Doina, my teacher friend from the Pedagogical school in the center of Sibiu, Romania, had convinced me that the reason why my first attempt at sending my kids to school in Romania had failed was because I sent them to a neighborhood school and I had lots of gypsies as neighbors. I decided she was right, and I listened to her when she told me to bring my kids to the Pedagogical school where she taught. The Pedagogical school went from kindergarten to high school, and if you graduated from the Pedagogical high school, you were considered trained enough to teach elementary school. If you aren’t a teacher, you may not know that pedagogy is the old English word for “teaching,” and our word came from the Latin word that the Romanians were using for the name of their school. The Romanians use all the words in their language that we consider our “big” or “more sophisticated” or “more complicated” words in English. Anyway, I took a tour of he Pedagogical school with Doina.
We walked through the school. She showed me the classrooms, and I saw teachers in their classrooms teaching. We walked through the playground that was in a court yard in the center of the school. It seemed the teachers were in charge and the students were learning and acting like civilized human beings, unlike the school in Turnisor where I had first sent my kids, so she convinced me. I would send my kids to the Pedagogical school. She even told me there was a place for my youngest who was only 2 1/2 years old. She said there was nursery school where he could play with the other kids and learn to speak Romanian. I wanted all my kids to learn to speak Romanian, and I wanted all of them to have good teachers who taught them a lot. I wanted them to have nice kids to play with. I decided to sent all my kids to the Pedagogical school.
At first, everything went smooth. My kids were happy. No one was complaining. My youngest son came down with bronchitis. I got him medicine and got him better, kept him at home for a bit, then sent him back to school. It happened again. As soon as he got better, he came down with bronchitis again. I got him medicine and again, got him better, and sent him back to school. The third time he got bronchitis, I decided something was really wrong. I discovered that the walls at the school were damp and cold. His teacher told me that every time he took a nap, he would roll against that cold, damp wall, and she just couldn’t stop him, and she was convinced that was why he was always getting sick. I decided that perhaps I needed to find another way for him to learn to speak Romanian because he just wasn’t thriving in the Pedagogical nursery school, so I took him out. After all, by then he had turned three years old. He was still very young, and he didn’t have to go to school yet.
After that, my oldest son and daughter began complaining telling me they didn’t think they were learning to speak Romanian and weren’t learning anything. They said their teachers ignored them until it was time for the teachers to teach English. They told me that they were being used as English conversation partners, but they weren’t learning to speak Romanian. I began wondering if I needed to teach them myself because I didn’t want them to get behind. I wanted them to be with the other kids, and I wanted them to learn to speak Romanian too. I wondered if I could leave them in school and teach them from the home school books after school. I was still hoping the school would teach them to speak Romanian, but everyone was speaking to them in English.
I showed up to pick my kids up one afternoon after school as usual. My oldest son came out the front door of the school when I drove up as usual, but we waited, and my daughter didn’t show up. I got out of the car and went into the building. I went to the main office and asked them where my daughter was. They told me where her classroom was, so I went to her classroom. There was no one in the classroom. I asked a teacher who was going by where the students were from that classroom. She said, “Everyone has gone home.” I thought, “Has someone kidnapped my daughter? How could they get her just going from he classroom to the front door of the school where I had been waiting for her?” I asked her where the teacher was from that classroom, and she replied she didn’t know. I went back to the main office and told them my daughter hadn’t come out of the front door of the school like she usually, and that there was no one in her classroom and demanded to know where my daughter was. They didn’t know. I asked where my daughter’s teacher was, and they didn’t know. I was really getting worried! The people in the main office began sending people all over the school looking for the teacher and the students. No one knew where they were. We searched and searched, and I was really getting upset!
Pretty soon, someone came back from searching and said, “They are back in their classroom.” I went down to the classroom to get my daughter and asked the teacher where they had been. She said it was a nice day, so she had taken the kids to the park. I was so surprised that she could take the kids off campus without even informing the main office! In America, if there is a field trip, the teacher has to plan it ahead of time. She has to send permission slips home with the students, and the students can’t leave the school grounds unless the school gets permission slips from the parents. I was really in shock that she went without even informing the main office! I was glad my daughter had not been kidnapped, but I found what the teacher did to be extremely irresponsible!
I decided that I had been right about homeschooling my kids. The Pedagogical school was better than the school in Turnisor. Doina was right, but they were not responsible enough for me to trust my kids to them. I pulled my kids out of school and began teaching them myself again. They flourished and learned. They made friends with a little German Romanian boy and spent a lot of time playing with him and learned to speak Romanian just as well as all the Romanian children. They made lots of friends with Romanian kids at church, and when we moved, they made new friends there too. My oldest son used to go to teenager parties with the Romanian boy who lived next door to us in the village. My daughter took gymnastics. My oldest son took guitar lessons. Everyone spoke to them in Romanian. All three kids took karate lessons. I found another nursery school for my youngest son, and that is another very funny story I will have to tell you. When they went to school in America, their home schooling paid off. My oldest son took the college entrance exam and got such a high score that he got a complete scholarship to college, and then was offered a complete scholarship to law school. My oldest daughter was put in the National Honor Roll for Spanish the first year she took it, and her teacher said that no one is usually admitted the first year. She went to law school too. Because of the Romanian they learned to speak, those law books were not as complicated to understand as they were for the average American because all the more complicated words in English come from Latin, and they were both fluent in a Latin language, Romanian. My youngest son did something very unusual too. He was dyslexic and had a hard time learning to read, but did learn, and when it came to Junior high school Spanish, he was speaking Spanish when the other students couldn’t, and his Spanish teacher who happened to be from Mexico, was thrilled with him! My son said Spanish was easy because of Romanian. How many dyslexic people become multilingual? He is now a Math teacher. My kids fared well in the long run. They learned everything I wanted them to learn.