September 7, 2008

9/7/08 Taking a walk in UB

Yesterday, Tsetsgee quickly went over the coursework for my classes, giving me several of the teachers manuals so I could prepare for my lessons. While there are lesson plans already made for my Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate 1 classes, I am using some hand-written lesson plans from a previous teacher for the Intermediate 2 classes. I have 134 students at three levels in five classes that I teach twice a week. So, needless to say, I have been busy pouring over the manuals trying to grasp what it is I am teaching - tomorrow!

Bodhichitta helping me with my work

After spending countless hours last night and this morning, I decided to get out of the center and go for a walk. Ueli gave me a map with directions in English and Mongolian in case I got lost. That way all I had to do was show someone the map in order to find my way back. Ueli told me that when one visiting nun arrived, she got lost for four or five hours on her first walk out into the city. So, with the map firmly in my pocket I set out to 'see the city'.

Shendrup Ling, the FPMT Buddhist Meditation Center

My first surprise was to notice that the building right next door is a Mormon Church. I definitely didn't expect that. Across the street is the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts. I definitely want to take a long walk through there some day soon. And if you walk due east, you pass the National Museum of Mongolian History. Then I crossed the street to walk alongside the Parliament (Government) House, a very impressive modern building. Turn left and you can see the seated bronze Chinggis Khaan statue. I've been told that westerners pronounce the name wrong, it should begin with a 'ch' instead of a 'g' sound. And the statue looks out over Sukhbaatar Square. There are a lot of new buildings mixed in with the old. Almost all the people I saw were young and wearing jeans just like any American teenager. After that I retraced my steps back to the center. The weather was beautiful and I need to remind myself to get out more, especially before winter weather moves in.

Parliament House

Chinggis Khaan

Then it was back to books to prepare my lessons. This week's menu has me teaching about "the use of SHOULD", "Reported Speech", "IF statements", and the "Near Future Tense". But I still need to work on a few more. Being a teacher is a lot like being a student again.