Last week I enjoyed giving a workshop to teachers at the Karaganda University, some of them are teachers from the heart. Of the 51 who responded to my five questions, half were from Karaganda which as of 2006 has a population of 451,800 people. Six teachers were from Temirtau, the “city of metallurgy” and three were from Shakhtinsk which has 50,000 people with 12 schools and about 8,000 students. Several more teachers were from Balkhash and three were from Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
What was interesting to find out, since this was a conference that had focused on the new mandate of teaching in Kazakh, Russian and English was to see how many of these teachers in northern Kazakhstan really did know Kazakh or felt fluent in speaking it. 19 out of 51 said they were fluent speaking. When I asked how many felt fluent in writing in Kazakh the number was similar 21 out of 51. Some were emphatic with a YES!!! Another teacher wrote Noooo!
The question I was most interested as a fellow English teacher was to find out why these teachers liked teaching English. The following is just a sampling of their responses:
Zammagul: I like to communicate with other foreign people and get information from books, magazines and Internet. I like to teach English because I like to share my knowledge, my skills and my experience. A Chinese proverb: “If you look a year ahead, grow rice. If you look decades ahead, grow a garden, but if you look centuries ahead, bring up and educate children.”
Irina: I LOVE English because it’s very beautiful language. I like teaching English because through the teaching process I recognize something new about English, every time, every lesson.
Irina II: I love English for its melody and beauty.
Diana: It was my dream to know English. I started to love teaching English from fifth grade but I don’t know why. I want to say that traveling is my love and English helps me.
Aigerim: I like English because it helps me to explore so much!
Tanya: Oooh! I liked English when I was 12. I listened to American songs and I wanted to understand them, that’s why I started to learn it.
Lyudmila: English is an international language and I like it because it helps me to understand foreigners. It is very pleasant to me to see how my pupils begin to progress in studying because this is a part of my hard work.
Yana: I like the culture of its people and the language. I don’t naturally teach English, I’m an interpreter.
Margarita: English gives me the freedom of expression of my thoughts. I want everybody to feel the same freedom.
Akmaral: I like the way it sounds, I want almost everybody to know English.
Aigerim II: I like English because this language is exciting and beautiful language in the world and it is an international language that enables us to communicate with other people.
Eugeneya: Because it is the language which almost all countries know and I want more people to know this language.
Damira: I like to teach English as I like to teach the culture and a different way of life and I enjoy the process of making students become teachers.
Anna: I like the pronunciation of English words.