2009.05.21: May 21, 2009: Headlines: COS - Kazakhstan: Examiner: Micah Lemons writes: An English teacher in Kazakhstan

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kazakstan : Peace Corps Kazakhstan : Peace Corps Kazakstan: Newest Stories: 2009.05.21: May 21, 2009: Headlines: COS - Kazakhstan: Examiner: Micah Lemons writes: An English teacher in Kazakhstan

By Admin1 (admin) (141.157.40.112) on Saturday, May 23, 2009 - 5:09 pm: Edit Post

Micah Lemons writes: An English teacher in Kazakhstan

Micah Lemons writes: An English teacher in Kazakhstan

Lida, an English teacher in Kazakhstan, works with a colleague at schoolWe had been in Kazakhstan for six weeks before we got to meet our counterparts. Our counterparts were host country nationals who would work alongside us, helping us learn our jobs and settling us into the new country. All of the volunteers were understandably nervous about meeting the counterparts since they would play such a large role in the coming two years. Before the meeting was to take place, I snuck off with a friend to grab a beer to loosen the tension. Soon, one beer turned into two before we could make our way back to meet our counterparts. It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. My counterpart was Lida, a middle-aged woman who had taught English for over twenty years. Shed even visited Houston, TX, as part of a teaching conference three years earlier. Since I was her first Peace Corps Volunteer, Im sure she was more nervous than I was.

Micah Lemons writes: An English teacher in Kazakhstan

An English teacher in Kazakhstan

May 21, 8:33 PM Add a Comment

From August 2006 to October 2008, I lived and worked in Kazakhstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Over those two years, I met quite a few incredible locals. This is the story of one such character.

Lida, an English teacher in Kazakhstan, works with a colleague at schoolWe had been in Kazakhstan for six weeks before we got to meet our counterparts. Our counterparts were host country nationals who would work alongside us, helping us learn our jobs and settling us into the new country. All of the volunteers were understandably nervous about meeting the counterparts since they would play such a large role in the coming two years. Before the meeting was to take place, I snuck off with a friend to grab a beer to loosen the tension. Soon, one beer turned into two before we could make our way back to meet our counterparts.

It turned out that I had nothing to worry about. My counterpart was Lida, a middle-aged woman who had taught English for over twenty years. Shed even visited Houston, TX, as part of a teaching conference three years earlier. Since I was her first Peace Corps Volunteer, Im sure she was more nervous than I was.

My teaching collective in Kazakhstan. My counterpart Lida stands directly behind me.Over the next two years I came to view Lida as a teacher, a maternal advisor, a colleague, and, above all, a friend. Lida arranged my first host family and helped me find my apartment. She allowed me to schedule the classes I wanted to teach and served as an intermediary with the schools administration. While Peace Corps tried to teach me how to be an effective teacher in its training sessions, it was Lida who served as the best example. The students both respected her and liked her. Amongst the younger English teachers, Lida was a figure of authority.

On special occasions, Lida organized events to make me feel at home. On the two birthdays I celebrated in Kazakhstan, Lida brought a select few of my closest colleagues and friends together for great lunch parties. The second birthday party turned into a long fun-filled afternoon, with vodka, Russian pelmeni, and dancing.

Elmira, the author, and Lida sit at a cafe near an important pilgrimage spot in southern KazakhstanNear the end of my time in Kazakhstan, I began to truly grasp the immense blessing that Lida had brought to my life. We organized a trip to see a nearby historical site. It was a mosque dedicated to an ancient teacher, quite appropriate for our own group. As the only male in a group of six female teachers, Lida always made sure to include me in every such social event.

In my minds eye, I can remember Lidas quirky smile as shed peer over the edge of her tinted glasses, a light humorous twinkle dashing across her eyes. Both my town and my school were lucky to have such a gifted and gracious teacher, but perhaps it was I who most greatly benefited. As any Peace Corps Volunteer will tell you, it takes exceptional local colleagues like Lida to build that teetering bridge across cultures.

Author's Note: Be sure to check out our updated pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/micah.lemons and our video podcasts at http://micahandrewadventure.blogspot.com/




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Headlines: May, 2009; Peace Corps Kazakhstan; Directory of Kazakhstan RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Kazakhstan RPCVs





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Story Source: Examiner

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