Friday, September 16, 2011

September 15th

What a week........!!!!.........I haven't been online since I got to Kharkov, and as I write this I'm still offline. I've come to Coffee Life in hopes of catching some wifi, but nothing so far. My computer informs me “it's taking longer than usual to connect”. I'll say! I also have a second purpose in coming to the coffee shop; I'm waiting to meet my internet penpal, Timur.

Finished teaching. Finally a 4 hour day. That sounds like so little, but it feels like a LOT. I taught 6 straight hours Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It was pretty intense, being the first week of classes and all that. Haha, I know Russians so well- they're always very skeptical when they first meet you, but if you manage to win them over they're extraordinarily loyal. That's a nice trait, I think. Americans are much more likely to turn on you. Anyways, the trick is winning them over. Hmmmm....I think my theory could explain a lot of 20th century Russian history.

Wow, I'm finally getting some time off!!!!!!!! The “weekend” is here! And guess what- I got my Sunday schedule- pretty much 8 hours (4 classes) but at least with a couple little breaks (15, 30 minutes) sprinkled in there. That brings my schedule to about 28 hours of teaching time, not counting prep time (ahhh! TOEFL course! Ahhhh!) Then it turns out they're short teachers for their corporate clients so they want me to add another 3 classes a week, “we only gave you 2 classes on Tues/Thurs so you could take the corporate classes too”. Except that the corporate classes start at 9 AM and it could take up to one hour to get there, then a couple hours free, then teaching until 8 PM at night (that's called an early night)! I wish I could talk to D about this, but unfortunately he's somewhere in the Canadian wilderness driving the Al-Can highway. So....I said I'd sleep on it and get back to them tomorrow. I feel pretty overwhelmed but it might just be that first week of work speaking. In theory, it will get easier right? The only major downside to the corporate classes, other than travel time, is that they run for 4 solid months, which presents 2 problems:
  1. Regular classes take a one-week break every two months, but I'll have to stay in town to teach.
  2. As previously discussed (did we already discuss this?) I'm pretty much an illegal immigrant here, and D will be too. We can try to make border runs every 3 months but oh yeah, this class runs 4 months.
That said, I think they'd be cool classes, and they're all business-conversational and I'd meet some interesting people. So....hmmmmm..... The school isn't really giving me a way out either, they're saying “there is no one else to do this”.

On a related note, I'm apparently the third female American teacher something for this school. I didn't understand if they meant third female American teacher since the beginning, or more recently, but yeah, I believe it, whatever it is! There is one female American teacher at the school now, all other instructors are American males or Ukrainian females!

Still at Coffee Life....No wifi still.....speaking of my apartment, the school went from “you'll have internet in 2 days” to “tomorrow” to “as soon as possible”...somehow I think “ASAP” does not imply getting internet as quickly as “tomorrow”.

I like to use the topic “Ukrainian politics” as a speaking prompt in class, because everyone here laughs at it. “Bad, bad, bad, it's all bad.” Two funny examples:
  1. In 4 separate classes, I used “How long has [the president] been ruling Ukraine?” Most people weren't sure. And these are educated adults!
  2. Today I asked if being a politician was a good job or a bad job. One man quickly replied “It's not a job, it's a lifestyle!”
Another topic I've started including is “public toilets in Ukraine”. Haha, that's a good one!


  1. I wonder how comes such a prevalence of male native English teachers over female ones?

  2. Honestly, I suspect it's partially because Ukrainian women are viewed as incredibly beautiful in the west, so men are drawn here in hopes of meeting them. Of course, some men will probably protest that, and surely some do come here to teach for other reasons (maybe they study Russian, etc).