Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Starting Class

We learned this weekend that class was due to start on Monday, the only problem was we didn’t have our class schedule yet. I figured that if I headed to the department heads office first thing in the morning he would be able to tell me when my classes were. But apparently I wasn’t the only one with that idea. Packed into this one tiny office were more than 100 irritated foreign students. Most of them are from Russia or other Central Asian countries. They come here to learn the language so that they can be involved in the export industry, or atleast that is why they say they come. They are all eighteen and this is the first time they are away from home, and they want to party. The office was already hazy from their cigarette smoke when I arrived.

It took me awhile to push my way to the front of the loitering group and pick up my schedule. I waited until I had successfully squeezed out of the office and back into the fresh air of the hallway, before looking at the paper. After just one quick glace I called my classmate to tell her something had to be done about this. We had six hours of introduction to Uyghur, even though this was suppose to be the third year class, we had four teachers, all teaching different things using different books. It was a mess. Not to mention that we had the teacher that was known for only speaking the native language in class, and never using Uyhgur to teach Uyghur, she is also known for being a racist against Koreans ( which both of my classmates are). We also had the male teacher that has a reputation for hitting on his American female students and trying to play footsies with them under the table.

I headed to meet my classmate, but one the road was stopped by one of the schools best teachers. She was headed to the same office. It is the first morning of class, and even the teachers don’t know who they are teaching yet. She asked to see my schedule, and I was pleased to tell her we had her for four hours a week, but would have loved more.

She called twenty minutes later while my classmate and I were still mourning our disastrous schedule. She wanted to meet us in front of our dorm, because she had a plan.

Right after lunch my classmate and I headed back to the office, where the chaos had passed and the air had cleared. We gave the headmaster “beautiful words” as they say in Uyghur. We were sweet and kind, but informed him that in our third year we didn’t need to take an introduction class. We asked instead if we could have more hours we the good teacher. We thanked him for giving her to us last semester as a teacher, and said we had really gotten use to her teaching style. After 30 minutes in his office, listening to him yell at us, and our teachers on the phone ( which he had to do since he had messed up our schedule, but couldn't just change it without losing face) we left the office with a perfect looking semester.

There are only three of us in our class, and we have who I would consider the schools two best Uyghur teachers. We had to forfeit two hours of class a week, but that is a small price to pay to not have your teacher trying to touch your ‘blue eyes or yellow hair’.

After all that craziness, we finally started class Tuesday morning. So I am officially a student once again. No need for withdrawal pains, I am hitting the books with a vengeance.

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