Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Yes I know I've been excited about it before, but now there's actually more of it. Although as I'm typing, it seems to have turned to just cold rain. Boo. However, the presence of the fabled white stuff was enough to prompt Sophie and Ben to start a snowball fight, much to the consternation/complete bafflement of the Russians.
For all those that got my text yesterday saying something along the lines of "I've accidentally become a teacher", it's true. Scary. Here's the story:
Way back in those days when Mongolia was still a dream to us, we met (or were hunted out by) a girl in our department who teaches English at a language school in town. She asked us if we wanted some work (paid of course) to which we replied with a resounding yes, us being poor students and all. She re-found us yesterday after our long absence, and asked whether we'd like to see the school after our lessons at uni. Sure, why not - we're gonna be working there after all. So off we trundled, sat and had tea and biscuits etc, all very civilised. And then came the question none of us had expected. "So do you want to start teaching today?" Erm... we had no lesson plans, no idea what to expect. But since we thought we'd just be helping out, we thought why not? Ben and I soon found out why not. While the others were led away by teachers to just help out, we were led to a classroom by the girl, who said to the class "Here are your teachers. Speak English." - and left us to it with the advice "Just talk to them". Right. They're twelve years old, slightly mutinous in the way that kids are when there are new and untested teachers, and we didn't have a clue what we were doing. It was scary!
But having exhausted the usual introductory things we had the brainwave of talking about animal noises. It may sound crazy, but I'd really enjoyed it when we did it in uni, so off we went. "What noise does a dog make in Russia?". The answer came, a little confusedly to be sure - "She goes gav gav." "Well in England, it says woof woof." Much hilarity ensued - "What says...", "What says ...". Success!
Next time I'll need to be a little more prepared though.
The next lesson (we were feeling confident by now, so stayed for another) was with older kids, 14-15 kind of age. We split them up and chatted to them about allsorts. There were lots of questions, mostly loaded ones which I had to be careful about answering! Two of my group kept bickering and I know I should have stopped it, but it was far too funny. "You not pretty girl." "Shame on you! You donkey." and so on.
Explaining to my haziaika that I'd become a teacher accidentally was equally amusing. She's a teacher too, so she was very enthusiastic, but she couldn't quite believe that I didn't know I was going to teach until 30 seconds before-hand! She kept saying "But you need to prepare!" Yes, yes I did, but that wasn't an option!
Another very strange thing happened to me today. We were sitting waiting for a class, and in came the teacher with someone else. We're kind of used to being shown off as attractions now, so we took no notice. But, when Elena Vladimirovna left the room, she began to talk to us, and although it was in rapid Russian I think she said something along these lines: "I work for the TV company TVK and I want to make a documentary about the university life of foreign students. How do you fancy being in it?" Now this was strange enough, there's lots of foreign students about including some Canadians who've been here since January and therefore speak much better Russian than we do. However, she then turned to me and said directly to me, "Sara, can I have your mobile number and house phone number, and we can arrange when to meet up and do this recording." How she knew my name is still a mystery, not just to me but also to the rest of the group.
So it appears that I might end up on Russian TV. How weird is that?!
I'm slightly dazed by all this.
Thanks to Amy for saying I'd make a good teacher though, that gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside! (A warm fuzzy is a good thing. It looks kind of like a fluffy ball when seen in its natural environment, and likes to make people feel good. That's for those who don't know already, which you all should.)
Well, that's about it for now. I was going to write more about Mongolia, but I've got caught up in the moment and can't really remember anything of note without photographs here to help. Bad memory.

coffee is thicker than water...



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Indith said...

*points and laughs* seriously nice going though. Life in Siberia seems to be way more exciting than life in Moscow at the moment.

Mum said...

its amy!! wow! warm fuzzys!! mrs hall in primary school taught me about them! fond memories... sound super fun at the moment where you are. just found out i have an exam on my 18th birthday so was in a big fat mood before i read ur blog. love you! xx

Syrrys said...

Yay! Teaching is good! I'm glad it went well (as I course anyone who knows you would expect!) even though you weren't ready for it!

Syrrys said...

oh... I keep meaning to suggest it but then I keep forgetting... You should try turning on "word verification" from your blogger home page... it should (hopefully) cut down on some of the spam comments

Syrrys said...

you turn it on under settings->comments

avatar_of_cunning said...

Hmm so I've now turned on word verification. I only hope that it lets me post too, cos sometimes the computers here don't like displaying images!

Amy - An exam on your birthday is just mean. But you can go out afterwards and celebrate not having that exam any more, as well as your birthday! Which exam is it? And you'll be fine, just remember not to go to the pub before the exam - you can wait till after!