Here’s the continuation of last week’s Deleted Scene: School, Part I. I’ve “creatively” titled this one School Part 2. [I know. It’s been a busy few weeks here. I’ll try to get my creative juices flowing before it’s time for School Part 3.]
This scene, btw, was deleted because the story is of my initial confusion amidst so much that was new. And, as you might imagine, I have LOTS of those stories, at least from my first year. But by including all of them I’d flattened and slowed the pace of the overall story.
By the second week of school, the schedule was still unsettled. But, relying on Gulzhahan’s nightly phone call, I knew when to show up.
“You must come at eight-thirty. I’ll meet you in the lounge.” Or, “you needn’t come until eleven.” Or even, “You needn’t come tomorrow.” I felt safe in her hands.
The first class I knew I’d teach was one with Gulzhahan — team teaching, the Peace Corps called it — and I looked forward to seeing how she ran a class.
“The USA, Great Britain, and Kazakhstan is our theme for the fourth-year students,” Gulzhahan had told me proudly during our train trip to Zhezkazgan.
“What about those topics?” I’d asked, curious. A bit broad, it seemed to me.
“Mountains and rivers. You can teach us names of mountains and rivers in the USA.”
Great. That’ll take about fifteen minutes, I thought to myself. Do I even know enough about our mountains and rivers to fill fifteen minutes?
Now she said it again. “Our theme for our fourth year students this semester is the USA, Great Britain, and Kazakhstan.”
“But what classes will I teach? What are they called? ”
“You’ll teach English 49, English 40, and English 31. Maybe some others.” Gulzhahan informed me earnestly. “English 49 is my group. They are good students. You will like them.”
My head was spinning.
“But what will I teach them?” I was thinking along the lines of “Learning English from Newspapers and Magazines.” Or perhaps “Learning English from the Movies.” I was determined to find a way to work American movies into their life and mine, as had other Peace Corps volunteers. I’d already sent word to my friends in the US to start sending videos and DVDs of movies they thought reflected America well.
By the time I joined the class, Gulzhahan’s English 49 students were learning religious and national holidays (of the USA, Great Britain, and Kazakhstan). So, during our team teaching class on Tuesdays, I taught the US holidays. Gulzhahan, in her weekly class with them, taught the holidays of the UK.
And in a class I ran by myself — an optional speaking practice class held during the last period on Friday mornings when attendance was, well, optional — the students taught me the religious and national holidays of Kazakhstan.
The same division worked when we studied other systems of these countries: arts & theater, history, media, government. And, when we got to geography, I did get to teach them about US mountains and rivers. It took me nearly twenty minutes.
I say in my book that often expectations are a set up for disappointment. Would you say an expectation of mine was also a cause of my confusion? If so, what was the expectation here?