Monday marked the national holiday known as the Day of Knowledge. It marks this official first day of school, which is celebrated by teachers and administrators giving wordy speeches and congratulations to all the students who are beginning the new year.
I remember the first day of last year pretty clearly, but monday brought it all back to me like it was yesterday. Kids get all dressed up for the occasion, and the parents come out with their nicest clothes and oversized bouquets of flowers. I had to give a speech last year, which amounted to “Thanks everyone. My name is Jeff. I’m American and I’ll be here for two years. Come say hello.” I think the crowd dug the brevity of the speech, because it recieved a strong round of applause.
In the school’s second day, there have already been times that I’ve thought to myself, “Oh my god. It’s exaclty the same.” Particularly when I walk by classrooms that are full of students, but lacking a teacher. Or there’s the classic between-class free for all, where the hallway turns into possibly the loudest place in the world.
But the reality is that this year is going to be completely different. I spent the first three months of last years chool year getting used to the complexities of the Azeri school system (which you can see in my blog posts from last September).
This year, I’ve spent most of my time talking with students about their summer, and what they want to do this year. The difference between having students ask me on the first day when their conversation club is going to be and waiting six months to even start one is going to be huge.