Friday, July 31, 2009

Public School in Azerbaijan

Public education for everybody is one of trademarks of a progressive society, yet the reputation of public school can be unfavorable. The public school we visited in Baku contradicted this unpopular reputation. The classrooms has been recently equipped with SmartBoards, which are projection screens that allow the teacher to use their computer via the board. When we observed English classes the teachers used their boards to keep students interactive with the material. The feel of the classrooms were very similar to the Heydar Aliyev School. The students were eager to answer and ready to speak in front of the class. A theme in the Azeri classes we have visited is the fast paced environment of the classroom. The students were preparing for the final exams, so the school was quite empty. We got to tour the new gym facilities, which were outstanding. We were all impressed with the large classrooms and the teachers.

I saw something in this pubic school that I have not seen before that I liked. There are certain days that teachers sit in on other teachers’ class, so that they can give them feedback about their lesson. This helps teachers to keep improving all of the time with the help of their colleagues.


Hospital Visits

SURPRISE! I ended up in a hospital. Even bigger surprise: they took incredibly good care of me. No one knows what to expect when they visit a foreign emergency room, but I hadn’t even heard of this country until last December, so my knowledge of the nation, let alone the medical system, was entirely limited – so much that I didn’t know if someone would poke at me with sticks, or if I would be wrapped in golden blankets. I mean, who really knows?

I do. And, shockingly, my experience was more like the second option. Of course, nothing gilded was involved, but not only did I get my own room, I got a team of doctors and nurses, a medical examination, and a CORRECT evaluation the first time around. They attached me to an IV and I immediately felt better. I had to return three times for further treatment, and then I was strong enough to continue treatment by antibiotics after that. Funny enough, one of the medications they prescribed is only available in four Middle-Eastern countries. Pff FDA ShmeFDA, it worked for me! The only unfortunate piece of the experience was that my insurance was not accepted in their system, so we had to pay cash up front and file for insurance once I got home.

-- Katelyn