Nine, Ten; A September 11 Story

As the summer goes on and nears its end for us teachers, I’ve been thinking about books to read to my students. I wanted to try to do at least one chapter book per month or perhaps two depending upon the length and time that we have.

I read a book, recently, that I’m thinking about reading to them. It’s called Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story. Now this book mainly talks about the lives of some children who were all affected in one way or the other by the attacks, but it talks mostly about the days leading up to the attacks. As an adult reading their individual stories, and the days and minutes got closer to the actual  event, I could feel my heart beating faster and the tension building because I knew what was coming.

I wanted to find a book for my students so that they could learn more of what it was like when these attacks happened. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened, but we, as teachers, now live in a time where most of our students weren’t even alive when it happened. Most of my kids this past year were born in 2008 or 2009.

I think that this cotghereuld be a wonderful book to read in the days before September 11th, and then I’ll find another to read after because it’s mostly days that are all leading up to the attacks. Then it does a short chapter about one year after.nineten

This book could be great for teaching perspective and point of view as it follows four very different young adolescences days before the attack. One is a young Muslim girl in Ohio who struggles with fitting in, another is a young black boy who lives in Brooklyn whose absentee father angers him to no end, still another is a young white boy in Shanksville, Pennsyvania who recently lost his father and is struggling to come to terms with that, and the last is a young Jewish girl who just recently moved to California because of her mom’s job and her mom is on a last minute business trip to New York. As you read through each of their stories, there are moments in the timeline that definitely make your heart jump a bit because you know what will happen.

It is emotional and there will be tears, well, for you at least. The kids might not have that type of connection with the story because they weren’t born yet, but who knows.

Either way, I do recommend this story as perhaps an introduction to learning about September 11th.

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So much love!

These past few weeks have been going really well at the school. I know I’m going to jinx myself by saying this though. For the most part the children have been very cooperative, and even…dare I say… somewhat respectful. They’ve also started to randomly run up to me in the hall, or shout, “Angela Teacher! Angela Teacher!” every time they see me and will not stop until I acknowledge and/or talk to them. I love them so much. I cannot describe to you how it makes me feel. Unless you teach children, I don’t think you’d be able to understand. The closest similar situation I can think of would be being tackled by a bunch of puppies. In a way, I feel it’s even more special because of the language barrier that there is. I can tell they’re learning more and more every day.

Break through! This week we were learning about germs and hygiene, and I thought to myself that this might be a bit difficult to do, but to my surprise, it’s gone over really well! The first day we started talking about it, I played a short video with a lot of English, but they seemed to get the general idea. They even kept going on about it in the little English that they knew. They were all very eager to try and say stuff. There was a lot of miming going on. And I found myself having conversations with them.

“Teacher! Germ..mmm…germ small small small!” 
“Teacher! Germs…germs is…mmm no..is bleh!” – Me: “Germs are bad?” – “Yes! Bad!”
“Teacher! Mommy doctor-doctor! Mommy *points to teeth*doctor-doctor.”
“Teacher! Me mommy doctor-doctor! *Achoo* doctor-doctor.”
“Teacher! Toilet..wash your hands!”
“Teacher! Germs *uses arms to show the whole room.*” – Me: “Germs are everywhere?” – “Yes teacher! *mimes cleaning the table*”

Now imagine these little phrases with the most adorable accents.

This week went pretty well. We did some crafts to go along with the germs and  hygiene. Germy hands, followed by wash your hands, and finished up with sparkling clean hands.

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Also, I started Turkish lessons about a month ago (they’re only once a week), and I and his family can already see huge improvements in my understanding of the language. The Turkish teachers at school can see it as well. It’s hard, but I’m trying. I wish I had lessons everyday, but this once a week is better than nothing. Having actual instruction is the only way for my brain to learn the language, because that’s how my brain has been hard wired. It’s a pain, but living in a house where only Turkish is spoken helps (and at the same time can be super stressful). I really just need to start memorizing more vocabulary. I cannot wait until we start learning more about sentence structure and verb conjugations.

I’ll try to update more regularly! I’ve just been really busy as of late. The big thing though right now is that my students haven’t been stressing me out as much as they used to, and I love it and them. They’re all way too cute for their own good.

Week 2

So far, this week has been quite lackluster. We came in on Monday expecting there to be students in the kindergarten school, but there weren’t. When we asked where they were our coordinator seemed just as confused as we were, and the response that we got was a confused shrug and an, “I don’t know. Maybe on Thursday they’ll come in to meet some teachers.” Well, it is now Friday and we have yet to meet or observe any of our students. We did, at least, learn what years and classes we would be teaching. I have the pleasure of teaching classes 6B, 6D, and shared lessons for 5C. This means that I will have two six year old classes and one five year old class. In reality though, I will be with five and four year olds because they are all about a year younger than they say they are. The shared lesson should be interesting. During a shared lesson, the Turkish teacher and the English teacher come together to create a combined lesson; it’s usually done with a story but in the case of the five year olds’ class it’ll probably be arts and crafts of sorts. For example, if there is a book that we want to read to the children, the Turkish teacher will introduce what the book is about to the children (not tell the story in Turkish) then the English teacher would read the book to the students, and then, finally, the Turkish teacher would finish up the lesson by asking the students about the book and such. Seems like a neat idea, right? Well, we shall see. Apparently, last year, there were a lot of complaints about the shared lessons because the Turkish teachers just saw it as a time that they didn’t have to do anything, and, at times, they wouldn’t even show up to the shared lessons. I’m hoping it won’t be like that this year. 
I’ll have twenty-six teaching hours (an hour over the twenty-five I should have which means I’ll get paid a little extra yippieeee!!!) this term: eleven hours with 6B, eleven hours with 6D, and four hours with 5C. We have been told that we will start our actual observations next week Monday thru Wednesday and then we will start our lessons on Thursday and Friday. I am interested to see how this actually pans out. Not going to lie, I am a bit nervous to start teaching since I’ve never done it before. At least the classes aren’t too large. Both of my six year old classes have four girls and eight boys. Hopefully, I’ll be able to handle that many boys. Crossing my fingers that they’ll all be little angels but who am I kidding? I should prepare myself for thirty-two crazy, little devils!

