thanks for this Deborah! I lived abroad for many years, and taught English to a variety of audiences, although it was never my main day job, so I find these first-hand accounts fascinating.
What’s not clear from your story is, do you think that the harsh feedback from the school manager, or the resistance you got from your students, was an isolated incident, or was it typical of the culture of Istanbul and Turkey as you experienced it? I’m wondering if there was a cultural barrier due to your being American, or perhaps being female?
As for specific examples of cultural peculiarities, these abound in every culture. Your explanation of the Turkish “maybe” reminds me of Chinese culture —rather than say “Yes” outright, they have a range of expressions such as “no problem”, “possible”, “should be possible”, etc.