It has been a week of ups and downs. I guess if we’re going in chronological order, it has actually been a week of downs and ups … Anywhoozle, what I’m trying to get around to is this: If Monday was the worst day I’ve had yet, Friday was definitely the best. It was a kind of “best” that is new to me though; things didn’t go exactly as planned, there was a lot of side-chatter in class and again, a lot of students who hadn’t read.
But you know what made it the best?! Three students. That’s all it took! One of these students — an 8th grader (our equivalent 9th) — was really withdrawn when we met him; Ann-Sofi had mentioned that he often kept his head down, he would complain about writing tasks, and wasn’t keen on participating. Over the last two weeks, though, he has slowly come out of his little shell and shown great interest in the material. He has kept up with his reading, been consistently on task and has participated more and more in our group. In fact, he asked for a copy of the rest of the book to read on his own time since we won’t be able to finish it before Jaclyn and I transfer to the other schools. That was huge.
Another student — also an 8th grader — hadn’t been keeping on track with the reading (hadn’t been reading at all, actually) and was a lot more of a distraction in small group discussions than she was a contributor. However, when I gave them a character analysis sheet earlier in the week, she was able to analyze the character and stay on task. Not only that, but her written English was beautiful — she clearly had a strong grasp of the language. I met her in the hallway later that day and commenedt on how much I enjoyed reading her character analysis and how lovely her English was, adding that I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say in class the following day. I wasn’t really expecting a change from her because it had only been one night, but when we got to class on Friday, not only had she made up all the reading she hadn’t done, she killed it on the quiz and she was a lively participant in our group discussion, even offering to read sections of the book out loud.
Now, the third student I don’t know but she had been in the French class on Monday. When Ann-Sofi came back to class on Tuesday, she gave them a good, stern talking-to about their behavior when she was absent. One girl piped up and told her to tell me that, compared to other teachers and other subs, I had done a really good job because the class was a lot better than it usually is when Ann-Sofi is gone. So now I feel a tad better about Monday.
In other news, Swedish class started this week! I maintain that it is a very hard language to learn. There are nine vowels, but the vowels change sounds depending on the subsequent consonant pattern. Oh, and if a consonant is followed by a vowel, the consonant sound is determined by which vowel it is. Aaaand regionally, they don’t pronounce all the letters. So, for instance, “Vad heter du” is pronounced, “vah heeeh-TAH doo”. Rhythmically, it’s like quarter note, dotted quarter note, two stacatto eighth notes. IT’S HARD. I do not anticipate fluency any time soon.
Also, this week I found out about bus4you, which offers direct transportation to certain Scandinavian cities. I’m planning on taking the bus4you from Linköping to Stockholm to Copenhagen next week. And on an unrelated note, I’ve started applying for jobs! Yay! Wish me luck!
Oh, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week, especially after Ann-Sofi asked how supportive our families were of us studying abroad. I know I wouldn’t have done it (and probably couldn’t have done it) without my family’s support. Yes, they wanted to make sure I thought about it thoroughly and knew how teaching here would benefit me in being employed in the US, but not once did they waver in their support. I’m pretty lucky, ain’t I?