Gauche Tea Party and Debunking Myths about me

What fun to have six teachers over to my flat for a little tea party drinking tea and hot cider out of gauche looking tea cups.  I had to laugh, I now realize that punctuality is a universal value held high among all professional teachers around the world.  My teacher friends showed up precisely at 3:00 p.m. and left my place after we talked, ate and played a game right at 7:00 p.m.  The following are some of the sloppy lies that have been told against me at my place of former employment.  Some are so preposterous, they make me laugh!

Myth #1 – Supposedly I’m wanted by the KNB (new variety of KGB) from the city of Karaganda because of something I wrote in a little conference paper last summer. (more on that later)

Myth#2 – Some people suspect I am a CIA agent.  However, an American when hearing that falsehood offered it couldn’t be true because I would need to be polite to everyone.  Apparently it has gotten around that I have been rude to some of my fellow teachers.  On only two occasions have I gone toe to toe with some who claim that what and how I teach is incorrect, that I am wrong in my thinking.  Compared to my Kazakh and Kazakhstani teaching colleagues, I’m just different as an American teacher but I’m no CIA agent.

Myth #3 – A common alibi to get rid of a foreign faculty member at our university is to claim they are unhappy in Kazakhstan, that they can’t cope with the cultural differences.  Sorry, but I had to diffuse that myth by saying these same sad faced people don’t see me with my friends outside of our institution of higher learning. I have many friends and enjoy happy times away from the pressures of work.  But my happiest times are spent in the classroom with my students.  They give me supreme joy even when I am being beaten down by those over me who should not be antagonizing me but rather supporting me.  That is why I’m thankful for my association with AIWC (Almaty International Women’s Club) and also my friends who have become my surrogate family at church.  Many other foreigners who work outside of education in the business world of Almaty and who are from many different nations have suffered some of the same lies and experienced the “needed but not wanted” phenomenon as I have.

Myth#4 – Another lie used against me akin to the prior one is that I’m supposedly not sensitive to the culture I’m a guest in. Apparently I don’t understand the Kazakh and Kazakhstani culture and insist to have my own American way.  There are several problems with that myth, 1) I am teaching in a “western” institution that uses an American system of education, supposedly.  2) I’ve lived and taught in four different cultures (Philippines, China, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine) with the total of 15 years outside of the U.S.  Therefore, I actually know the surface veneer of this former Sovietized culture because of my seven years of living in Ukraine.  Teaching in Kyiv was a good training ground to teach in Almaty, Kazakhstan because the Soviet mentality is every bit in place there as here.  Obviously I know too much which goes back to Myth #2 and why some think I’m a CIA agent. (smile)

8) To be continued in tomorrow’s blog 8)

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    […] Read the original post: Gauche Tea Party and Debunking Myths about me « Kazakhnomad's Blog … […]

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    […] this link: Gauche Tea Party and Debunking Myths about me « Kazakhnomad's Blog … Share and […]

  3. 3

    TomSummer said,

    hey this is a real nice post and i also like your blog layout, have bookmarked your site and looking for more updates.

  4. 4

    Batirkhan said,

    Awful! Just awful… Not surprising at all, though. I call it the GULAG mindset. When will Kazakhstanies ‘squeeze the slaves out of themselves’ as one of my favourite writers A. P. Chekhov said, if ever? Sometimes it makes me mad, other times – really sad…

  5. 5

    kazaknomad said,

    Yes, mad and sad simultaneously is the feeling I felt during this time of pressure in 2009. Interesting to revisit this but what saddens me most of all is that many of my Kazakh and Kazakhstani teacher friends are still in this master/slave mentality. I “escaped” but they have to live it out day in and day out while trying to teach to the best of their abilities. thanks for your observations about GULAG mindset and the Chekhov quote. Right on!


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