Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kosovo: Teaching Abroad Chapter 1, Scene 4

Except for the tall ceilings and balcony
my classroom might look like any other in
the USA
Classes have now started at Prishtina High School. With fifteen students, I have the largest class in the elementary grades. Ten girls and five boys. I am learning how to pronounce unfamiliar names and listen carefully to the children who carry with them the accents of their homeland. Most are Kosovar Albanians, a few are Americans, and a few have one parent who is Albanian while the other is from somewhere else in the world. They are an interesting and fun group. Curiously, two of the boys in my class moved here from Tampa, Florida, my old stomping grounds.
A view from one of the classroom balconies.

Never in my classroom experience have I had so many bilingual children. Of course they all speak English in class as we are an English immersion school. They use a mix of Albanian and English on the playground.

The children raise their hands and say, “Miss?” when they address me. Bilingual and extremely polite. Nice.That’s where the differences in this class and my former classes end. They are, after all, fourth graders.

Reception at Prishtina High School
They pull their fidget spinners out of their book bags and I have them put them away. They mix up “there,” “their,” and “they’re.” And they have a ton of energy and a great sense of humor.

My students have gym class every day. They study art or music every day as well and all of my students are part of an Albanian language class. The class is divided into two groups: those whose first language is Albanian and those who find themselves as learners in the “Albanian as a second language” class.

I teach them the academic core subjects of English (language arts), Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science.

I am reading Island of the Blue Dolphins to my students and so far they are enthralled. As I said, they are fourth graders. Some things are the same no matter where you live.

The open library is beautiful!
The building is a beautiful structure. It has an amazing library. The piano on the main floor is a new addition this year, but the sound it makes is beautiful and feels as if the instrument has finally found its home. We have a few good pianists about who will at various times during the day sit down to play. The music rolls through the corridors like a gentle calming breeze.

Teaching abroad is interesting and fun. And because I can’t run to the nearest teacher supply store, dollar store, or Wal-Mart, I have to call on all the creative juice within me to meet the standards for fourth grade. But it is so worth it!

Join me as I travel to Kosova (the Albanian pronunciation for Kosovo) in Southeastern Europe. Each week I’ll share my experiences. Leave your comments and questions below. I’ll try to address each as best I can.


  1. This is fascinating. I'm so glad (for you and for the children) that you have this opportunity. And I'm confident that your creative juices are up to the task. Will you write some about your daily life outside of school? Shopping and walking and what town is like?

    1. My daily life is the plan! I am learning how to live it! Love the markets and the restaurants. The people here love Americans and go out of their way to help! You asked for it and it will be coming soon!

    2. Yay! Looking forward to anything you share.

    3. Thank you, Bethany. You encourage me!

  2. The building looks phenomenal! Kids are kids - glad you are enjoying the experience!

  3. So exciting. I'm blessed by the vitality I find in your description of the students. Have you found the Floridians concerned for the hurricane flooding or are they so immersed it is far away to be too aware at their ages?

    And... how's the chocolate ?


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