Friday, May 7, 2010

Spring Day!

Spring Day is a tradition at my school and today I had the chance to see what it is all about. Spring Day is actually a celebration of Victory Day(9 May), which was the day that World War II ended in Europe through the surrendering of Germany to the Soviets. The high school in which I work celebrates Spring Day by presentations of different cultural aspects of nations in the European Union. A week ago each class willing to participate drew the name of a European Union country out of a hat. In the past weak these classes have worked hard researching and preparing to present their country the best.

The countries presented today were:


My job in this process was simple. I joined the judges in visiting each room and I enjoyed all aspects of the show. There was a lot of information for each class to cover. They had to speak about their country's geography, leadership, religion, customs(music, song, dance, holidays), flag, costumes, and food. I saw students reading, memorizing lines, acting, singing, dancing, even painting. Each class assumed a little bit of patriotism for the foreign country that they had chosen from a hat only a week before.

The #1 presentation was Finland. The Finland presentation was a large skit which started like a boxing match with one of the students walking through the ring holding up a sign "Round 1" with the first category on it. The students worked hard on memorizing their lines, dressing up in costumes, and decorating the room to portray the cultural aspects of Finland, including Santa Claus. What made their presentation the winning presentation was that every student in the class was somehow involved.

The best part of my job today was the food tasting at the end of every presentation. The food that I liked the most was in the Irish room, the potato based dishes. The best desert was a fruit and whip cream cake in the Bulgaria room. The best costumes of the day were in the French room where I saw a painter, a mime, and Quasimodo!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Final Degree

Last week I witnessed for the second time a teacher receiving their final degree. When teachers in Romania graduate university they are prepared to enter the workforce and begin their careers as teachers. Their scholarly obligations are over and the rest of their learning happens through years of experience that they will receive on the job, performing 18+ hours each week in front of a class. For some teachers this is enough training, but for most teachers striving for greater knowledge, greater opportunity, and greater pay there is an opportunity to progress.

Teachers can choose to continue studying by working on projects while they teach their weakly hours in the classroom. As they study, completing projects, they earn higher degrees. They receive a grade on their final degree by presenting their project to a panel of Professors, one of them being their project mentor. The project should have an original thesis, thereby adding insight to the field of study.

The final degree presentation takes place during the school day in one of the classrooms. The presenters that I have seen so far have been naturally nervous the morning before they presented their project to the panel of experts. Colleagues packed into the room to give support, adding extra pressure on the presenter. They listened attentively, gained some knowledge, and at the end of the presentation the panel, the audience, and the presenter had an opportunity to discuss the project.

After the event those people who attended congratulated their colleague and move to another room where there was a large spread of food, drinks and deserts.

The Romanian school system encourages its teachers to continue scholarly work by giving them higher pay for higher degrees. Teachers continue to progress and can even add valuable insight to their field through their research. When the final degree is presented to a panel of experts and a room full of supporters, teachers are learning more about education, research, and their colleagues. This is one aspect of the Romanian school system that I have enjoyed taking part in, even if I do not totally understand the presentation which is given in Romanian.