I am teaching at a university but in a hazırlık or prep-year. Depending on the university and department in which you wish to study, a proficiency in English is necessary. Because the language programs in most high schools (much like in the US) are quite substandard, many students fail to pass the entrance exam. These otherwise qualified students are then relegated to the hazırlık where they receive 26 hours of English instruction per week for an entire academic year.
Nearly all the Fulbrighters from this year were sent to smaller cities with new universities. Namık Kemal opened, as far as I can tell, in 2006. The school expands greatly from year to year and is still under construction.
Many people have asked how the teaching is going. And, interestingly enough, its going quite well. My students are great and while they may only understand a portion of what I ask them to do, they are very enthusiastic. I am hoping this enthusiasm does not wane in the weeks and months to come, its the only thing that makes the teaching tolerable. Why is that, you ask?
As I mentioned, the university is quite new. In fact the building I teach in is not yet completed which makes for an outrageously loud academic atmosphere.
This is the view from one of my classrooms. Notice the boarded windows and the construction material strewn throughout.
The doors were quickly thrown up a day or so before classes start, some being put on backwards so they do not close (and cannot block out the sound of welding and drilling.) All the classrooms are missing a teacher's table or desk and many were made far too small to house the 25 students that each must hold. Every room lacks a window that actually opens, turning them into ovens, roasting both myself and the students in the afternoon sun.
I tried to put this all out of my mind, I tried not to be such a Debbie Downer but then my colleagues all spent an afternoon complaining as well with one so enraged that she dragged our Rector (something of a cross between a President and a Provost) down to see the situation. After spending no more than three minutes surveying the situation, he told her to calm down, that everything is fine, that she should stop complaining. I suggested she should have asked him to observe a day's worth of classes (where he could sit and roast in his three-piece suit) before passing judgement but it seems that this would have overstepped the lines of propriety.
Even the old buildings aren't safe from the construction crews. Our office building must be updated to become earthquake proof, but the government does not pay to re-build buildings but rather to alter them and their foundations. So, each year they knock down one of the walls, inserting some new foundational elements and then patch the wall back up. The effect looks something like this.
Notice the offices above, mine is on that first floor just to the right of the post. And yes, the building opens to the outside.
Its all been quite the adventure, really. And, let me say, once the classrooms are completed and the workmen go home, and the dust from the construction is finally cleared, the building will be magnificent. Its just the road to get there is already taking a toll. And its only day 4.