Almaty's "well kept secret" sanatorium

Jun 29, 2008, 8:44 PM |

Yelena and gardenssanatoriumchess pieces

About 200 English teachers from all over Central Asia were at a conference this past weekend in Almaty at the Alatau sanatorium. I especially enjoyed meeting those from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan since they come from some real hardship posts.  Many difficulties to get their necessary paperwork done because some of their governments are rather suspicious of conferences such as this. 

Some of those teachers I spoke with were SOOOOO very grateful for this opportunity to be exposed to learning new strategies on how to teach reading and writing in English better.  Andrea Schindler did an amazing job pulling this conference off as a Regional English Language Officer with her office and staff up in Astana. Yelena and I felt VERY privileged of the few of us who came from Almaty to take part as presenters and participants in this Central Asian Teachers of English conference.  I met many wonderful people and Yelena saw her Kazakhstani friends from years ago when she used to be president of TEA (Teachers of English Association). 

My friend and co-presenter, Yelena kept saying, as only a native Russian speaker can with her stress and intonation, “I LIKE this conference!”  Heavy emphasis on “LIKE” which almost made it seem like two words rather than one.  Yes, I did too and I felt the money was well spent by the U.S. government on deserving teachers who are dedicated to the craft of teaching. I also believe that the setting is one of Almaty’s well-kept secrets!