The Wrap up
We are wrapping up the end of our first school year with Proem EDU at the school. We’ve discovered that the end of the year in Poland is quite similar to the end of the year in the USA. The kids are restless! The teachers are exhausted!
One big difference and it’s unique to our school here, is that they have these amazing end of year programs for the parents. Teachers create the programs and the students started practicing and rehearsing last week. This week they spend a huge block of time each day at the Tomy church where the performances will be held (another big reason we need the gymnasium built!!). SO, this means last Wednesday (there was a holiday in Poland last Thursday, so no school Th & F), we had our last day of “lessons”. There was such a surge of excitement in the school last Wednesday being the “last day” coupled with the fact that it was going to be a 4-day holiday weekend!
So this week we have not really known what classes we’ll actually have to teach. Oh, and if we do have class, it’s not a “lesson”… it’s fun time… game time! Yeah, it’s more like herding cats. 🙂 End of the year school life.
The homeroom teachers for each grade have much more on their plate than Josh and I, so we’ve tried to be extra encouraging. You can feel the stress and exhaustion in the air, especially in the teachers’ room. The teachers’ social room is empty… no one has time to sit for tea or coffee and relax now. Grades have been finalized (They actually have a teacher meeting where each teacher announces the final marks for each student. It’s a very communal atmosphere!). So we feel we shouldn’t complain too much about going into school and then sitting there half the day not knowing if our classes will be there or not. We also had a 4 hour end of year teacher’s meeting last night! WOW!
Wrapping up also means no more visitors (at least for a while!) as we’ll be leaving for a visit back to the States. May and June consisted of Ann’s father and Josh’s mother and nephew coming for a visit. It was tricky with the girls still needing to do their school work and us having to go to school to teach, but we capitalized on any day off and the weekends! Ann and her father enjoyed a 4-day road trip together to southern Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Germany since the students were all dispersed throughout Poland on an extended field trip. (This is described next)
Greens Schools are field trips, except in Poland, they often include overnights… even up to a full week! Grades 1-3 traveled somewhere together. Grades 4-6 traveled together and then grades 7-9 traveled together. Josh was needed as a male chaperone and enjoyed his time with the students from grades 7-9. They traveled north and visited some pretty great places. He got to see the place where WWII started in Poland, the largest brick castle in Europe (Malbork), and took a ride on an old ship in Gdansk on the Baltic Sea, just to name a few.
Green Schools are fascinating to us, but so much work for the teachers as they begin the planning of “where” back in the fall. Then they have a parent meeting and present three different options of where and what to do. The parents collectively decide and then the teachers have to firm up all the details and make all the reservations, etc. Green Schools also can be 1 day field trips and they often take the students places (museums, cinema, theater plays, kayaking, etc.). So this past year we’d get to school only to discover that a class or a few together would be leaving and we’d have no class that period. Thankfully we don’t mind surprises like that, but we’ve had to get used to this type of communication to say the least!
The girls are still knee deep in their online school. Some subjects are wrapped up now, but for both, they’ll be working through the summer. Both grandparents, while they visited, kept the girls focused and working. Sometimes they took a break and walked down to the neighborhood store for some ice cream. This means the girls were not able to go to Green School and in fact, they haven’t been physically at the school for about a month. There were too many interruptions and noise where they would typically sit to do their work, so it’s just been easier to stay at home. Also, having family visiting made more sense for them to be home and doing work.
The girls with their cousin in the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia… a weekend away from doing school work… the girls were thrilled!
This past Sunday was the church‘s annual picnic held at the camp in Zakosciele. People from both churches in Tomy and Lodz came together on Saturday to fellowship and hang out. Most stayed overnight and we collectively worshipped together there on Sunday. Following the service, there were baptisms in the river, which is always a time of celebration. One can only imagine the thoughts of kayakers passing by on the Pilica River! !
Summer weather is here, which means more sun and warmth than days of rain and coolness. People are out and about and traveling. Us included! This past holiday weekend Josh and I had the opportunity to join our friends and visit Lublin where they met during their university days. It’s also the area where our friend, Alicja, grew up. After the three hour trip to the eastern side of Poland, they played tour guide. We stayed in Old Town Lublin which is considerably smaller than any other Old Town center we’ve been at in Poland, but it is incredibly beautiful and full of excitement with the shops and restaurants. We had a wonderful three days with them and appreciate all they showed and shared with us!
So, this wraps up pretty much our life here in the last three months since the last blog. School, teaching, and touring! Now we return to the States to visit with family, friends, and churches! It will be non-stop most of the time, but we snuck in a camping trip in NH just to get away! We will return in early August and get ready for year #2!