Teaching English as a Foreign LanguageKaratau Lyceum

I taught EFL and Computer Keyboarding for two years here.

I remember the first day I met my students at the Karatau Lyceum. I had no idea what to think of them. I had a really group of students during my training in Kapchagay. Would they be the same in Karatau.

If you had met my host country counterpart, Sharizat, you would also have been nervous. She was so quiet during her visit to Kapchagay. She barely spoke to me. Ruth's counterpart from Taraz, Lyazzat, spoke more to me than Sharizat. She and Ruth were both concerned as they got off the train in Zhambyl (newly named to Taraz). Lucky for me, as we were taking the train from Taraz to Karatau, Sharizat opened up and then she started asking questions.She was just a bit shy with her English. Her English was very good.

Oh, my Kazakh Grade 6 -8 students were great students too.

Read the captions for my story about these images. None of these pictures were edited.

I am with Sharizat, my host country national, in Kapchagai, Kazakhstan
It took me awhile but I knew I had one photo of Sharizat. As I mentioned above, we did not speak much when she visited Kapchagai. She was completely different once we arrived in Karatau. I wish I had more photos of Sharizat but I remember she was a bit camera shy.
Karatau Students in Winter, 1997
Here is my favorite photo of all my Peace Corps experience in Karatau. These are some of my students. The photo was taken on October 31, 1997, on the anniversary of the Lyceum at the Palace of Culture. I love this photo so much that it became the site logo for this website.
Karatau Lyceum in Winter, 1997
This was during the harsh winter of 1997. This is the main entrance to the Karatau Lyceum. It got so cold my first year that our lessons had to be shortened from 45 minutes to 30 minutes due to a lack of heat in the school.
1998 classroom at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This was my classroom and English Club. \Yes, that was an advertisement of an early Apple Powerbook on the wall. I wish I had one during my two years in Kazakhstan. Notice the ABC sign above? It has to be the first one in Kazakhstan with the correct American pronounciation for the letter Z (zi).
My classroom rules at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
I was very strict during my Peace Corps days. You could easily calculate your daily grade in my class. During the late 1990s, I could enforce my classroom rules and grades. Parents listened to the teachers then. When I returned to teaching in Kazakhstan in 2013, this changed, teachers had to listen to the parents.
My American wall at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This was my American wall. I was an airline buff so I brought with me many pictures of airliners that I aleady had. Of course I had a picture of Seattle and San Diego (US Marines are there) as well.
My Japan and World wall at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This was my Japan and World wall. I also had my US and Kazakhstan flag in hanging too but I had to take them down. Eventually I was forced to remove everything from the wall due to complaints. I sent all these items to the Rose Kaplan School in Taraz instead. I really miss this designed classroom.
Ainura and Aizhan, my host sister at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
Meet Ainura and Aizhan. Aizhan is my Kazakh host sister. Ainura was my student who later worked for Air Astana and then Qazaq Air. She helped me a lot when I returned to Kazakhstan in 2013.
Grade 6 and their homeroom teacher at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This is a class photo with the Grade 6A students and their homeroom teacher, Raihan. Raihan and I got back into touch on Facebook a year ago.
Grade 6B students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This is the Grade 6B class in my classroom. I met several of these students in 2013-2013. I really like this photo since I had a picture of Riskul (girl student on the right) in this photo. When I returned to Karatau in August, 1998, I had been gone a couple months. The week I returned I had to attend Riskul's funeral. It is an experience I still remember today since she was the first student, and so far only, to pass away. Riskul never smiles though you can see why the photo made me a bit emotional.
Grade 6A students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
Grade 6A students again. They were my best English students while I was teaching at the Karatau Lyceum.
Grade 7 students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
These were my Grade 7/8 students. Dana, standing behind the front boy on the left, is a singer in Kazakhstan. She has a great voice and was my best student at the Karatau Lyceum.
Grade 7 Twins at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
Aisulu and Nursulu Grade 7 students. At one time I could tell them apart. They are on my Facebook now with their sister, Aknur.
My Grade 8/9 students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
Ah, my favorite Grade 8/9 students. They made my two years interesting. They all studied hard. Three of the students in this photo met with me in Almaty when I returned in 2013.
My Computer Programming Students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
This was one of my favorite classes. I got to teach Computer Keyboarding after the Asian Development Bank gave a loan so Kazakhstan could equip schools with computers. The students really liked this class.
More computer students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
I was lucky in that I was able to convince the School Director, who happened to be my host father, to allow me to teach Computer Keyboarding to other schools in Karatau. These were some of the students that came from Pushkina and the Gymnasium.
Other computer students at the Karatau Lyceum (Karatau, Kazakhstan)
Some more students in my computer class. They were using Mavis Beacon's Typing course.
This was the Last Bell at the Karatau Lyceum in June, 1999.
The Last Bell at the Karatau Lyceum in June, 1999, and my last one. I would leave Kazakhstan the next month.
Grade 9 students final picture.
My final picture with my Grade 9 students in June, 1999.
I met with my former students at the Karatau Lyceum in November, 1999.
I was able to make a side trip to Karatau in November, 1999, on my way to Talas, Kyrgyzstan. I met with some of my former Kazakh students who were in Grade 9 at the time.
Meeting my former students at the Karatau Lyceum in October, 1999.
These were my last pictures with my former Kazakh students, in Grade 10 at the time. We are still connected on Facebook.

My famous Kazakh student

One of my students, Dana Mahanbaeva, is a famous Kazakh singer now. I was surprised at how good of a singer she became. Watch her video below:

Last edited on: June 7, 2021.