Our host teacher keeps us busy – not a minute is allowed to be wasted! We began the day co-teaching a lesson to her English classes. We introduced new words and worked with the students on their assignments. Many were shy (this was an 8th grade class) but when we observed and worked with the younger ones later in the morning, they were much more outgoing. Each classroom is heated with a wood fire and because it’s cold, most students keep their coats on. The warmth of their smiles makes up for the cool temperature in the rooms.
Naturally, because we had an hour free, Nana arranged for us to visit the Church of All Saints which was built in the 7th century. This is a beautiful Orthodox church and the legend that accompanies the construction is wonderful.
Upon our return, we were once again serenaded by students and welcomed by the faculty and administrators. There is only one male teacher in the school and this is normal for Georgia. The pay is very low and isn’t enough to support a family. Most, if not all, teachers also tutor in order to make ends meet. We gave our presentation regarding the US system of education and answered teacher questions.
We see many similarities in the goals of education in Georgia with the US, but sadly, they do not have the resources yet.
We ended the day after we attended a traditional Georgian dance performance. Georgia is a country with many faces – modern and traditional. Horses are hobbled outside of the school and cows graze near monuments. Chickens roam the streets along with the ever-present dogs, while everyone has a cellphone. One of our coordinators explained that in the 1990’s people were starving to death and most didn’t have electricity. Since the civil war ended in the mid-1990’s, things have improved and the people are determined to continue to bring great changes to their country.