Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A hug is worth a thousand words, a Friend is worth more...

Blog 40


Classes have been going better. Not saying that they had been going poorly, but they have been improving. I have a system down, which makes things much easier. The teachers are also trusting me more with the classes. Gulbak, one of the English teachers I work with, has been sick this week. So with her two classes, I've been on my own. I like it better on my own :) I do my own thing in the other classes, but it's different because there isn't the sense of dissonance I get with teaching with the local teachers, which maybe is only in my head. I like teaching, I like creating lessons out of these ridiculous books, I like making my materials.

I made my first local friend yesterday! Her name is Saltanat and she's from my village but is off in school in Semey. She is back in the village for this month though. I'm not really sure if I have her story correct, but she grew up in the village and went to school where I'm teaching, then she taught English there also for a while and now she's going to University but is off for a month? Anyway she has been observing my lessons and seems to enjoy them. She also asks fun questions and is super sweet. Maybe it's too soon to say we're friends... but we are on that track. :)

Yesterday I taught, had English club, and played volleyball. English club is still quite challenging as there is no focus, the students that come are shy, and the level of students is varied. It is essentially an additional English class with no book... I'm not exactly sure where to go with the club. I am also trying to organize some kind of "Office Hours" schedule of when I can be available for the students who want help. My English club is of the top 2 students in each grade... which is O.K., but I can tell that some of them don't want to be there - it was just strongly suggested that they come-type-of-thing. Volleyball was a lot of fun. We played in the Sport Complex, our village's pride and joy. It's a nice building that can host soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and ping pong games. (Though the court size isn't quite accurate for soccer.) My host mom and I played too, which was cool. She and I left at 7:30 (played for 2.5 hrs), but today I learned that most people didn't leave until 11! That's 6 hrs of volleyball! I don't know if I can keep up with Kazakhstan...

Today was another typical day. I taught 3 classes, came home, ate, then Johnny and Saltanat came over. We were preparing for tomorrow's English Teacher Club. They asked at the last meeting to learn English songs. This was Johnny's first time to my village. I felt a little bad for Saltanat seeing as I'm not sure if she could keep up with our conversation... and was maybe the third wheel. I think Thursdays are going to be my errand running days... since the English Teacher Club is in Balpuk Bi. I hope to use the Internet and make a trip to the post office. (Both of which are absolutely not reliable in my village, the Internet still doesn't work and I have yet to find a time when the post office is actually open...) I'll have to start making a list of what I need to do on the Internet. Every time I use the thing I can never remember what I need to do! Figures... Another little organization-listing project I can keep myself busy with. :) I've been doing better with my reading and praying this week and I can tell in my attitude that it's been over due! Kazakh is still my biggest hurdle. I think speaking without worrying about all of my mistakes is key. It's so hard to do though!

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