Students here are not so different from those at home, with the exception that here they have a teacher who cannot speak their language. Khovd University serves most of western Mongolia, and although I read before I came that "Khovd is rural even by Mongolian standards," I suspect that it was not a Mongolian who was doing the writing. A look at the map will show exactly three dots the size of Khovd in all of the far west region, so by Mongolian standards, once you exclude Ulaanbaatar, Khovd is not rural but urban.
My students are from Khovd, but also from the far edges of the region—western Buyan-Olgy; northern Uvs; southern Gobi Altay. One student is from Ulaanbaatar, urban by anyone's standards. Many live in gers. Their parents are farmers and herders and taxi drivers, so that it seems their education comes to them by achievement and desire rather than wealth.
Teaching Mongolians, it turns out, is not all that different than teaching Americans, for even when speaking with commonly understood words, it is a struggle to get some concepts across. I do more acting here, and have done more drawing with chalk than I have ever done. (Students, embarrassed for me, bring me damp towels to wipe off the clouds of dust that have become part of my wardrobe.) And despite their surroundings, the students here are well practiced in the universal language of teacher annoyance—texting in class.