"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I Get to Be Here

I suppose that maybe I should at least mention my kids.

After all, teaching them is the reason I'm able to be here, a billion trillion miles away from my commute, hummus, and the ability to watch my Caps choke yet again on a Stanley Cup playoff run.  Seriously, what the hell Caps?

During Orientation in Tbilisi, four veteral volunteers came to the hotel one evening and spent a couple hours chatting with us about their experiences -- the good and the bad.  I am so glad that the program thought to organize that, because hearing everything the volunteers had to say was extremely helpful when remarkably similar situations popped up for me already.

Georgian schoolchildren are... loud.  The level of loudness varies drastically according to class and to teacher, but pretty much every class is several decibles above anything I remember from my own days in school.  Teaching (or attempting to teach) in this environment is not the easiest.  Most of the kids are very excited and happy to have me around, especially the younger ones.  This definitely doesn't stop them from talking, shouting, laughing, teasing and fighting with each other.  I've been at this gig for a week now, and so far have yet to really settle in.

My co-teachers are all incredibly nice and patient and friendly, but they are also all quite busy and also very much used to teaching the way they have always taught -- solo.  So far the integration process has been slow, and again, varies greatly depending on the teacher and class.  I can see a lot of potential here, and would like nothing more than to take a more active role.  I suppose the fact that I'm coming in so close to the end of the year is not helpful either.  I imagine that beginning a sememster with setting down certian ground rules and establishing a routine early would count for a lot.

I am teaching mostly middle school, which is ironic as middle school was probably the most miserable time of my life, barring of course the recent years at my DC job. :)  Middle schoolers are just as much a giant pain in the you-know-what as I remember.  Add the general loudness and excitement over a shiny new thing (me), and you have pretty much a perfect storm for a 40-minute session where not a whole lot gets accomplished.

But I don't forget that these kids are the reason that I'm here.  For that alone, I want to give them my best.  I hope I actually get to teach a few of them something.


  1. So you're not yet doing the summer camp thing? Or is this the summer camp?

  2. Did you ever pick up those teaching books? They can be extremely helpful, but maybe not so much if you're in a last-month-of-the-school-year situation.

    I also thought you were doing a summer camp thing.

    Remember: "Focus." :)

  3. Mary, I loved your last two entries. Each day will bring delights and challenges - embrace them all.

  4. You can do it! I believe in you!

  5. Meg -- I never did get those books! Tried to connect with them a few times but it didn't happen. I'm wishing I had them now. For reals.

    "Focus" -- haha! I will definitely tell you the first time I pull that out with my students.

  6. Well, use your experience in this first month to figure out what exactly it is you need to figure out, then get the books shipped out to you over the summer, perhaps.

    I frequently use "Focus" in the classroom, and think of you every time. :)