Posted by: Stephanie | August 25, 2010

I like chocolate. I like carrots.

At our school, the students purchase books to supplement classroom work. The first book, New Headway Elementary, is split into 3 classes – Beginner, Elementary 1 and Elementary 2. I’ve decided I hate teaching Elementary 1 during Ramazan.

Ramazan started two weeks ago now, right when I was nearing the end of an E1 course. One of the last units to cover talks about countable and uncountable nouns. Countable nouns are thing you  can — count. You ask for two cups of coffee. Cups are countable, coffee is not. We generally don’t say “two coffees, please.” Anyway, the easiest way the book has found to teach these noun is by food. This unit is chock full of exercises that talk about favorite foods, speaking exercises about food, readings about how people around the world eat food.

Sunset in Kirkkonaklar

Waiting for Sundown

The unit tends to make people hungry no matter what time of the day or year I’m teaching it. However, during Ramazan, it seems to be particularly painful. Who wants to talk about food for 4 hours when one is fasting?!

Another note on fasting and Ramazan – students seem keen on getting Andy and I to fast. I think, to these students, Ramazan and fasting is more about the iftar, the breaking of the fast after sundown, than it is about being religious. It certainly is a family event to some. A family across from our apartment always have the iftar on their balcony, and we hear them out there as a family for a couple hours each night. Being invited to fast is not something I had entirely expected. It did lead to conversations and comparisons to Lent in Christianity. And I do like drinking water in this heat.

By the way, water is uncountable.



  1. Just to be clear, you can drink water while fasting, right?

    • Anna, no, not during the day. A lot of people actually aren’t fasting for that reason – with the ridiculous temperatures we had last week and before, it was dangerous to go without water. Well, I don’t know how many of them would have, no matter what the weather was like.

      So they aren’t supposed to eat or drink. The Turkish word for drink also applies to cigarettes (You “drink” a cigarette) so they technically can’t smoke either during the day.

  2. Wow they are hardcore! Does that mean lots of restaurants are closed during this time? Because it would suck to be the cook in a restaurant while trying to fast.

    • Kali, it depends on the area. I would say the majority of the population in Ankara isn’t fasting so restaurants stay open here. They do all have Ramazan specials though.

      I just read an article about a conservative neighborhood in Istanbul. Apparently the residents there are pretty forceful about getting restaurants in that area to close during the day.

  3. They also have drums every night around 3am. Guys go through neighborhoods banging on drums to wake people up — I don’t know why they don’t just use alarm clocks. I haven’t heard them the last two nights but for a week straight, I would wake up at 3am with the drums. rar.

  4. […] as countable and uncountable nouns.  Stephanie mentioned this unit a few months back in her post: I like chocolate.  I like carrots.  It does tend to make students hungry.  I was teaching this unit last Wednesday and we were […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: