SO the last week has been a whirlwind.
I flew back to site from attending the International Social Workers Conference in UB only to hit the ground running to prepare for an aimag (or province) level wide English teachers seminar. Organized by my amazing sitemate Christie and supported by the aimag educational department, some 50 teachers were going to attend sessions ranging from “Adapting the Textbook” to “Teaching Life Skills in Session”. Coming to help us were numerous PCVs from far flung provinces, from which I was privileged to host a couple of them. Though seeing them come off of the 30 hour bus ride makes me question whether they will ever want to visit ever again 😛
While we have done seminars in the past, they have only had enough funding for teachers located in the aimag center. Thanks to a Peace Corps Partnership Grant ( similar to crowd funding, but with a PC mark of approval) my sitemate was able to provide enough support to bring in teachers from soums two to nine hours away. The seminar itself was incredibly well organized and thought out. Teachers attended sessions on a variety of topics and were expected to practice teach using their newly learned methods. . We often asked what they found was interesting, and all of them thought it was very ‘strange’ that they had to explicitly show what they have learned by practice teaching. Also since most English teachers are often the only English speaker in their town, they found team practice teaching particularly interesting… “Team work is difficult” one confided in me. But they always prefaced their thought with “its strange… but in a good way”. In total fifty teachers attended sessions, had practice teaching sessions and received feedback through our portion of the 6 day seminar. As always, they received shiny new certificates at the end of the conference.
It wasn’t all hard work of course. Most of the PCVs coming to help with the seminar are of the cohort that I helped train, so I was a little wary of meeting new people , almost right before I am about to close my service. However, they turned out to be great company and great guests. Throughout the evenings I often cooked for the visiting PCVs and was able to watch science fiction-horror movies that I hadn’t seen before. There were also evening hikes, lunches and activities spread out over the course of the week, almost too much fun as we socialized and got to know fellow teachers. Lets say suddenly being social was exhausting… but in a good way 🙂
Soon enough Saturday came around. To get to my next adventure out west, I needed to catch a ride to the capital where then I would catch another flight out to Bayan Ulgii. If the seminar hadn’t happened the week before, I would have been more comfortable meandering through western aimags to eventually get to Bayan Ulgii, but with such a tight schedule the only reliable way to get out west is a series of back tracking flights. One day, Mongolia will be a country where regional and provincial hubs are connected through reliable transportation links, but today isn ‘t that day. Anyways, the ability to participate in this seminar is worth the quick connections and mass amounts of travel.
IN the meanwhile, tomorrow I head off and will be off the grid working at a camp in the westernmost province of Mongolia. While I would have liked to think that I was prepared enough to write up small batches to schedule post over the next couple days, I found myself too busy to write anything, but I might have enough energy in me to burn the midnight oil and write a surprise paragraph I’m sure that will appear over the next couple of weeks. Anyways, the posts I’m sure will resume in a regular fashion once I get back to civilization, around July 15th.
Till Next Time, V.