Last post, folks. I'm here to tell of my last two weeks of teaching.
The second to last week, I ran the classrooms, and my Co-teacher provided translation wherever needed. One of the activities I made up was a way for the students to tell the time. I would send one student up to the front of the classroom, and they would think of a time in their heads. With their arms acting as arms of a clock, they would show the class their time. I would then ask "What time is so-and-so?" And the students would try and respond to the correct time. I had to tell the clocks to think of more difficult times, because the class was getting the idea so quickly!
Once each student got to go up, and if there was any extra time, I would teach the students Hangman. I realize now that hangman teaches not only spelling, but classroom management. I would only call on the students sitting quietly and raising their hand. My once unruly and chaotic students have suddenly become well behaved! I should have done this months ago. Hangman would also teach students the subtle differences between English letters and how they are spoken. Oftentimes students will confuse 'c' for 's' or 'k' for 'c', or 'e' for 'i'. When saying the alphabet in Georgian, you don't say the name, but the sound. So ATM would be 'ahh tuh mm' I have needed to explain the importance of the difference, being as the sounds of the letters change, and can cause confusion if they are pronounced phonetically.
The reason why I have been playing games was to instill a bit of a legacy in my Co-teachers. I have often wondered how the English lessons will run when I'm gone. I hope my two Co-teachers will carry on with different lesson plans. If not, than I just taught my students games to play.
From teaching at the primary level, I realize just how little you learn at school. What is more important the student discovers how to learn, and the techniques taught to them will aid them when they finally settle down!
I am surprised at how many of my students have learned these past few months. My students are much more adept in carrying on a conversation. No longer do they keep to the basics, but can babble fluently, even if we throw in some Georgian vocabulary.
Walking home with of my students has been more of an impact when compared to the classroom. We are able to freely communicate about our surroundings. My walking companions are able to speak about their surroundings. They can converse about trees, oranges, mandarins, stones, snakes, flowers, butterflies...and cow poop! "What is it?" Asked one of my students, as he pointed to a fresh cow-patty in the road. Unable to refrain from ignoring him, I replied 'defecation.' The word soon spread to the rest of the students, and 'defecation' became the most English word of them all. Another question asked, "Taylor, what means Opo Gangnam style?" That question stumped me.
The last week of school had ended as the school had begun: a large chaotic mess where little learning was accomplished. I wouldn't call it a waste of time. This lack of classes was due to a end of the year concert performance. The children would put on singing, comedy, dance, and musical acts. Christmas themed, colorful, the whole school was decorated in a Christmas decor. Among the acts, two of my eighth grade students had requested me to teach them a Cha-Cha-Cha routine with some music. The past two weeks were spent finalizing the performance. Along with theirs, the staff and students wanted to see me dance, so I threw in a short Salsa routine as well with another one of my students.
When it came time for the concert, the school faculty and parents were in attendance. The concert went smoothly, and the acts were heartwarming and cute. The dances went well and got a good reaction out of the crowd. I'm so proud of my dance students! Together we introduced Latin dance into the village!
I wrote this message a month from when school ended. Since then, I was traveling in Turkey. This is a story in itself, and would distract the reader too much on the aims of the blog ( to highlight the travels and insight I gained while teaching and living in Georgia.) I went back to Georgia after the new year, to spend the rest of the time with my host family for a few days of celebrating Orthodox Christmas on the 6th. Although the final day was stressful, due to my bags being lost while in Turkey. I had to deal with one airline company while planning on how to get to Tbilisi before my flight. At the same time, I was giving my goodbyes and collecting souvenirs.
And that is the end of the blog. I hope you enjoyed reading about one English teachers experience in the Republic of Georgia. In sum, I've seen a peaceful regime change, had coffee with boarder guards, made my own wine, explored cave cities, learned a foreign language, gained teaching experience, met some awesome people, and saw a lot of history! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and sharing what I have seen with you all. If you ever are considering visiting Georgia or teaching English abroad, I highly recommend visiting this little part of the world.