I never imagined my husband as a school teacher. But there he is, going to teach in the local high school twice a week. I wish I could be there at the school to witness Mark’s fan base developing as junior high kids crowd around him, trying to tell him their names and to say hi. One of Mark’s new jobs this semester in Tokmok is to teach 2 English classes (grade 9 and 10) at a local high school twice a week. It’s no small matter, as he is required to give out assignments, grade the assignments and give real tests and real grades. It’s a challenge for him, but I believe he will be able to help improve the students’ English level, which appears to be quite basic. And perhaps he can squeeze in some time to teach them the Banana Song and Little Cabin In The Woods.
On the other hand, we have also started our teaching last week at the Center of Hope, a youth center offering after-school classes to students. Mark is teaching an advanced English class. I am teaching two intermediate English classes and one advanced Chinese class. Most of our students in the English classes are high school students. We have a variety of people groups in our classes – Kyrgyz, Russian, Uzbek, Kazakh, and Dungan. Three out of the five students in my Chinese class are middle-aged Dungan ladies. It’s a challenge to learn their names, but we’re getting the hang of it. And we never taught English or Chinese like this before, so it’s also a challenge to come up with lesson plans each day. By God’s grace, we hope to be able to help them with their language skills. If you know my Chinese, you’ll know that it’s pretty amazing I’m actually teaching others Chinese. Sometimes in class I have to have my students wait while I flip through the Chinese/Russian dictionary to find out how to write the characters. Or I need to rely on one of the students who speaks English to explain something to her classmates in Russian.
Although our primary job is to teach languages here, we do hope to have opportunities to talk with the students outside of classes and to build relationships with them. We hope to get to know our students and to share with them the Truth. We would appreciate you lifting up our work here in your thoughts.