Archive for November 18, 2009

Energy, Renewal, Refreshment = Vacation

My Kazakh students are why I LOVE teaching here in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  A real teacher worth their salt would understand that first sentence. However, there are some of my students who are very, very lazy and yet expect to get a good grade.  I’m flabbergasted.  I gave a questionnaire today to my two listening classes, some of whom I am very proud of.  Others who should not be in this particular academic class at all!!!  The problem is, they don’t know they are of such low skill level. 

Another problem is that these immature, undisciplined students make fun of the diligent, good students who are in the same class.  Some of these yahoos have missed so many classes, for no good reason, or for very lame excuses.  They didn’t think to come to talk to me during office hours or ask their classmates what they missed.  NOW, they come snivelling into my office hoping for a break, a chance to do their final project by powerpoint.  Sorry, if they have already proven to me by their tardiness, absenteeism and deliquency, they will not have the privilege to present for my foreigner friends whom I’ve invited to come and listen and help evaluate their projects. 

I guess these poor students wrongly thought that this student-centered, American teacher was too easy going and lax to pay attention to attendance.  Wrong, I have to be both in this setting!  I have to be who I am as a student-centered teacher in a very rugged, teacher-oriented environment.  I need a vacation!!!

My academic writing classes are performing much better. I was very, very proud of their presentations yesterday and wished there had been foreigners to witness what they had learned from their final papers. 

I took these photos about a month ago, it is a significant monument close to Miras School off of El-Farabi.  I wish I knew more about it, I’ve been told different stories but I’d like to have the definitive answer to it.  For now, I need a vacation where I can regroup, energize, renew and refresh myself.  Going into the mountains seems as good as any plan so far.

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