Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Day at Innopolis Boot Camp

Innopolis, Tatarstan, Russia

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Innopolis, but I didn't go into much detail about what I was doing there. Let me tell you, it was a lot. I worked at a bootcamp that prepared incoming students for the school year at Innopolis. Since Innopolis is built on the American university model many of the Russian students weren't prepared for how the university would function. Also, all classes are taught in English, so it was important that they practiced their English skills. I'm not really sure how the day functioned for the students but I know they were busy from 9-9. I'll just focus on what the bootcamp English teachers did.

Since I was still on Ufa time (2 hours ahead of Moscow time) I tried waking up around 7:00 am every day. I'm one of those people who feels really productive if I start my day early even though I like sleeping in until about 10. I'd go to breakfast around 8-8:15. Afterwards, I'd go to my dorm room and either hang out for a little bit or go right up to my classroom where I'd prepare what I needed for the day. We got our first groups from 11:50-1:20. We had an hour break for lunch and some of the English teachers would meet together for lunch in one of the university canteens. Then we got our second groups from 2:20-3:50. We would see the same two groups for one week then switch groups with our local Russian teachers for the second week. Twice a week the native teachers were required to teach a workshop which usually lasted from 4-5:30. Then the rest of the night was ours to hang out, go to the gym, or travel to Kazan.

The native teachers were told to focus on reading and speaking and the local teachers focused on listening and note-taking. Since Innopolis is an IT school we were supposed to focus on IT and technology. It was the first time I got to feel like a real teacher and I loved it. At my job in Ufa I only focus on speaking and it's so hard especially when you feel like a substitute. I finally got to put into practice what I learned back in Cincinnati. We did 4 corner debates, socratic seminars, jigsaw activities, presentations, and we even played Jeopardy the second week. Of course we did other things like learn how to annotate notes and summarize articles, but it was great being about to make lessons that scaffold off one another and feel like I had some real responsibility.

As I mentioned earlier twice a week the native teachers ran different workshops based on different themes. I didn't really know what to do, so I focused on American TV shows. I made a worksheet with previewing, viewing, and post-viewing questions. I had three shows prepared, but the discussions took more time than I thought so we really only focused on two shows. I chose The Office because I feel like it is a good example of American humor and because it isn't very popular in Russia. Russians love Friends, but I hate Friends, so I showed How I Met Your Mother because I love that show and I feel like it was a good alternative to Friends. Finally, I had an episode of The Simpson's entitle Simpson's Tide which I chose based solely on the fact that there is a scene where the United Nations realizes the Soviet Union never broke up. You can watch the clip here.

What are your favorite television shows?

1 comment

  1. The building looks pretty cool and the bootcamp sounds interesting.


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