Way back in the fall, it seems so long ago, I had an incredible opportunity to join some of my collegues and some students on a small walk in my now, favorite part of Petrosani. Like a good volunteer, I did not turn down the invitation and I did not regret it. We all met at the Jiu Shopping Center, some students I was familiar with from my classes were there but other students I had not yet met were also there. We all put on a green shirt, bright colored rubber gloves, and armed ourselves with a garbage bag. I spent the following couple of hours that Saturday morning picking up garbage and chatting with students. I was able to see a different side of my own students as well as meet students from other classes. That day I returned home to reflect on the day and I remember a having a great feeling of satisfaction.
The fall turned in to winter and even though I continued to make excursions with Ernest, the sport teacher, I didn't think of inviting any students along. I didn't even ask if they would be interested. Finally, the first nice week of spring I was having my morning coffee with Ernest whe
n he told me about a trail from my new apartment up to Bradet, the area that we had cleaned in the fall. I was excited to hear that a trail existed. I can see Bradet from my balcony but I thought that the only way up was by the University on the other side of the hill. I had explored a bit the day before as a way of taking advantage of the nice sunny day. We were to meet at 4:00 after English Club at the bank, and from there he would take me to show me the spring near my block and the trail to Bradet. I was excited but I still had a class and English Club left before the hike. On my way out of his office he suggested that I see if some of the students form English Club want to come. What a great idea!!! It wouldn't hurt to mention it to them and if they actually wanted to come it would be nice to partake in an activity outside of school with them. I remembered the joy I got from the trash pick-up in the fall.
When I went to the bank to meet Ernest there were three students from English Club there to join us up to Bradet, the back way. We chatted mostly in English but also in Romanian. I had a lot of fun and I received positive feedback from those students present.
My next opportunity to spend some time with elevi(high-school students) outside of school came during the large Easter break. I joined a large group of mostly 12th graders on a trip through Transylvania. I don't teach 12th grade so the trip was a great opportunity to get to know some students that I have not yet had a chance to meet. I ended up having a great time playing cards on the bus and in the dorm. We exchanged music and walked around medieval cities. We sang together on the bus and followed each other down waterslides in Brasov.
I'm am hoping that the nice spring weather and my new awareness that I can invite students along, will give birth to more opportunities to see, get to know, and have fun with some of my students outside of the school.