Two facts of posting 1,500 times in the last seven years and my last day of my busy teaching load of 2014 go together. I have had a whole semester of teaching five classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. My Wednesdays are not as bad as having to wake up after a weekend of rest and teaching straight through on Mondays. I’ve been more relaxed about posting on this blog since I don’t live in Kazakhstan any more but would like to just to visit some of the other amazing places that are in this BIG country. I used to post every day and if I had nothing to write, I would put up photos of every day things that I saw in Almaty and Astana. It has been nice to have a following of faithful readers, people who still come back to my blog to see what life was like in Kazakhstan.
So, what am I doing in class today, all FIVE of them? I am taking it easy there where it is my students’ responsibility to do their powerpoints based on their research paper they did this last month. I have learned a LOT about different topics like swimming, hockey, horse therapy, horse slaughter houses, American Indian peaceful march, ACL prevention programs, artificial turf vs. grass turfs, aspartame, dance, sprinting, social media, Florida violence, war on terror, bond of brotherhood in military…the list goes on. I have at least forty students who are showing off what they know from what they have researched. I asked them to do a persuasive paper so they were required to show both sides of the issue they were presenting. Some are doing a better job than others. Yesterday we learned about coyote hunting which was more of an informational talk than one that was well researched and persuasive. Another talk yesterday was about child marriages where poor countries allow an older, rich man to marry child brides between the ages of 9 – 17. Many of these girls have VVF as a result after having difficulty bearing their first child. This was a good talk, the one about coyotes needed work.
Next semester, I wonder if I should have my students investigate Kazakhstan and I’m wondering what they would find. It seems that there is so little good information out about this great land. I know that there are photo journalists who regularly come to this blog, maybe some have used my photos though I don’t have a good quality camera so I doubt that. My photos of Kazakhstan does give an idea about what to expect on the streets of Almaty or Astana. I took of the mountains in Almaty because that city was on a significant slant. I captured photos of the strange buildings in Astana because there was nothing very scenic to photograph in the capital.
I better get to my lesson planning for my other two composition labs. I have had an annoying student who keeps insisting on her final grade of the semester for a one credit class. I had to show her and her advisor that I have to work with percentages for self evaluations and 35% for grammar quizzes and finally 30% for the final self evaluation. I had just given that last week and this irksome student asked if she could have an office visit with me to find out what her final grade is. I told her I have 85 students, I have three comp classes that are 3 credits each and that I would not get to it until the end of the semester. She is a weak student so I think she is hoping to get a good grade to buttress her GPA in her other classes. She kept insisting and so I sent her and her advisor an e-mail saying that I would NOT have it done…just for her…until I have done all the classes at the END of the semester.
Most all of my other students are gems, I have really grown to love them. Even the few other irksome ones. They are freshmen and they want to do well. Everything is new and exciting to them…except for those who are homesick and miss their families from far away. I had a student from Florida in my office yesterday working on his powerpoint. He is going home for GOOD even though his presentation is about the violence there that is NOT talked about because that would hurt their tourism trade. He is a good kid and I asked him if he would rather be where there is violence than our extreme cold weather in Minnesota. Yep, he missed his family. Sometimes we question why we put up with the “violence” of fighting the cold weather when it gets to be the middle of winter in January and February.
Happy 1,500 posts! May there be many more to come…I don’t predict 1,500 more posts…unless I return to Kazakhstan to finish my story about it.