Ms. Alice has chosen the happiest job in Mets Masrik! - Mediamax.am

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Ms. Alice has chosen the happiest job in Mets Masrik!


Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax


The hall is still silent, but there is a restless commotion backstage. Ms. Alice gives the final instructions before the performance.

 

- “Always smile.”

 

- “Like this, Ms. Alice?”, one of the boys asks with a wide smile.

 

- “Not so wide.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Then she turns her attention to crying Tatul.

 

-“We won’t start until your mother gets here.”

 

- “Alexander, I can’t see your eyes,” she says, raising the boy’s hat.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Then she reminds everyone of their tasks: hold the flags high, wave, don’t forget the words. It is a very important moment for both the students and their English teacher. The third graders will speak English on stage for the first time, and for the first time, Miss Alice will showcase the results of the work she has been doing at Mets Masrik School over the last several months.

 

Alice Dakessian is from Lebanon. She decided to become a teacher when she was still in school. Her dream was to work in a community and at a school where children were deprived of access to quality education.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“I love teaching. It is a happy job. The children always bring news, are always cheerful, have no worries, and you are always happy with them.”

 

For five years, Alice worked in Beirut at a Catholic school for children from underprivileged families. This year, she decided to use her knowledge and experience to benefit the children of Armenia.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“My students in Beirut were very upset. I submitted my resignation notice four times, but the principal refused to sign it and did not allow me to leave the school. Now, my friends ask me if I regret my decision to come live in a village. I say no because it’s good for me and I am genuinely satisfied that I work at a place where children need to learn.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

When Alice applied to Teach For Armenia’s Leadership Development Program and passed all the stages, she was anxious to find out where she was going to spend the next two years. She says the program coordinators prepared them for various challenges so that they won’t worry when faced with problems later.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Alice was placed in the village of Mets Masrik in the Gegharkunik region. “I was lucky,” she says. People are nice and welcome her with love and support her in every possible way. The village is big and the living conditions are good. The only concern is the proximity to the border.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“As soon as she hears a rumble, she comes running. I tell her to calm down. You will get used to it eventually,” says the school’s vice principal.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“Everyone in the village is with me, but even so, I am alone without my family. I heard a shot once and got spooked. My neighbors got used to it. As soon as they hear a noise, they call and invite me over.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Alice moved to Mets Masrik in August. She changed three houses. The last house, the most convenient one which she liked the most, is in the teachers’ district, and they often visit each other.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“The first thing Armenian mothers in Lebanon teach their daughters in the kitchen is to make black coffee,” says Alice, taking the coffee pot off the stove.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

She occupies the smallest room of the big house. She has the most important things: her books, a computer, photos of relatives, and friends. Now, she added some Christmas decorations. Soon one of the rooms will be heated so that she can teach English to high school students at home. She has two study groups for lower and upper grade students. Alice is trying to develop the children’s conversational English skills through cartoons, movies, and games. Her colleagues and students think her methods are a bit unusual, but she believes they are effective.

 

“I don’t want them to cling to books. Often, we may not even open a book, but we do the lesson by playing and singing. I don’t assign them homework because they learn everything in class.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

“Sometimes I am told that I am too friendly with the students. But this is how I want it. I don’t pressure them during lessons. I let them react the way they want to, say what they don’t like, ask questions freely, and feel at ease. If they are afraid of the teacher, they won’t be able to learn the subject well. And if you are their friend, it’s easier for you to correct their mistakes.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Alice is even friends with students she is not teaching. The boys from the 11th grade have decorated the hallway where the event is supposed to be held. The girls from the 8th grade have inflated the balloons. One of the students has styled Alice’s hair. She says the parents even stand by her side. They are inspired by every little thing and support her.

 

Alice feels special in this remote village of the Gegharkunik region. The children have gotten used to her Western Armenian pronunciation, but sometimes they mock her, mimic her speech, and laugh.

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Alice has already forgotten that schools in Lebanon close when it is 5°C outside. But now, she is telling her parents in Beirut not to worry because the weather in Mets Masrik is wonderful. You can even see the sun.

 

“It never snows in Beirut. I was so happy when the first snow fell here. I took pictures and sent them to my family, but they started to worry, asked me to be careful, not to catch a cold, or slip.”

Photo: Vaghinak Ghazaryan/Mediamax

Alice will be traveling home for two weeks at the end of December to celebrate the holidays with her family. But, all her future goals are connected with Armenia. When the program in Mets Masrik ends in 2 years, she dreams of opening a school or a preschool in Yerevan or in a village, providing a free and good education to the children in need.

 

Lusine Gharibyan

 

Photos by Vaghinak Ghazaryan (especially for Mediamax)

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