Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Gigantic Failure…

I knew from the moment I walked into the classroom that it would not turn out good. The students were all several years older than me, and I could tell they were not too excited about me being there. I’m talking about the class that I had tonight, with the graduate students of the University. Galina, about a week ago, asked me if I could cover for her, while she went to a friend’s birthday party. The class was a graduate level class and she asked if I could go and speak about resumes. I of course, wanting to help, said yes. However, as I tried to prepare for the class, I realized I had no real knowledge of resumes. Of course, I had learned in high school how to construct a resume and what to put in it, but I’ve never created one for myself. In preparation for the class tonight, I decided that I would do some research and create a resume for myself. After conducting this research and putting my resume together, I felt rather comfortable about my knowledge on the subject, so I went to the class prepared for the discussion. However, it turned out to be a complete failure. The students, although they’ve studied English for some time, could not understand what I was saying. They kept asking me to repeat and slow down, which is okay but even after I did so they still could not understand what I was talking about. I was trying to show them how to construct a resume and what needs to go in it; yet, to my surprise many of them knew how to create a resume but their version is quite different from ours. I just feel like the entire class was looking up at me and thinking that I was a complete idiot. They weren’t exactly rude, but several of the students answered their phones, while in class, and several of them even got up and walked out in the middle of my lesson. In America, I would not have stood for this, because it is rather rude and not the way students are to act in a classroom setting, but not knowing the rules of a Russian classroom, I had to ignore it. For me, this class is the worst I’ve ever even sat in, and I feel that it is somewhat my fault. Maybe I should’ve done more to prepare and research the Russian resume, but Galina asked me to discuss resume writing in America. Granted some of the students tried to make me feel comfortable and that they were interested but the majority of the class was rather rude. People were talking out of turn and where asking questions that did not pertain to the lesson. Now I gave the students an opportunity at the beginning of the class to ask me any general questions about myself or America, because I understand their curiosity, but some of the questions were inappropriate to me. For example, one man asked me if I believe or I should say “if I trust God?” You all know that I’m not a religious person but that I do not discriminate against those who are; yet, this question to me should NEVER be asked. At home if anyone where to ask me I’d tell them it was none of their danm business, which I’ve done on several occasions (some of you have even seen me in this position). Like I said, I understand peoples need to believe in a “higher being,” and I myself believe that there is some sort of power but I cannot name it. However, this question is of such a personal nature that it shouldn’t be asked to someone you don’t really know. Anyway off that. Another question I was asked was if I was going to get married here –how many danm times am I going to be asked this? –which I responded ‘no.’ Thinking that that was a reasonable answer, I tried to move on but couldn’t because they then asked if I like girls!!!!! These sorts of questions are NOT to be asked, and I felt very uncomfortable. As an American, I have the whole idea or belief that what I do with my life is no one’s business and that I don’t interfere with their lives, so they shouldn’t with mine. Russians on the other hand feel they need to know everything about everyone, so this is very different for me. I’m trying to be accepting and understanding of their traditions and their way of life, because I am living here, but at the same time I feel that I have to do what I believe in. This is causing me some trouble, because I don’t know how to tell them that I do not appreciate these types of questions. I guess I’ll just have to learn to deal with it. All in all though I feel the class’s disrespect is somehow my fault, and I do not know how to deal with a class like this. If I was more than a guest speaker, I think I would’ve said something, but because it isn’t my class I felt that I had no right to correct them…Urgh…it was very frustrating. I’ll chop this one up to a learning experience. I guess I did something right though, because when I dismissed class several of the students thanked me and asked if I would return. When I told them I didn’t know, they asked me to try and return because they liked speaking with me. That’s it for now; I’ll write again soon…I’m sure I’ll have some other rant or story to tell.


At 10:09 PM, Blogger Riley said...

that happens.
Looks like you're having a good time overall. Better than the video store right?


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