Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.”

Ok so quick update! Trying to catch up! 

Alright so first (about a month ago, I know I'm behind), it finally snowed in Tbilisi! I did not think that was going to happen! It had been snowing tons in other places around Georgia and was just seriously freezing here, but we finally got some! Needless to say I was just a bit excited! It had been way too long since I’d seen snow since it was such a mild winter at home. The family and I ventured out for a walk around our neighborhood area. Also of course, the kids and I had a snowball fight! Haha it was great! Then played football (soccer) in the pouring down snow!! So much fun! I was one happy girl!

A couple days later friend and I went on a day trip to Gori, known as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. When we first arrived it was snowing, but after about 10 minutes the sun came out. We walked around the town a bit then took a short ride to nearby Upleshikte, meaning fortress of the Lord. This is one of my favorite places in Georgia so far! It was incredibly cool! Its an ancient cave city that was quite a happening place 3000 years ago. It was founded in the 16th century BC and served as a stop along the Silk Road until the 15th century. It was so interesting! Being the off season we were the only 2 people there! So we had the whole place to ourselves! We explored and climbed around all in the all caves while also taking in the gorgeous surrounding views.

The following week was my littlest bro’s birthday! The night before the party I experienced shopping with the parents at the massive outdoor market in the city. I had explored it myself on a couple occasions but this was a memorable experience. It was neat to watch this process of shopping, and I mean it was quite the ordeal. There’s absolutely everything you could ever want or need. They went around buying mostly various fruits and vegetables. Also they got some chocolates, cookies, and they actually picked out a live fish from an aquarium to eat. Not something you see everyday!

That afternoon we all went to a closed amusement park. Yes everything was closed. I was just slightly confused. In my opinion, this is not a fun way for a 6 year old to spend his birthday.  He really wanted to go to McDonalds, but after the ridiculous amounts of cooking that had been happening that was no way an option.  So we walked around the park… it’s on the top of the mountain overlooking the city so there’s great views! This was basically photoshoot time for the family. It was crazy. After returning home, I finally got to help out in the kitchen for a little while! We finished getting the food ready then it was time to eat!!  It was delicious!! Also, I got to try home-made wine from the father’s family in the wine region of Georgia! Later, we danced for just a little bit, but most of the time was spent at the table. It was a great night!
         Alright, so teaching...I teach my family 3 nights a week. It's nice that I get to have complete control what I do with them versus the situation at school. It's great to be able to look over my CELTA notes and use what I've learnt along with doing new research.  It's such good practice to see ideas that work or not, to keep things in mind for future students, and planning and creating various lessons. Recently, the father is set on using these books they have. He is a challenge to deal with to say the least. He believes that he's going to be speaking some amazing kind of English after these 4 months are up. He doesn't realize at all the process of learning. It's become a struggle teaching at times. Some lessons are excellent and some not so much.

Anyway at school, it’s so fun to see how just the smallest activity can light up the day of the students! They just get so excited! From different games to songs to just me doing silly little things, they absolutely love it! These types of things are such a big change from typical styles of learning in the classrooms here. But once you show them the game EVERY single class they want to play it! Haha! They are so cute! It's definitely helping them though. I've done mostly games dealing with vocabulary. The teachers translate everything so the students barely hear English in the classroom. I talked to them about that so it's improved slightly for sure, but doing these has really helped the students learn English. It also displays for the teacher that saying everything in Georgian doesn't help the word stick in English. Many students could not recognize or remember even simple numbers and letters! These different methods of learning are so beneficial to the kids, it's really great! One of things that breaks my heart is to see how they separate the students by age and not by their English level. It's hard to watch some kids soaring through the book while others can barely read it all. It's a challenge for sure. There's just so much I want to do! I really just want to start all my classes over at the beginning of book 1 and go from there. It's difficult for me to express in words the exact situation in the school here. There is a lot I would like to change. It helps though to focus on all the things that have improved and changed over the past couple months and to see the progress and benefits of my presence here : )