Educational System, Republic of Georgia, Teaching

Teacher Christmas

Today, I was attempting to leave the teacher’s room to go teach a class. However, I was having some problems getting out of the room.

At about 2:30, I shut down my laptop and put it away. I needed to review my plan for the coming class. A subtle cough by another teacher drew the attention of the local English teacher. The other teacher wanted to use my laptop and modem. Sigh.

I bought a modem and pay for Internet each month so I can use it at home. I bring it to school so that I can work, or at least play, in the frequent gaping holes in my schedule. Today it was a 3 hour gap. But the danger is whenever I bring the modem to school, everyone wants to use. I am aware of how much I owe the teachers at my school. I really cannot imagine refusing unless I had an excellent reason for doing so. Like, like . . . I can’t even think of a reason that would be grounds for saying no. So with a suppressed sigh, I pulled it out and set it up again.

At 2:50, ten minutes before my lesson, they were connecting desks together and all the leftovers from a dinner we had for some guests yesterday were reappearing. Uh-oh. Time to leave the room. If I stayed, they would make me eat. I was hungry, but I would eat after class at home. Fresh food. Not food that had been sitting in the school all night. (See two posts ago). I left the room to go look for the parents who should be coming. I needed to direct them to the new room we would meet in. (Another story).

From the window I saw that the parents were coming up the road. I ran back upstairs to go get my things. However, I had left them in the teacher’s room. Big mistake. When I ran back into the teacher’s room to get them, the table had been assembled. Sit, sit Amy! Eat, eat! I explained. Thank you, but no. I have the parents’ lesson. Oh no, eat first, then go. Yes, eat! Eat! Gah. No getting around it. I sat and ate two small spoonfuls of Georgian potato salad, a spoonful of beets, a spoonful of cabbage salad, and a small piece of khachapuri. I was seconds from jumping up and exiting the room when the dreaded beverage appeared. Some of the worst wine I have had in Georgia. I tried to leave it there. I really did. But then the teacher who provided the wine is like “Drink Amy! Drink!”. Gah. I threw it back and ran out before anything else could be forced on me.

Halfway out the door, the Assistant Principal stops me. Oh man. I am already late for the parents’ lesson because of the food hold-up. Come to the director’s office, she says. Yikes. What did I do? I cautiously follow her in. And then it was suddenly, unexpectedly . . . . teacher Christmas!

On the table were several boxes of Unicef teaching supplies: chalk, crayons, pencil sharpeners, tape, colored blocks, rulers, notebooks, pens, and (the best part) little slates. My heart stopped. Is that? Could it be? Oh my God it is. Little slates. I’ve been dying for something like slates. So that the little students can practice writing the alphabet. So that the older students can be made more responsible for their own work. They showed me everything else in the boxes. But my eyes were fixed on the slates. How many would they let me have? I didn’t want to be greedy. I asked for 5. They said that was okay. I stacked up my supplies and prepared to move out. 5 slates. Awesome. But then the Assistant Principal handed me the remainder of the first box of slates. All of them? I asked. Yes, take them. I am thrilled. 20 little slates and white pencils. Things are looking up for the English classes of Sisvadzeebi Skola. For the teachers anyways. Maybe not for the students. I’m putting my slates to work at first opportunity.

Oh, and lunch was fish by the way. So much for eating at home. I ate 3 mandarin oranges, a persimmon and ran upstairs to escape the fishy stench.

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