Apparently, I’m doing well. I mean, I could have told you that things are fine, but in the grand scheme of things, the Peace Corps has decided that I’m doing just fine. Or at least that’s the impression I got after one of my supervisors came to my site and checked out what my situation is over here.
My boss came to Ujar as week for a look-see into how I’m doing as a volunteer. It was an evaluative check in, but more of a ‘is there anything you need to get started’ kind of visit. She met with the director of my school, with my host family, and with Rasmiyya and Ulduz, the teachers that I co-teach with.
She mentioned this, and I think it’s true, but I really am lucky with what I have here in Ujar (or poojar, as I like to say). A lot of people are struggling with unsupportive counterparts who don’t want anything to do with modernity, or dealing with bossy directors who are only interested in how much money we’ve brought with us (zilch, by the way). Instead, everyone is supportive of me, and I haven’t had anyone stand in my way and tell me that I need to slow down or anything like that, because the people at school generally supports what I’m doing. I would have a much different outlook on things if I had these sorts of issues to deal with everyday.
For example, some volunteers complain that they never get a chance to really teach. In reality, we are assistants and the teacher can choose to utilize us as much as he or she likes. Some people come in everyday but they don’t get to teach the students because their counterpart is stuck in their ways, and don’t want to share the stage. Or maybe their afraid of looking like they can’t really speak English. There are a lot of different possibilities.
I, if anything, have the opposite problem. I teach too much. My ideal would be a seamless lesson where be are both involved in how the day is taught because the idea behind our lesson was mutually created. But now, I write all the lesson plans, and teach most of the time, I think because my counterparts are curious to see how I do it. They tell me that my style of teaching is so completely different from what they’ve seen that they don’t really know what to do with it. They do like it though.
So as I teach my classes, I also want to be showing them how I do it. I’m not gonna be here forever (27 22 Months in Azerbaijan), so I need to show them how to write lesson plans and make interactive lessons themselves, so that their classes will be better then they were before I came.
And according to Peace Corps, I’m on my way to doing just that.