Today was the first real teaching day after the conclusion of the semi-official-but-actually-optional first week. Well, today is the first real day of class, I guess, because I haven’t yet finished. Teaching began at 9:15 am, and it will end tonight at 10:15 pm. During the first week of class, students tended to not show up, particularly if they were not in their first year. We seemed to have about a thirty percent attendance rate throughout the week. As a result, my colleagues (the English lecturers who I am assisting) limited themselves to presenting the format of the class and introducing me. Very little teaching occurred, and if it did I had little to do with it. This week, in contrast, I’m all alone. Since nobody from my 9:15 class showed up last week, nobody knew who I was this week. Unfortunately for them, due to a scheduling conflict, they also had not had any English language instruction with a Turkish professor yet this week. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The plan, at least as of now, is for me to teach the practical section of sixteen different introductory English classes. All freshman take 3 hours of English a week during their first year. For almost all the students, this occurs as one block of three hours,once a week. The first two hours of these classes are taught in Turkish by a lecturer from the university. These two hours will theoretically cover grammar and vocabulary. I arrive for the last hour, which I use to practice the material and to give the students experience with a native speaker.
Since they hadn’t yet had a lesson in vocabulary or grammar this morning, this lesson didn’t go quite as planned. From the students perspective, I’m sure it was an overwhelming experience. They’re all in their first year of college, and have come from cities all over Turkey to a new place. This was the first class that they would have in university, and it was lead by a yabanci* who did not speak their language. I probably had it pretty easy, compared to them. We all did the best we could, and hopefully they enjoyed it, at least a bit. Inshallah, the scheduling issues will be hammered out by next week.
No matter what, I’m happy to finally be in front of a class. Months of waiting have built up to this. It feels good to get started.
* Foreigner. A term thrown about quite often in reference to myself and Latasha. Not a negative word, just an observation.