Monday, January 14, 2013

School Life

Note: This (and a few other posts coming shortly) was written while I was still in Georgia, started way back in November in fact...I'm only posting it now (from the DR!) because life got busy and I'm kind of lazy.... here you go!

Working at a Georgian school is always an adventure. Today fireworks went off in the hall, my 3rd grade girls gave me love notes and I was forcibly cuddled by one of my special needs students.

Also, isn't this the cutest picture you ever saw? 
But why is the sun so concerned? 

Not only do I not speak the language, but the rules and, in fact, the entire culture and idea of education is entirely different from what I'm used to. Students are allowed to run screaming through the hallways. The younger ones continuously fight in the halls and the teachers just laugh at the cuties (it's not so cute when they run into you, however). Cheating isn't a concept here (it's called "helping") so giving tests is an entirely new experience. The older students stand in groups and try their best to not go to class on time. I actually saw a high schooler look annoyed at teacher as she tried to get around him in the hall, and SHE apologized to HIM.

In older classes having the phone out and texting is normal. But then again, so is missing school for days on end. And the fact that an 11th grader just got married, while definitely gossip worthy, was not unheard of.  The bell is rung by whoever walks by it and notices the time. It's often five minutes late. Electricity goes out fairly regularly, and then teachers bang two pieces of metal together to signal the end of classes. When the gas is out all the students sit in their giant winter coats and look more ready for a snowball fight than an English lesson.

It can be frustrating, all these differences. But I love my school, my fellow teachers, and especially all my students!

My students tell me they love me, give me group hugs, notes and necklaces they made themselves. My very favorite "gift" was when I entered my 6th grade class to be greeted by a choreographed "drum circle" rhythm (as they beat on the tables with their hands) and chanting.  My tiny first grader, Tamuka, helps me every day by telling the other children, very seriously, to be quiet. My 4th grade boys solemnly shake my hands and my 2nd graders hug me so fiercely I almost fall over. I am convinced this is love, and not just pent up energy and angry. Please don't tell me otherwise.

I will not miss having to explain cheating at every test, nor pulling apart play fights that become real fights every afternoon. But I will miss my students - their energy, playfulness and the love notes that they give me even when I've had to withhold star stickers! 

1 comment:

  1. Such adorable kids!
    I love hearing about the culture.