August 28, 2015 was the day I realized that my “dream” of teaching EFL abroad turned into a reality. I’ve got this once in a lifetime opportunity from Oxford Vision Ltd. The first thing that came to my mind was ” Where am I?” For a first time teacher abroad, I believe it is a pretty normal reaction- a culture shock reaction. I was completely shocked because only few people understand English (I should have known that early). However, as a new person in a new world I had to do my best to fit in by learning basic Kazakh or Russian phrases. Fortunately, it made me more comfortable and I felt at ease walking and buying something to eat in the market. Kazakhs are generally polite and very welcoming.
Teaching in a language centre was a big challenge for me because I used to teach in a regular classroom. The adjustment was a little bit rough but the process was fulfilling and moving. The most nerve-racking experience was the moment I had to start my class – my first day in teaching English to foreign students. I started the class with a typical introduction; “Hello, I am Teacher Philip and I am from the Philippines.” All eyes were literally on me for many reasons : I’m foreign and probably because I’m small (malingki in Kazakh language) ☺
I’ve taught different levels of language learners from Kids to Teens. Honestly, Kazakhs and Russians are nice and polite. I’ve never experienced devastating discipline problems inside the classroom. They were really fun to be with. Their desire to learn English is really indescribable. You can see that through their eyes, questioning, interest and most especially through their “notebooks” which contain lots of English words with translation in L1 or their first language. Their competence in grammar is apparently good and impressive but their problem is their speaking or communicative skills. They must learn how to use the language practically or in real context. ☺
Another challenge which I accepted was the time when Oxford Vision requested me to have a part time job at Galaxy International School, Almaty as a teacher for First Grade pupils. Trembling and feeling nervous, I didn’t have a choice but to take it. I felt uncomfortable because kids are totally different from teens. I was obviously shaking on my first day but hesitation and fear were eliminated when I saw the kids with their smile of hope. They’re awesome! The class was filled with the song of diversity: Kazakh, Turkish and a teacher from the Philippines. I love these kiddos so much. ☺
Finally, Oxford’s Summer Camp! ☺
*Summer Camp at Suleyman Demirel University 🙂
Teaching in Almaty, Kazakhstan is such an adventure. Almaty offers beautiful places and views that will surely capture your heart and soul. KZ is rich in culture and tradition. You can go far here by bus with 80 tenge or if you like to travel by taxi it’s pretty easy to get one. The weather is one thing that I love here most especially “winter”. I had fun playing with the snow coz we don’t have winter in the Philippines. ☺
I’ve had an awesome experience here in Kazakhstan. The waves of experiences that I’ve been through will be cherished forever and the roads of challenges that I’ve crossed will be remembered. Teaching English is my life and I know that learning never ends. I will continue to learn, relearn and inspire others. I’m ready for the next adventure! ☺