My first semester has officially ended, and my month long vacation begins in four days. Even though I arrived late (thanks to Oryol’s inability to write a proper letter of invitation!), the semester has still been a long one for me. Teaching is a rough job, and I honestly have a newfound respect for those who do it as their profession. I gave the students that I teach regularly anonymous Teacher Evaluations to do for me, and while most of them were overflowing with praise (I’m not being sarcastic, a lot of my students will be devastated if I don’t come back and teach them. And when I say teach, I mean joke around), the few critical evaluations are the ones I’ve been paying most attention to.
What I need to work on in the classroom:
- Being more patient. This has been a life long struggle, with me on the losing end. I don’t have patience, and patience is a necessary virtue when it comes to being a teacher and especially important when living in Russia. I usually do not have a problem with my advanced students, because they’re more mature and aren’t bouncing around like my first year students. However, I tend to snap a lot more at my first years, because I get frustrated when they make the same mistakes. Subject-predicate, damn it! However, snapping at my students isn’t very productive to effective learning.
- Be stricter. I had a few students write this on their evaluations, which threw me for a loop. Be more strict? Aren’t I already strict enough? I thought I maintained a pretty tight grip on my classes. Apparently not. I’ll start bringing a club to class.
- Being more approachable. This one also surprised me, since I’ve always considered myself to be a very open person. However, I guess I can come off as intimidating, which amazes me, because there’s nothing formidable about me — I’m a short, relatively thin Asian girl who tends to wildly gesticulates. To me that screams “dork” and “nerd,” not “intimidating.” Well, I’ll work on that one, too. Maybe less wild gesticulating.
- Not being such a little bitch about the cold. I think that everyone and his grandma here knows how much I loathe the cold. I need to stop complaining about it and learn to just deal with it. Maybe I’ll put on an extra five more pounds. Fat keeps you warm!
- Be more spontaneous. As a type A, anally retentive person like me, being spontaneous does not come easily. I like plans and schedules, but those tendencies flounder in a country where people just do things on the fly. Less plans, more spontaneity.
- Not be a little bitch in general. As I like to say, there are two seasons here in the Russian North: winter and almost winter. So, as one can imagine, winter sports are all the rage here. Skiing, ice skating, sledding on ice, you name it! I have a terrible fear of falling, mainly because when I fall, bad things tend to happen. Such as having my right leg split open or breaking my teeth. Fun! And that fear definitely hampers me from enjoying ice skating or skiing. I need to man up, not be such a wuss, and go ice skating.
- Not get so upset when people tell me they hate America. I swear I am an Anti-American magnet. People see me and are just overcome with the need to tell me how much they hate America. It’s happened a good number of times now, ranging from a 14-year old kid to a 50-something lecherous man from Vladivostok. I really don’t know what it is about my face that prompts them to tell me that they want to spit on America. Maybe it’s the glasses. Perhaps it’s the nose ring. I don’t know. But I do know that I need to stop getting worked up about it.
And with that, I leave you until February! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!