My Regional Manager, plus our “Programing and Training Officer” (basically, the second-in-command in Peace Corps Kazakhstan), recently came to my site to visit my school and do some other Peace Corps business in the area. They observed my lessons, and the PTO had his camera out trying to capture some action shots.
My PTO's lens helped show what's really going on in my classroom. For example, in almost every shot there's a child looking at the camera. I'm going to soothe my ego by saying that 3rd graders are easily distracted, and not that my lesson was incredibly boring. (Although we did spent a lot of time repeating the phrase “The ball is in the bag.” Not exactly Hollywood blockbuster material.) Also, I apparently make some very strange faces at the children when I ask them questions. I think I'm trying to look encouraging, but mostly I just look confused or about to fall asleep.
That face is definitely not “encouraging.” Maybe I'm just concentrating really hard to try to hear some form of “The ball is in the bag” in this boy's attempts to speak English. The other teacher is my counterpart, Dinara Mironovna.
I love this picture only because I look so completely confused. Maybe I've also forgotten the English word for “машина,” just like most of my students have. Or because I can't figure out what compelled me to color my car picture pink.
I think this student must be worried that I can't find my ball and he's trying to help me out. Because I can't imagine why else you would be so excited to tell me where that ball is. I wish this was a video, because then you could see just how excited my students get to answer questions. They stand up in their seats and wave their hands rapidly back and forth (I call it the “karate chop”) as they call out “Anna Rodgers, Anna Rodgers, Anna Rodgers” so fast that my PTO couldn't even understand what they were saying.
The lesson continues and we branch away from balls and bags. When my students will ever need to say “The doll is next to the elephant,” I have no idea, but they're prepared, just in case.
Time for new vocabulary. This is the part of the class where we repeat “tiger, tiger, tiger” at least 150 times.
And now we combine the grammar we were reviewing with the new vocabulary. “Where is the monkey?” “The monkey is in the tiger.” Apparently I agree with the tiger that he was a very tasty snack.
One of my 3rd grade classes. Please observe Nursulu, aka Godzilla.