Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7, 2013

I slept much better than I had had in the last two weeks. Looking forward to having a real cup of coffee, I started the coffee pot going only to realize that I had purchased no sugar whatsoever. Since it was almost seven in the morning, I knocked on the owner’s door and found him profoundly asleep, but he did get up and got me a bowl with sugar and a teaspoon while I apologize profusely.

I wasn’t hungry enough for breakfast when it came time to leave the room and so I took everything with me and asked Elvira to go first so I could eat while she presented. The coordinator for the Corner joined out in the hallway and we talked politics while I ate my “breakfast”.

I did my session on collocations and then we had lunch, plov and salad, at the university’s canteen which was open today. We had another beautiful day with hardly any clouds in the sky and a slight breeze fluttering through the trees. It really felt like a shame to have to be indoors at such times.

I continued after lunch with my presentation on critical thinking, which was, as usual, was too short to cover the myriad of activities it contained. Teachers seemed to enjoy doing the analogies, odd-one-out, riddles, mad debates, and other activities that I tried to cram in only 1.5 hours.

It became obvious that the vocabulary level is the lowest here and that dictionaries were needed for almost every activity I proposed. Jygyz took us to the photocopying place so I could make a few more handouts for my presentation on listening strategies. I thanked for his assistance and told him we could walk from there.

When I got to the guesthouse and checked my email, I found a message from Natalia informing me that my presence was required on Friday May 10th to assist in the interviewing of the TEA semi-finalist candidates. I immediately wrote telling her I’d still be in Batken and that I nothing in writing indicating I had been informed about this task before today.

She called me to say I’d probably forgotten our conversation about this particular step in the selection of the final TEA candidates, but that Elvira knew all about it and should have insured I’d be back in Bishkek in time to take part in the interviewing process. I asked her to call Elvira and to keep me posted, but that I wanted to be present throughout the entire week.

Elvira came into my room a few minutes later, an ashen look on her face, to say Natalia was blaming her for not keeping me abreast of the aforementioned requirement and asking me as to what I wanted to do. I was adamant about completing the training together for if any teachers could benefit from additional sessions, it’d would the teachers here in Batken.

We went out to dinner to continue to discuss the subject over our meal. Elvira chose the Uyghur’s place we had stopped by yesterday and we both ordered fried lagman, salad and tea. The lagman was way too salty to the point of making it unpalatable. A light rain started to fall while the sun was still out.

After buying bottled water for both of us, we returned to the guesthouse to deal with Natalia. I promised Elvira I’d send Natalia an email begging her to try and find someone to take my place since I considered my task here in Batken to be more valuable than flying back to Bishkek for a couple of hours of interviewing TEA candidates.

In the meantime, Natalia called Elvira and wanted to confirm that I’d be back in Bishkek on Thursday while Elvira reiterated that Natalia should allow time to read my email message and then consider my argument. No deal was reached tonight and I’m afraid tomorrow could be my last day of training here.

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