Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
My return to Georgia on Sunday brought a huge change to my daily life in Georgia. I no longer teach at a Georgian public school. This term I will be solely at Batumi State - Shota Rustaveli State University. The university once again approached TLG about moving my placement there, and this time it was accepted. I am truly humbled and thankful for this opportunity. I still work for TLG, just in a completely different capacity then most teachers. For the Tourism Faculty at BSU I have been volunteering for over a year teaching in one capacity or another. This term I will be designing from scratch a completely new course for the university: English for Tourism Majors. It will be a class to improve conversation, solidify grammar, while providing real-world insight and experience with tourism today.
I must admit I am rather daunted by the task. Knowing what I know about Georgian university, it will be interesting to see how the class will turn out. I will definitely be approaching the class from an American college and university perspective, meaning that students will have to work. The Peace Corps volunteer I work with took this approach with his classes and it has been successful. My take on it is that as junior year students at a university they should already know how to work; if not, they will have to learn quickly.
Several things may stand in my way to hinder the success of the class, things that usually do not hinder classes in the United States. The list includes:
- Power outages (which occur with a regularity that is scary)
- A lack of technological prowess and literacy among students and staff (here PowerPoint is still viewed with something akin to awe and the university only recent gave students email addresses)
- Classrooms without heat (I'm in my (supposedly) heated office right now, shivering as I type this)
- An educational system still largely entrenched in the Soviet system (think rote memorization)
- A culture where individuality and individual thought isn't promoted; it's a culture of conformity largely
- Drinking in class (my office has a substantial stash of alcohol for those "just in case" moments)
- Smoking in hallways (the idea of second hand smoke killing doesn't exist here)
- Male colleagues who refuse to listen to me because I am female (however, when the male PCV repeats exactly what I have just said then they suddenly love the idea)
- A general lack of resources
- No flush toilets (thank God I have mastered Turkish toilets, because it is too cold and wet to walk to the Sheraton every time I need to use the washroom)
- No Wifi (Seriously it is 2012. The MacDonald's' restaurants in Georgia, of which there are 4, all have Wifi and flush toilets)
Despite those challenges, I am looking forward to this new opportunity. I am sure it will give me plenty of experiences to write about. Moreover, with the University I am constantly invited to go somewhere or do something. In December I was part of a trip to the Keda region to experience the local vinitourism (wine tourism) endeavors. This also resulted in my 6 or 7th appearance on Adjara TV. I love the irony of me discussing vinitourism when I don't even drink.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Anyway...I received several comments while in the United States about how people want to see more blog posts. During last term I didn't write much simply because everything was very similar to the year before. Consequently, I am opening up topics to you. What would like to read about? Are there areas of Georgian culture or life that you are interested in and I have not addressed? Put a note in the comments section, and I will get to it write away.