The 10th graders, particularly the boys, enjoy activities that involve getting out of their chairs and looming over their teachers. Activities like, for example, tests. I wish I had one of those mallets from the Chucky Cheeze gopher game. I was team-teaching with Gulvira, who sighed, “What a boy!” as some kid with hair over his eyes stood over her. “What did she say? What did she say?” The kids asked me, because they know Gulvira is completely unresponsive. “Kandai bala,” I said translating into Kazakh, but my voice was soft and broken by my cold, and the boy misunderstood me and promptly bit the girl next to him. “Cannibal!” he cried gleefully. Kandai vocabulary.
And later the same day, they were coming to school for their afternoon lessons as I was coming for my mail, in jeans and hiking boots (I had been walking aimlessly just to be out on this ideal winter day). “Oh, Susan, Susan,” said pretty Moldir, hanging on someone’s arm. I’m not sure what she meant. Those girls make me feel a little bit like I’m the batty teacher with the big glasses in Clueless and they’re Emma and her friend.