Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Miss Nina LOL!

This is our Kazakh classroom, complete with Nasurbayev and the cyrillic alphabet. We are actually in the military classroom, incase of any wars... we will know the first aid - or how to shoot a riffle? Then Echo and I accidently dressed identically... to the small children's uniforms haha.

Sept 15
I taught my first lesson today! It was so much fun... :) I was assigned to 6th period, which starts at 1:00, teaching 5th form class B (similar to 5th grade, the B is like the “average” students I guess you could say). Generally, 5th form is the first time students are introduced to English, unless they are an experimental class. So I arrived to school around 9:30, hoping to do some tutoring with Aigul and maybe observe some of the other trainees’ classes. I watched Laura teach her 5th graders - she did great! Lol super animated... :) And completely didn’t use her lesson plan as her counterpart asked her mid-lesson to introduce big numbers, she did awesome on the fly. Trainees are assigned to counterparts, who are the normal English teachers at the school, to work with. Some are much more difficult than others! So, after that, we had a 2 hour break before my class began. Well, was supposed to begin. Then Gulnara, my counterpart, popped in our class and told me that the schedule changed and she needed me to teach my lesson right then.... It’s incredible the way they schedule classes here. I have yet to see a day that the time/room of a class has been what it is supposed to be lol. I couldn’t explain it if I tried. All I understand is that there are no substitutes? Anyway, so.. of course I was a little... I don’t know rushed lol.
I had planned to go to my class like 5 minutes early to tape up all of my materials, which obviously didn’t happen. So generally, classes are of about 10-15 students. Mine was around 30! I was intimidated by all of those cute little faces. But they were great... the way they raise their hands here is hilarious. It’s almost like a tomahawk chop. I’ll describe it, grab your right elbow with your left hand; keeping all fingers together and straight, raise your hand firmly almost flexing lol, and then they chop it when they are excited or really want to be called on! It’s so cute. You can imagine what it looks like to have 20 kids chop their arms at you lol. So, of course the class flew by. We... I sang the alphabet probably 30 times, we spelled things. Oh, I made vocab cards last night with Laura and Ablai (the 10 yr old h-bro) it was fun. Ablai helped me draw things like spider, turtle, sheep, car, train... he wanted to draw a helicopter and a hedgehog too lol. I had to explain there were too many letters in those words. Ironically, he has practiced drawing these things in school (spiderman, sonic the hedgehog, ninja turtles...) when he should be taking notes. Lol his notebooks are full of superheroes... (reminds me of Teddy’s war stories) He really is talented! It was fun. So at the end of class we played a game where someone makes the shape of a letter (with their body) and the class guesses which letter it is. They really like that one.
It was so funny how the students were soo boggled by the concept of leaving their seats in class. Laura played a game where the were competing at the board and the kids were so confused about the request of coming to the front of the class. They really aren’t used to being able to leave their seats, except to answer a question - they stand beside their seats. Normal classes here, well English classes at least, students just translate and memorize. No thinking on their own. Also, the majority of what they are asked to do is written, not spoken. So, the style of our classes are very new to them. Which is what they are supposed to be. I really liked it. I’m looking forward to having the same class for a long period. Really getting to know the students... I thought that I would prefer older more advanced students to have and be able to have more interesting lessons, but those middle school/early high school aged kids are much more difficult to control. I liked the students being so into the lesson I mean these kids really want to answer and be right, and I’m not sure if I would see much of that in the awkward stages... At least not with the majority of students.
We have our interviews about what preferences we have about our permanent sites sometime next week. As of right now, I’m not really sure what preferences I have... maybe that I have a host sibling my age? Internet? Dog lol? If anyone feels called to pray for me... this would be a great prayer request! I do know that my site assignment will be important... And this interview will be my only chance to express my preferences. I’ll be living at this site for 2 years. So, knowing what is important in a site to me, and knowing realistically how I won’t be able to spend the next 2 years are pretty key! Either way, I’m excited to see where the Lord really, specifically wants me to be while I’m over here.


  1. Noelle,
    Great to read your blog! I understand the whole school system in Russian and am sure that Kaz is not much different! I am truly excited every time I read your blog because traveling to Russian 5 seperate times I know the feeling you must be experiencing. I am so happy you have found a church, that meant a lot to me when I was there. Keep up the great work...You will do great with those 5 graders!

    Ps. I am the art teacher who works with your mom :)


  2. My friend Laura just loves hearing about you Noelle. You are impacting so many people already! Get used to improvising-I bet you'll be doing a lot of that. It's wonderful to work with these kids and feed their hunger to learn. What an opportunity!! Can't wait to hear what happens next. We'll skype you soon!! Love, Mom