As I was flipping through a book of suggestions for English teaching activities the other day I came across one that included the students sitting on the ground.
With hardly a thought I turned to the next page. "That one wouldn't work here" I said to myself.
Let me tell you a little bit about the death trap known as the "floor" here in Croatia. It's a place that must be quarantined. Whether it's slippers, rugs, chairs or shoes there has to be at least one degree of separation between your body and the floor - very often two or three.
I even heard from a reliable source that back in the day, Yugoslav babies didn't learn how to crawl. They went from laying down to practically running - a walker being their one mode of transition and transportation so as not to be overly exposed to the floor.
And what do I say about this crazy mindset?
Bravo Croatians! At least we have some sensible human beings among us on this planet!
I can remember being in 2nd or 3rd grade at one of those assemblies where the bigger kids came to put on a program for us youngins. On this particular day the 6th graders sang us the song about Joe - you know, the fellow who had a "wife and 3 kids and worked in a button factory".
Right about the time Joe was "working the button with his left foot" I was figuring out how I could misbehave in order to get the knot (caused by sitting on the floor) worked out of my left glute with a spanking. Who were these evil creatures called teachers who made us sit on the ground anyway? And why did they get to sit in chairs while we sat on a cold hard floor for hours at a time?
Here in Croatia students are not allowed to sit on the floor. Every student has a chair (and usually a pillow!) to sit on during larger school gatherings.
Many ask if it's safe here in Croatia. Sure it is. And as long as the floor situation stays the same, you, your bottom, and your feet will be much better taken care of here than in America.