I have only one more post to make after this one that would make it to 1,500 posts all together on this blog since I started it over seven years ago. I have not been as frequent posting about Kazakhstan because I am living far, far away from a country I care deeply about. So few people have heard about this ninth largest country in the world. There are fewer people who actually live in this country and so the reason seems to prevail, not many people are out there to promote the good things about this former Soviet Republic.
I have lived in the two cities Almaty and Astana, I have visited other places like Karaganda and out west. I went east to their version of the Grand Canyon, that is all documented on this blog. I’d have to go back to see how to spell the names of these little known places. A map would help but right now I am writing this blog because I DO NOT want to be grading the stack of 40 plus research papers that are 2,000 words long with APA formatted in-text citations and a Reference page of eight sources. I brought this all on myself, it was my assignment for my freshmen composition students. I want them to learn all that is possible before they go to the next level of Comp II.
Do my 85 students know that I care that they succeed? I got feedback from one of my more genuine students when he said something to the effect that “not many students like you, but I do because you make us work hard. I have learned a lot from you.” I guess I don’t go into this teaching gig with the idea of making friends with all my students by giving them the easy As or Bs. If they are getting the grades they want, they will have worked hard for it or they already came into my class with prior knowledge. Those of the latter set have had high school composition teachers that took the time to grade their papers in a diligent manner and told them the tough things that they needed to know to improve.
Right now, I should also be looking at the self evaluations and self assessments that I gave to my Comp lab classes, all three of them. Oy, there is an overload here and I am looking forward to having a break. I’m no different from the students. I can fritter away time with the best of them. I don’t remember working this hard with my Kazakh students even when I taught at KIMEP in Almaty and had 100 students, five classes of 20 in each. That was when I barely got their difficult to pronounce first names down…never mind trying to learn their last names. I have all of my 85 students names figured out with these American students, some are from Florida, California, Texas…those are the football or basketball players.
We had a fun time decorating the Carnegie last week and it made the local newspaper the next day. Some of the students seemed pleased that they are featured on the front page and also the group shot of them on the second page. Well, I had to call it a service learning project, of course. You can’t have a field trip where all they do is decorate the halls of the Carnegie. They had to learn about electricity in MN which was part of the traveling exhibit display.
I had better get to those papers, the clock is ticking and they do NOT grade themselves.