Life Since Europe…

I returned to the United States on 23rd December 2012 after having been in Europe since 27th June 2012. Since that day I have not wanted anything but to go back. The longing for Italy and Turkey is overwhelming, and my need to travel is consuming me. I have been trying to keep myself busy with work (only about two days a week) and with school, but my schedule really is not that crazy this semester. Graduation looms ever nearer, and the stress of not knowing what I’ll be doing after it or where I will be is driving me nuts. I desperately need a decently paying job (don’t we all?), so that I can start paying off my loans, and so that I can leave the country and travel a bit. I do not want to wait to travel until I’m older and retired. I want to get out now while I am young so that I can truly experience the wonders of the world.

When I first came back from Italy, I had planned on tutoring students who were taking Elementary Italian 101 and 102 classes, but even though I am the only Italian major on campus, all of the Italian tutoring positions had already been taken by previous tutorers. This dampened my spirits in more ways than one. Not only had I been counting on that job for a bit more money on the side and to make my résumé look better, but I had been counting on it to keep in touch with the Italian language since there are no longer any upper level Italian classes taught at my university. While tutoring I would have been reviewing the materials that the students were going over as well as helping them speak. I am losing touch and a lot of my Italian since I did not receive this job. I had considered sitting in on the Intermediate Italian classes, but these classes are held during the same time as my other classes so that was not an option for me. I read through the online Italian newspapers and such, but it’s not the same. I only have two friends at this university who are native fluent speakers, but neither live on campus anymore so I do not really see them anymore. I really need to go back to Italy sooner rather than later.

One thing that I have really been starting to work on is my Turkish. Being that my boyfriend is from Turkey and no one in his family (besides his sister and himself) can speak English, I believe that it best for me to learn Turkish. Lately, I have been understanding a lot more of what is being said when listening to him and his friends speak, and my goal is to be able to be conversational by the time his parents fly in from Turkey for graduation the middle of May. I finally have Rosetta Stone, and after only one use, I am already remembering more and more. I plan on labeling everything in my room (hopefully my roommate won’t mind too much) and doing Rosetta Stone at least once a day for an hour. One of the most difficult things about this language for me is the sounds. I did a linguistic project on it and I found out that there are numerous sounds in the Turkish language that we do not have in English. I had guessed this, but I felt much more at ease when I found out that I was not losing my mind or sense of hearing. Another thing that is hard for me is that I have had and probably will not have formal instruction in this language. This is a language that I must tackle on my own. I’ve taken numerous languages throughout my schooling career (Spanish, Japanese, Swahili, Chinese, and Italian) all of which I excelled in, but learning a language without formal instruction is foreign to me, and I must learn how to do it. I feel that with Rosetta Stone I will be able to excel more than I would have done just learning by myself from a book, so I am happy about that. So a recount? Decent fluency in Turkish by the middle of May. Ready, set, go!

Europe really has been the only thing on my mind since I have been back. I know now that the United States is not the place for me. Wherever my place is, I do not know, but eventually I hope to find it. I am nothing but miserable here, and I would love to turn that around. Personally, I am not sure if I could permanently live in Turkey, but I could definitely try it out for a few years. Italy, the South, Firenze, or Torino, I could definitely live in. There is so much left of the world to see though. I need more time. I need more money! Oh, America, you grossly overcharge your students for the schooling costs. The “education” that we receive is nowhere near worth what we are charged. Europe, you’re doing it right when it comes to costs. I’ll leave the cost situation for another time though.

Europe, I miss you dearly.

Bebek

Learning a new language is never exactly the easiest thing to do, especially as you get older. I, personally, love learning new languages, and when I take a new language I usually do pretty well in it. In fact, foreign language classes have always been my favorite and best classes. That’s just it though, I typically learn a new language in a classroom with hours of practice, teaching, repetition, seeing, hearing, speaking, homework, papers, and tests. I’m currently trying to learn Turkish without the help of a classroom, and even though I’m in Turkey and I am constantly surrounded by the language, it’s taking longer than usual for the words and sounds to stick in my memory. I’ve been here a month now, and I’m just now starting to pick up some phrases and whatnot. I’ve tried studying on my own but it’s hard to do so with out an instructor’s help. It’s extremely frustrating at times because I am trying to learn, but I really need a classroom. Right now, I feel like the way that I am learning is similar to a baby. I’m constantly listening, trying to pick out the different sounds, differentiating words, even watching as they point out and mime things to help me understand. Many things that I’m learning are not because of a book but rather because I’ve heard them so many times over and over again and the like. Even then there are many things that perhaps I can understand when said, but I won’t know how to respond or say something that I need to say. It takes a baby about a year to start learning little words and then years to “master” it’s mother tongue. I say “master” in quotations because most adults don’t even know the proper grammar of their language. To learn that takes even more years of studying. I really wish that my school offered a Turkish class; things would be so much easier because once I have the elementary classes down it’s much easier to pick up the language and build my vocabulary. In the mean time, I will continue to struggle and feel like a baby with this language.