This was my last week at school. My last week of lessons, my last week with the munchkins, my last week of English Club… Next week we have Fall Break, so there will be no school and I’ll be in L’viv with some of my favorite PCVs for a last adventure together. So this week has been full of last moments with my students, trying to make my final lessons memorable and trying to prepare everyone for my imminent departure. I’m still getting surprised looks; no one seems to believe that this is really it… that in 2 short weeks, I’ll no longer be a resident of Sokyriany and an English teacher at 1st School.
To be honest, I won’t really miss teaching. The idea that this is my last week as a teacher isn’t painful to me at all… in fact, I feel a twinge of excitement knowing these are my final lessons. But when I think of the kids who I’m leaving, then the sadness kicks in. For better or worse, the last two years of my life have revolved around these munchkins, who sometimes double as monsters. They also have angelic moments, but those are few and far in between Lucky for you (and for me as well!), I’ve captured some of the angelic moments on camera and I’m sharing them with you. I’m so grateful for all the beautiful memories they’ve given me, and just seeing these pictures pulls my heart strings. Lucky for me, I don’t have to say goodbye just yet. I’m planning on going to school the Monday after Fall Break, before leaving for Kyiv. So these photos are of us happy, before the reality of goodbye sets in : )
Okay, so let’s begin this little show and tell with one of my favorite classes- fifth grade. They’re as cute as they come, plus they still think its fun to learn new English words to try and impress me ; )
Next we have the only class who can rival the fifth grade in cuteness… 2nd grade! I teach this group of 12 of the smartest 2nd graders, and let me tell you, they’re impressive. They speak with amazing accents, because they’re young enough to pick up on English sounds and speak without a Ukrainian accent. For example, they can say the “th” sound in “thank you” and “Kathryn,” which is something even the English teachers struggle with. Usually when Ukrainians try to make this sound it comes out more like a “z;” so they say “zis is a cat.” Or sometimes they even make it an “f” sound, like in my name: “Kafryn” which coincidentally is how my older brother Heath used to say my name when we were little ; ) So without further ado, I give you second grade. I’ll let them wow you with their cuteness factor through pictures.
Now in terms of smartness, my favorite class hands down was 10th form. I split the class with one of my Ukrainian colleauges, and she took the weaker students while my group consisted of 10 of the smartest, most entertaining teenagers I’ve ever met : )
I also LOVED my group of 8th grade girls, who were always excessively chatty in class but also incredibly sweet. For our last lesson, they made posters that said “Miss Kate, we will miss you,” and combined efforts to write me a goodbye letter in English. Somebody must have resorted to Google Translate though, because some of the funnier lines included “We’ll miss your beautiful smile and sonorous laughter from your sincere nature” (what!?) and “We will always detect and love you” and “Hope for you we were the good children.” They totally get an A for effort, I was very touched : )
Next we have my 7th graders, who used to be my favorite class when I came to Sokyriany and they were in 5th grade. Unfortunately puberty has gotten the best of them, and they no longer make an effort to learn English. They don’t love me as much nowadays because I give them bad marks for not doing their homework. Oh well, I still have fond memories of them from when they were younger!
And finally, we have the 9th form. The 9th form is incredibly weak as a whole, so I teach the top 4 students and I’m pretty hard on them. I only speak English, assign loads of homework, and demand speaking every time we have a lesson. Lucky for me, these four actually have an interest in learning English and have risen to every challenge I’ve thrown at them. I must say, I’m most proud of these 9th graders. Having lessons with them always gave me hope and recharged my batteries Maxim wasn’t at school, but here are pictures with Aliona, Angelina, and Seriozha.
Those were some of my favorite pictures from my final lessons! But now I want to share some thoughts and photos from my last English Club. I’ve been holding English Club since January of 2011, and I feel like I’ve developed the deepest relationships with these kids. They came entirely of their own free will, to work on their English and hang out with me, and they have a special place in my heart. English Club was for older students, from the 9th to 11th forms, because we mostly spoke in English and practiced communication skills. Here is my English Club, at our last meeting!
But the best part of our final English Club meeting was the use of the newly installed English Resource and Technology Center! Many of you contributed financially to the grant that made this possible, so this is all thanks to you. With the use of our fancy new computer and projector, I prepared a special surprise: a going-away powerpoint, complete with pictures I’ve been acquiring over the last two years of my life in Sokyriany. They’ve loved it!
Then I made them watch a clip from The Sound of Music, where the Von Trapp children sing the “So long, farewell” song, and then we talked about all the different ways to say “goodbye” in English. We also discussed my favorite J.M. Barrie quote: “Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” We agreed to say “So long” or “farewell” in place of “goodbye.”
Thus concludes my last week at school. I will miss these kids something fierce, so I’m thankful we haven’t reached our final goodbye yet! I’ll leave you with this photo of flowers that I received at my final lessons… oh how the students spoil me
For my dear Ukrainian readers:
All my love,