So my official job title is a Teacher Trainer. My job is to help train teachers in the area and help them to become better teachers by teaching them different methodologies and anything that I can give them that will in some way help them once I’m gone. Now organizing a training takes a lot of work. They can be either an hour, a day or a few weeks depending on what the teachers need or what you have time to do. A big training that teachers really enjoy is a TESOL training, this is anywhere from 20-40 hours and it helps teachers with methodologies, different things to do in the classroom, and ways to improve teaching overall. I’ve done this training with students, teachers and with everybody that will listen to me talk. So when the university asked me to give the training in two sessions one for students and one for local teachers I of course jumped on the chance. I invited other volunteers and of course some of my besties that are also teachers to come give sessions with me and I was really excited. Now of course, things happen. Like showing up for the first day of the student training and having there be no students there. So I was of course annoyed but made some phone calls and we would try again the next day. The next day rolls around and I have a room full of 30 girls bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to learn. I was THRILLED, this was one of the best turnouts for a student training that I had had yet. So the training went on and went well, until around the end. Of course some students don’t last the whole training. It’s an hour every day and it’s a lot of work but they all want that certificate at the end. By the end I had maybe 15 girls that were coming every day no matter what. Then the sample lessons. Part of the training and a requirement to get a certificate (which is the equivalent to gold here) is that they have to give a sample lesson and they can only miss two trainings. So sample lesson day comes along and all of a sudden I have nobody show up. Nobody. So again I stop and I think ok, tomorrow it’ll be better. Then I have two people, neither of which have a lesson prepared for the day. So I say ok, you all have one more day and then this is done. I get a deer in headlights look and they say they understand. So the next day and I have two girls with lessons prepared and I have two girls beg for one more day. So they complete their lessons and they get their certificates and I take a breath.
So I have about five days in between the end of the student training and the start of my teacher training of the same program. In that span of five days, I have every volunteer who’s supposed to help cancel for assorted reasons. So like ok, things happen that’s all fine. I’ll be FINE. And then day 1, nobody. I laugh to myself a little because a training that I was helping with that morning at the American Corner also had no one show up. So I head to Karakol Coffee to get ready for the next day. Day 2, nobody shows up. And then I’ve had it. I send a text message to my director at the University and I say that this training is canceled and we’ll try again in the Summer or Fall. This is the first time I’ve canceled a training and let alone a large training like this. But there are a lot of things that I’ve learned in my service and one of those things is that I need to be careful with myself. I’ve talked about this before and I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll talk about it.
I am the only education volunteer in my city. I have some around me like 15 or 20 minutes away but they’re busy with their own projects and they come in the city to help with trainings and clubs when they can but I try not to rely on them too much because they have their own work and coming into the city all the time is expensive. But because of this, I’m the go to person in the area. To teach English, to run a club, to give a training, to do a-z of things. Now this is something that I love. I’m here to help and I love being busy but I learned with these last trainings and the sheer amount of other work that I have that I need to calm the fuck down. While I love helping everyone and I love being involved I need to say no more. This is something that I HATE doing here, I’m a volunteer this is my job I need to be able to do anything and everything I can to help my community. But I also need to remember that I need to be good to myself too. My counter part mentioned to me that some of the other teachers said the other day that every time they see me I’m smaller and smaller. Jarkyn told them it’s because I work so hard and because I’m helping the city of Karakol, not just the college. Now my CP is the sweetest human and that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but I am working a lot and for everyone. And with only more work on the horizon. It makes me laugh thinking back to volunteers saying how much free time they had and that we would be surprised how much we had ourselves. I don’t have that but any free time that I have you better beLIEVE I take full advantage of. Also this isn’t a knock on volunteers that do have a lot of free time, I’m just a crazy person and say yes to everyone and take on too much.
But my biggest take away and what I’ve learned the most about myself and this is something looking back on my life and thinking about myself is something that I’ve always done. I’m my biggest critic. Nobody is harder on me than me. Now this is sometimes a good thing. It’s gotten me where I am right now and that’s amazing. However, it’ll probably turn me gray within the next year and a half if I’m not careful. Now I have no intention of saying no more but I do have every intention of being more selective about my yes’s and how often I say yes. Which just means better planning and spreading it all out more instead of agreeing to have 6 clubs in a day every day of the week and teaching everyone and their children English (literally).
30 Rock was/is one of my favorite TV shows and this is the motto I’ll be taking on for myself for my second half of service (that’s LITERALLY insane). But yes to the good things and yes to myself. Also feel free to make me read this blog post come October when I’m writing another grant and holding multiple trainings and clubs and am stressed beyond belief. I’ll be mad at you but I’ll appreciate it in the end.