More and more of my life is moving away from school itself which is sad because that is the reason I am here in the first place. I find myself making plans that take up all of my day every day, and this leaves little time for creative lesson planning. To be honest, I need to put a little more effort into that aspect of teaching, but it is difficult because I have been given such a background role in the classroom that it almost feels like it isn’t my place to do such things. I mean I think that my presence is beneficial, for sure, but it is a little disheartening to know that I could be doing more. On the plus side, I spend a lot of time with my students outside the classroom, and I know that this is great for their English. I know a lot of the other teachers do not do such things, so perhaps I am filling a little of the teaching void with extracurricular focus. Nevertheless, I love my school, my co-teachers and my students – I just want to give them my best.
I think part of the reason I feel slightly underused is that I am only working 12-15 hours a week. When I put that on paper it really sounds awful because thousands of dollars have been paid to bring me here and be in the classroom. This really isn’t my fault though because I just happen to be placed at a really small school, so there are simply fewer lessons to teach. Some of the other American teachers have to turn away classes and teachers altogether because they simply can’t satisfy everyone. I work with all the teachers and grade levels (that are learning English: 4-12), and it is rewarding to walk the halls and recognize everyone from class. The cool thing about working so little is that I am able to do more outside the classroom, and I planning on taking on a couple additional students to tutor (no charge) besides the ambassador’s son. I am excited about this, but I need to tread carefully because Georgian English teachers often rely on tutoring to supplement their income and I don’t want to hurt my co-teachers.
On top of school and tutoring, I have really been doing a lot. I went to get Thai food last night which was nice. I asked for the spiciest rendition of the dishes I ordered. I was expecting to be blown away because doing this at a Thai restaurant can be dangerous; however, it was only fairly spicy, but it satisfied my need for an exciting taste… Georgian food is getting a little bland. What sucked was that the portion sizes were way too small so I ended up getting another dish. Part of this is that I am not getting fed at home, so I am absolutely starving all the time, but, honestly, I don’t think I’ll go again because the small plate wasn’t worth the price. I also have been playing a lot of soccer and I am getting pretty good! The bad thing is that this dirties my clothes quickly, and I am only supposed to do a load every 2 weeks; also, I can only shower every 3 days, so I have to sponge bathe afterwards. But such is life in Georgia.
I have decided that America is, in fact, the best country in the world, albeit my sample size is only 3 countries (The Republic of Georgia and Peru). We supply much of the world with music, entertainment and hope. I know that I would not get the same sentiments if I were in a major country, but people here love America. Everyone wants to live in New York, learn English and live the dream. As much as I love travel and other cultures, there is no doubt in my mind that I want to have my life in America. We follow traffic laws, we have foods from around the world, we have beautiful women of all races, we have easy access to the arts and entertainment, and Americans love America – this optimism and confidence is beautiful because many people in the world simply do not like where they come from. I am not in a rush to get home or anything, but I am simply proud to be an American.
I hope you all have boring, awful weekend plans so it will be even more painful when you read how exciting mine are. I am having a suphra tonight at my friend James’ house, and then I am going to a student’s house to do the same (back to back baby!). On Saturday, I am going on a day-trip to Southern Georgia where there are these really old, cool monasteries. This is my first time travelling around the country, so I am stoked about that! I will take some pictures and post them asap. When we get back, I am going to meet up with Tata and her friends to go to a German bar and listen to live rock music. Then, on Sunday, I am going to get a haircut (exciting right?) and go to my friend Jessica’s house to Suphra with her entire family. I have really been playing up the fact that my family doesn’t feed me, so I plan on milking these invites for everything they are worth. So far, my plan has been effective, and I am excited to let everyone know how much fun I had eating, drinking and singing with Georgian families.
Oh yeah, a random rant about my family. I love them and they are great people, but I sort of got the shaft. Yesterday, my host mom told me in really bad English that she wanted to go “walk” and I was cool with that because I had a few hours before I was heading out. It turns out she wanted me to go “work” and do some yard work. If it was weeding or something, I really wouldn’t mind, but they are totally re-landscaping their shared yard area. She handed me a pick and set me to work on breaking up and removing an old concrete slab. That is seriously hard work man, and I couldn’t believe the family that I am paying 100 Lari a month for and receiving less than one meal a day from would have me do this. I don’t think I have ever said no to anyone if they asked me to do something, and I realize that I should probably refuse to do such manual labor; however, I did it, and I think I will be asked to do more in the future. I guess those free suphras with other families are coming at a price… haha