Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Day of School

September 1st is the first day of school for the whole country of
Armenia. Everyone was scurrying about on Sunday, 31 August to make
sure they had their fresh notebooks, sharpened pencils, rulers, and of
course new clothes. In the Village school, the children in grades 1-4
have clothing requirements. The girls must wear black skirts, white
shirts and white socks (shoes are left to preference). The boys are
clad in brand-new 2 and 3 piece suits with newly quafted hair-dos.
The rest of the Tduhbrotz (school) wears what they like, but what they
like is THEIR BEST CLOTHES. I must say I DO NOT MISS the nasty,
scankie, and sloppy dress of American students, and the population in
general. It is refreshing to see kids who want to look their best.
That is not all...the students are taught to stand when an elder walks
into the room and greet them with a hearty "Barev Stez". Disrespect
and foolishness are NOT allowed by the teachers and the parents know
(and it seems, LOVE that the teacher is the one disciplining their
children!). While I was doing my School/VBS/Babysitting/English
Teaching/Refereeing this Summer, I was told by parents that if their
children misbehaved that it was MY JOB to smack them! Of course I
explained to them that is WAS NOT my job but THEIR JOB the other 22
hours they were NOT with me. Alas, this is the way they roll. Each
of the 1st graders received not one but two brand new backpacks; girls
got BARBIE, of course and the boys either a dragon motif or
SPIDERMAN. The packs were stocked with colored pencils, a ruler,
three pens, an eraser, one pencil sharpener, 9 small "blue books" in
the US but here they are light green. Four of them are for
Mateematicas with a grid pattern for paper and the other 5 are lined
for letters and writing. There was also one 8 1/2 x 11 pack of white
drawing paper, and one "packet" of colored paper (don't go picturing
the thick, pulpy American grade...No this is paper is a blend of say a
tissue paper and the transfer paper tailors use to mark white lines on
fabric. Oh and the color is only on ONE side of the paper, the other
side is white.) The first day started with all sorts of Pomp and
Circumstance Village style with a weak rendition of Mer Hyedeneek,
bouquets of flowers for each student (except Jude of course because we
are the newbies and NOBODY tells us what we need to do until AFTER the
fact : )!!!, and a general welcome to all the new and returning
ahshagertner (students). Of course I am writing this only second hand
because this 1st day of school did NOT turn out to be MY first day
along with Judi...No my first day of school was spent in an ENTIRELY
DIFFERENT way! More to come, more than you know....Jonelle; )

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