New students took their placement test today. We actually had to give it in two different classrooms because we couldn’t get one big enough for all of them. (sweet!)
I don’t know if I can remember all of the countries they are from, even though I had to make signs for the first day activities that include the “three interesting things about your country” thing that we do.
One is from the Ivory Coast, or officially, Côte d’Ivoire. The first student I taught from there always sticks in my mind because after our tutorial, (I worked at Berlitz then and it was a private one-on-one class) I went out to my truck to leave and heard about the Murrah Building bombing. It’s odd the way we make connections, ain’t it?
The Turk invasion has returned, but only one flowery scarf with pins. The rest are male math teachers. I’m thinking that Turkey doesn’t have any male math teachers anymore. They are all in Houston. I’ll teach the one secular Turk this term (as I have for the last two), and so that should balance out any weirdness from the country Turks.
Since we now have an agent there, we’re getting lots more mainland Chinese. This is the one that I really have to force myself to be open-minded about. I’ve been burned more than once by mainlanders and this new crop of students don’t take their studies very seriously. What’s that stereotype? I haven’t seen evidence of it, that’s for sure.
Kazakhstan has made another strong showing. It’s a fairly large country and the mix, given years of Russification, is very interesting.
Then there’s the Angola-Brazil thing happening, too. I find it very interesting. I recruited in Brazil in 2001 (another story — it was October and I was the only one in our department willing to get on an airplane). One of our highest achieving students was from Angola. I still see her around at times.
Speaking of which, new terms always bring back former students. Yesterday, a former student from Morocco brought a relative to register. It was good seeing him. He’s one of the few Moroccans that have gone through our program with no problems. Another student, from Pakistan came by — he’s one of my favs. He started out very young and a bit of a problem, but I worked with him through our program, and he visited me after he was an academic student regularly. He has now graduated and has a job in another state. He’s the example I use of a model student; more particularly a model Muslim student. He did his school work and was faithful to his religion, without making a big deal out of it. During his first semester as an academic student, he would stop by my office with his friend from Lebanon (another stellar student and good example) to say hello just before going to prayers down the street. He knows I care about him and his success. He promised to be careful travelling. I hope some stupid American doesn’t mess with him.
We’ve also got some Latin Americans. Guatamala and Colombia spring to mind, oh, and Venezuela. They are mostly easy for me; I identify with them and they understand that.
And speaking of identifying — only one from Japan. Cats!!!! Shout out to you. (I need to write, I know.)