Monday, September 8, 2014

Bird Carrying a Bear

Mural we pass on our way to school each day.  What does it mean?

Every day on our way to school we pass this mural of a bird carrying a bear.  Dahlia thinks it's a message about animals helping each other.  Ben thinks it's about the free market democratic Slovenia carrying the weight of former communist tendencies, but in an amiable manner.  What do you think?

Turning a corner
A few days ago Dahlia said that if she were given the choice now, she'd want to stay in Ljubljana for the rest of the school year.  This is a major breakthrough as she's persistently wanted to go home ASAP up until now.  Starting school and initiating friendships makes a big difference.

The school is an easy place to make friends since even the students who've been there the longest are still relatively new.  In Dahlia's class there are only 2-3 students who attended this school last year.  Everyone else is new, including a Russian girl who started today.  Apparently kids come and go all year.

Passing for Slovene
Because we live in a normal, non-touristy neighborhood, and shop for groceries and walk the dog, we are often mistaken for Slovenes.  People ask me for directions, comment on Bobo, and greet me in Slovene at stores.  My brain is so taxed trying to remember (and teach) Spanish, that I've barely learned any Slovene, so the ruse does not last long.  Still, it's fun to be seen as a local at times.

When Hard Work Isn't Enough
Two things are slowly dawning on me as a teacher.  First, no amount of hard work compensates for a lack of knowledge and experience.  Second, when the teacher isn't having fun, neither are the students.

I'm all for the noble struggle, and learning requires effort, but it should be fun and lighthearted at times too.  I've been working hard, not always alert to diminishing returns  The effects put me in a tired grumpy mood, which is not an asset for my teaching (or anything else).  My revised goals are to strive for just average days, where the students hopefully learn a little and we all have some fun too.

Georgia put it well - "They don't expect you to be an amazing teacher, and they don't expect you to be the worst teacher either, so it's Ok to have ups and downs and be somewhere in the middle overall." She says stuff like this to me when she comes downstairs at 11:30pm to tell me to go to bed!

And now I should go back to planning lessons instead of blogging!


  1. I am intrigued by this mural. It is actually very beautiful and huge in comparison to the windows. Wondering what else is in the building. Not too many windows! I lean toward Ben's interpretation but am wondering about: the bird's hat? And the case the bear is carrying? And the heart (?) above the bear's head. I think we need to know about this....Since everyone thinks you are a Slovene, Indya, how about asking! Love this....And as for the ever wise Ms. Kincannon....I concur...if every day we learn a bit and have a little fun? is a pretty amazing fun. I always saw teaching as an act of seduction....(just put that in to sound impressive)...but I do think it is true. Georgia is wise beyond her years. Love you all so b.

  2. I share Mary Claire's thoughts and questions about the mural. I can't imagine it isn't a political statement of some sort. Please post if you learn more. I had no idea the level of challenges this trip would bring you! Sounds like you're doing a lot of learning and could use some fun as a balance for yourself. I'm amazed at Dahlia's transition - it's great. I miss you all.