Thursday, September 28, 2006

Today I had my first individual class with Olga Lopsonovna. She's the coolest teacher here, and I'm lucky enough to have her all but three lessons. She teaches the literature class for the 3rd-years (which I am taking) and got really excited when I said I was a lit major. Now I have an additional literature class with her every Thursday. The main class covers the 19th century, which is the "golden age" for Russian literature, but knowing that I'm interested in more modern readings, we're taking a look at 20th century writers in this little side adventure. It's nice to be taught one-on-one - if I have a question or tangent or random comment about life, she's all-ears.
And there's a plus-side to having her for most of my classes. She knows what we're covering in everything and tries to make it different when she has to repeat some information. The only class I really don't like with her is the decorative and applied art lesson on Mondays. It's not that the information isn't interesting - that part is fine. It's the rest of the class. They are the most obnoxious, ill-mannered group of assholes I've had to sit through class with in a long time. It's almost like being back in freshman year - of high school. I'm the only one in there who is 1) over 18 and 2) not Chinese. So when I walk in every Monday, I meet a really loud bunch of kids chatting a million miles a minute in Mandarin - which I don't understand a word of. And not just before class - during and after as well. Even after Olga Lopsonovna reprimanded them and told them how rude it is to speak in another language when there is someone there who doesn't speak it and you have a common language (Russian) ... which they need to be practicing anyway. That, and they don't do a damn thing to prepare for class. Our homework over the weekend was to read one page out of the text book. ONE PAGE! And they didn't do it. I feel like a TA sometimes - whenever they stare dumbing back a question from the teacher, she calming turns to me and says, "Please tell them the answer." Why come all the way to a Russian university to not bother with your studies. Sigh. At least I'm learning stuff, even if my classmates don't feel like doing the same.
I think that's why I'm doing this individual class with Olga Lopsonovna. Apparently most of the students she gets don't give a damn about literature and art, and are just taking the classes because it's a requirement of the program. I wouldn't want to be a teacher here - some of the students are so rude. But the city's great, and so is the country around it.
I'm heading to Listvyanka in the morning (just a day trip - have to be back for class on Saturday :-( ). I'll get some good pictures, I'm sure.
Ciao for now.

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