On Monday, we were asked to teach about American holidays. We chose Thanksgiving. Since this is almost exclusively an American holiday (you’re welcome, Canada), we thought that students in #theotherGeorgia wouldn’t have heard of it. We were right.
After explaining the history behind it (with the help of my family’s favorite, Charlie Brown) and how Americans celebrate it today, we had the students make the classic hand-turkey. And like we all did as a young child, students wrote what they were thankful for on all the “feathers.” It was a lot of fun and the students got into it. We ended with having them write an explanation of Thanksgiving in 10 - 15 words. Some of the students were very sweet and wrote Mr. Blan and Mr. Perez on their turkeys. I hope that foreign teachers that come to the States are as warmly received as we have been here.
Students, if you have any questions or comments, be sure and click on this link. I will try to get back to you.
Friday, Mario and I spent all day at St. Andrew the First Called School in Batumi. We briefly toured the school and then jumped right into teaching. We started off teaching about America and our schools to the 5th grade class and continued on to 4th, 7th, and 8th grades. It was a great time. The students had many questions. The two parts of the presentation that got the students talking the most were the picture of Zaza Pachulia, the Dallas Maverick who is from #theotherGeorgia, and the video that showed a typical day at our school. In particular they loved seeing students eating lunch. Especially the pizza.They were also amazed at the amount of technology used in our schools.
One technology almost all Georgian students have is a cell phone. When each lesson was over, the students rushed over to get selfies taken with us. Obviously, the selfie is a teenage phenomenon that crosses all borders. Thankfully I didn’t see any duck faces. When we were finally able to get out of the classroom, we went to another class to either teach or observe. At the end of the school day, we talked about American schools for the teachers of the school. It was a great way to start our time in Batumi schools.
#theotherGeorgia is about the size of South Carolina. I don’t know how long it takes to drive across South Carolina, but driving from the capital of George, Tbilisi, in the eastern central part, to Batumi, on the western border, takes about 7 hours. Crossing two different mountains along the way probably adds to the time. On Thursday, Mario and I drove across the country to the Black Sea city of Batumi. Along the way we did find an interesting rest stop. It has a beautiful boardwalk on which we walked despite the unusually cold weather and wind. We saw different statues and even two dolphins not far from the beach. They were coming up just enough to tell what they were. But, Nino, our host teacher, said they only jump out of the water when it’s warmer. I look forward to teaching in a private school in Batumi called St. Andrews. Click on the pictures below to get a better look.
Stephen Blan teaches US History at Fort Worth Country Day in Fort Worth, TX and is a 2015 Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellow.