My name is Teacher

Three weeks ago I finally submitted the huge translation project I had been working on since we arrived to Kayseri. I was all geared up to update my LinkedIn profile, build an online portfolio and start looking for a job in earnest, when my fairy godmother in the face of my brilliant friend Jenny waved her magic wand and arranged for me to have an interview in the university where she is working. After 2 interviews I had a job offer! I was hired as an English Instructor for the English Preparatory Program, same as Michael. This program is compulsory for all students before they start their first year of university and aims to prepare students for studying in English medium in their chosen field. In Turkish this is called Hazırlık – literally Preparation.


In addition to teaching at the English Preparatory Program, I also teach faculty courses. This semester I`m teaching Academic Writing to 2nd year students

There are 800 students studying and nearly 60 teachers working in Hazırlık. I am one of 10 or so foreign teachers. So far I am really happy with everything. The university is private and has grown considerably in the 4 years since its foundation. In fact, a new building just for the English Preparation Program and the School of Foreign Languages which we are a part of is being built, or rather it has been built and is being finished and hopefully will be ready for us to move in the next few weeks. For now we are in temporary offices in the building of the Faculty of Science and Letters. My colleagues are great and I am looking forward to getting to know them better.

In our new building, every classroom is equipped with SmartBoards and I`m really excited about using them!


Students and teachers of the English Preparatory Course during orientation.

1229865_752143151466007_1088468290_nThe university buildings are new, spacious and light. The grounds are beautiful, with lavender, roses and…  rabbits. That’s right, there are cute bunnies grazing on the dazzling green lawns.


UYK1Q_v7bbU wdXuCtPFPOM oe8YJHQ2biw IZ63qs08O4g 20130919_125539 20130919_125548And one of the best perks? We get free delicious  lunches made by an actual chef! Who by the way serves the lunches himself every day. They are fairly healthy, usually with a lentil or yoghurt soup, rice and a meat or bean dish. There’s always freshly baked bread, sometimes there’s yoghurt sauce, dessert or a piece of fruit and water packaged in little plastic cups like they serve on Turkish airlines.

DSC_0029This was my favorite lunch so far: stewed lamb with rice and a fresh salad. DSC_0027 DSC_0026 DSC_0025 DSC_0024n Turkish, when you want to thank somebody for a meal, you say ‘elinize sağlık’, which literally means ‘health to your hands’. I think it’s lovely! I said it to our cafeteria chef the other day to thank him for our amazing lunch of melt-in-your-mouth slide-off-the-bone lamb and yoghurt soup. DSC_0021

This was the second favorite: doner-style chicken with rice, lettuce and pickles DSC_0016 DSC_0017 1236948_10151957683834048_1421509158_nAnd the story behind the name of this post? My students call me Teacher (the way they say it makes me want to capitalize it). As in: Why didn`t anyone bring a pen to a writing class? – Sorry, teacher! Sometimes they use the Turkish word for teacher, Hocam (pronounced ho-jam). Teachers also call each Hocam, sometimes with a name – Yulia Hocam. Coincidentally, a respectful form of address in Turkey, similarly to Mr. is Bey. So you would call your elders or superiors Michael Bey. For women it’s Hanım. On the first day I was listed at Yuliya Hanım in the timetable since the assistant director didn`t have my surname yet.


Image | This entry was posted in EFL, Expat life, Kayseri, Teaching, TESOL, Turkey, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to My name is Teacher

  1. Uncle Spike says:

    Hayırlı olsun hocam… My wife is faculty at our state university; a world apart from private by the looks of it.


  2. Bosmosis says:

    I teach English in South Korea, and much of your experience sounded familiar to me. I am also addressed as “teacher” or “John Teacher”. As an American, I always tell them they can use the less formal “John” but they never take me up on it.

    I also blog about life as an expat, as a teacher, and as someone who tries to navigate and understand cross-cultural issues, and am trying to connect with other bloggers interested int he same things. Please drop by if you have a chance.

    Good luck in your new job!


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