Friday, September 17, 2010

First Days of School

First Days of School

The first three days of school have been…interesting.  The first day began with walking into school as the school director was handing out awards over a PA system that was louder than most rock concerts.  I was interrupted by the screaming sound system by the smell of cigarette smoke coming from parents who were standing inside the school with their children.  It is apparently okay for parents and even students to smoke inside the school and all around the grounds. 

I have been shocked to see that so many of the students have been taking English for more than a year but when you ask a simple “What is your name?” the student asks the teacher in Georgian what I was saying.  The simple question, or so it would seem, of what is your name is finally answered in shockingly poor fashion of “ummm mi naume Gio.”  This is such a basic phrase that I think that if I can say what my name is in Georgian that the students who have taken English for a year should easily be able to answer what their name is in English. 

I worry about gaps in those who know and speak English well and those who sit in the back of the room and seem to be content with just sitting.  I have targeted these, underperformers, as those that I will focus extra attention on.  This group of students is male dominated and the older the student the more sitting in the back of the class they desire to be.  I had one class of Level 12, or Seniors, on Friday.  The class had 12 or 14 students in the class and later I found out that only 3 or 4 desired to attend university.  This is an important fact because those who desire to attend university must score high on the national English exam to get into the university that they desire. 

I attended school 3 days this week and had 8 classes with 3 different level of student.  I found that the 9th grade students had the poorest behavior, the 6th grade students absorbed information like a sponge, and the 12th graders cared about English but found the passages of their books so boring that they cared less.

September Summary

I apologize for the delay in blogging.  Here is a summary of what I have been doing before and during school.  I will blog separately about school.  The past week or more has been slightly uneventful.  I have been slightly busy taking TLG volunteers across the border to Turkey to show them how to obtain a visa and also how to get to the Istanbul Bazaar.  The Istanbul Bazaar is a small scale mall but is very Western.  The IB opened a few months ago and has stores that resemble American stores.  You can clearly see by the clothing which stores are American Eagle, GAP, Victoria Secret, and Dollar General.  The number one reason why people go to IB though is the Burger King.  The Burger King is just like any BK from home but is the closest thing to Western style fast food around.  McDonald’s just opened a location in Kutaisi around 100 kilometers from Kobuleti but it is much closer for people to cross into Turkey and go to Burger King.  The pursuit is less about going to Burger King but more about obtaining a source of large amounts of protein whether it is beef or chicken.  My worst crossing was last weekend when I went with my friend from New Zealand.  We waited in line for over 2 hours just to cross into Turkey.  I have become friends with the Turkish border guards.  A few remember my face and tell me to show my friends where the visa office is instead of them having to give directions.  I will make the journey again tomorrow to take another group of people to Turkey.