4th Year Russian

Dec 2010

I would say 'I recommend this class and Mara to lovers of Russian', but the fact of the matter is: you haven't really got a choice. If you make it to 4th year Russian, Mara WILL be your teacher. She's the only one. And she's brilliant. You should be glad you get her as a teacher. She's interesting, passionate, and with a wealth of knowledge and experience to which you can have essentially unrestricted access, if you approach her. And she is oh so approachable. Really, she's extremely friendly, both inside and outside of the classroom. That being said, all the reviews which say that this class is A LOT of work are absolutely true. The readings can be difficult, class discussion may be a bit overwhelming, the "socheneniya" can be demanding. If you're looking for an easy 4 credit A, this is not the course for you. It's tough. But it's worth it.

Aug 2009

Mara teaches Russian the way it should be taught-- Hours upon hours of hard work backed up by a supporting and understanding professor. Don't be deterred by the workload. Really, it's good for you.

Nov 2006

I just want to say that this class is A LOT of work. It makes life a little bit rough. Sometimes I think about what a drag it is that there is so much work. There is so much, really, a lot. so much work.

May 2005

So... you think you've made it this far, and Russian will be a piece of cake!? WRONG. Kashper makes sure everyone works their ass off for the semester, and although she's easy on the due dates, you'll be up to your ushi in work. I can safely say that this class took up 1/3 of my homework time. Granted, you will learn a lot, but she's the hardest grader in the Slavic department and it will begin to get to you. I actually found her to be a delightful lady and I liked her style of getting everyone engaged (don't like the Socratic method? don't take this class). She's approachable and friendly, and invited us to cultural events outside of class, including an end-of-semester dinner.

May 2005

The long and short of it is: this class is a lot of work to no end. Work must be justified, it must lead to progress. A small class that always starts late and always ends late: the professor acts as if hers were the only class in the world. She assigns work according to this standard. There is no concrete syllabus: she makes it up as she goes and revises it even as it's printing, I swear. Flexibility is good, but anarchy is not. The verb book she uses (Muravyova) is old and good, but in this will do the same five exercises over and over because the professor has forgotten whether you did them (aloud) already...and she will pass it off as review that she intended in the first place. You read one text the entire semester - Nedelia kak nedelia (A week like any other). The idea is to learn all the vocab really well...the reality is you are bored out of your mind discussing, three times a week, the reasons why the heroine does not have any time...and how do we know that her husband loves her? The text has no literary value but it suits Prof. Kashper's political agenda. (Topics for the final presentation were such: Children and careers, family relations, abortion: for or against; feminism: for or against. Granted, this class is taught at Barnard...but the biased abuse of feminism, I daresay...has no place in the University, especially in a language class. I learned about human nature in this class - esp. from the way the other students were cowed by the professor and confessed that they would do anything for her...that she was an ice queen whom time would melt. She never treated me as anything other than an unserious school girl. She could not remember - although there were all of five girls in the class - whether I went to Columbia or Barnard; in fact she fondly generalized about "we Barnard women" - God forbid a boy should sign up for this class; he'd lose his mind, except she would probably ironically choose him as her favorite. And she mispronounced my name all the time.