Prior to going into my classroom yesterday, the boys were apparently being rowdy. I was hesitant to even go in the classroom as Jeta had not yet arrived at school. However, I had to go talk to them about the spelling bee qualifiers so I headed that direction. Sami, the math teacher, was also headed that direction. The minute he walked in he started asking questions and then yelling. He then systematically went through the room and grabbed each boy by the left ear, slapped his right cheek and then grabbed the right ear and slapped the left cheek. I was absolutely stunned. A couple of the boys cried and they had red cheeks for the rest of class. I found out later that they had been turning desks up on end and being somewhat destructive. Not sure how Sami knew to go down there but he certainly got their attention. And just as an aside, corporal punishment is prohibited by Macedonian law. I need to talk to my program manager about this.
Another thing that is a bit strange in the Macedonian schools is time management. The last class of my morning session is scheduled from 12.05 – 12.50. This is probably the only class we start on time. However, the second session students are arriving and playing out on the playground. The school buses are waiting to take students home. So we dismiss the students about 12:30. Then we pull in our class for the afternoon session, which is supposed to go from 12.50 – 13.30. by the time they get in, sit down and get their books out, it is 12.40. We teach them until 13.00 and then switch to the next class which we teach until 13.30. It is the most bizarre time management system I have ever seen. About five minutes of every class is devoted to making entries in the “red book” and then we teach. It really is not an adequate amount of time to complete much of anything! And then today, another teacher needed help with a project, so Jeta didn’t meet her afternoon classes at all. Nor did they have anyone else in the class with them. I’m not permitted to be in the classroom by myself. So, of course, they learned nothing!