as well! We’ve been going over classroom management, child developmental stuff, and differences between the Turkish education system and elsewhere. I basically have to forget about how kindergarten in the United States is run and realize that kindergarten in Turkey is more like a day care than anything. The students in kindergarten are grouped into classes according to their ages: 4, 5, and 6. The students do not learn the alphabet until they’re in first grade. Meaning these children don’t learn it until they’re at least 7. I don’t know about most of you, but I was beginning to read by the time I was 3. The orientation leaders even told us that the six year old children will probably behave and have the mentality of three year olds that we would be used to the in United States, England, Australia, and other English speaking countries. This mostly has to do with the cultural differences and the fact that Turkish mother coddle their children to the extreme. This will be the root of many and most of the problems that I will have to deal with. So, I may be teaching kindergarten, but in reality, I’ll be teaching preschoolers / running a day care. Fine by me, the younger the better in my opinion. They’re all so cute and so many of them have chubby faces and already make me want to melt.
Today was a pretty fun day. We met with some of the Turkish teacher assistants / Turkish homeroom teachers from our respective schools. Most of them didn’t speak very much English. We had to create a welcome back picture frame for the students in groups. There were about six of us in my group: four Turkish teachers, me and another girl. Arts and crafts have always been one of my favorite things to do, and somehow we ended up making a pretty decent frame even though we all had to communicate through broken English and broken Turkish. It was an interesting experience for me especially since I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to art projects and I like to take charge. The other Turkish teachers though are just as strong willed as I am. I can tell we will butt heads through out the year, but they are all really nice.
After this project, we ended the day with some treats that the orientation leaders and the Turkish teachers had baked up, and we all left with a lollipop. Getting to know the students next week should be interesting to say the least. I’ve seen some of them running around the halls already and I can tell that they’re adorable and that they will be more than a handful. I’m just really glad that I don’t have to deal with any students older than six because after that they start to turn into little wise mouths and such. All in all, I am both nervous and excited to start teaching in the coming weeks.