Monday, April 4, 2016

Final Days in Georgia

Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I have been so caught up in the whirlwind that was the end of my TGC experience, and Spring Break in the Exuma, Bahamas with my family (airport nightmares!)

My last few days in beautiful Georgia were bittersweet. Joe and I got to do a fun project with Lela's 8th graders, where we really felt like we got to know them as individuals. They were told to bring in an object of importance to them, and then we had them write about the object and some of their other favorite things, in both Georgian and English. Then, the brave ones got up in front of the class and allowed us to film them giving their presentations! I posted some of these videos on our Global Flipgrid for the students back in the states to watch (because kids all over the world do have a lot in common!) We really got to bond with the students on our last day in Akhaltsikhe, something I will forever cherish.

Love these students!
Joe and I also got to present on school life in our home communities to a youth organization in Akhaltsikhe on our last afternoon in town. We couldn't believe how many students showed up voluntarily after school to hear us speak! The students comments during and after our presentations all had the same theme; they want their schools to give them more opportunities for growth as individuals. Currently, they do not have any clubs, sports, or before/after school activities that allow them to explore other interests outside academics. They also have a great desire for more technology in their schools, as they have seen the benefit in using online tools and social media for learning and connecting at home. Facebook is the most popular social media tool in Georgia, and the students use it to connect with each other and their teachers. Parents have also connected with teachers through Facebook, which has increased the communication between home and school in Georgia (this is a great start!)
Akhaltsikhe Youth

We ended the afternoon watching a traditional Georgian dance performance put on just for us! I admit I cried a little seeing the talent and passion of the dancers in their beautiful costumes.

It was sad to say goodbye to the students of Akhaltsikhe Public School #5, and even more sad to say goodbye to our lovely and generous host teacher, Lela. We learned so much from her, and I can honestly say, she is now one of my greatest role models. Lela has taught me that one does not need an abundance of resources to be a caring, creative and top notch educator. She has also taught me that a woman CAN successfully balance it all; a profession, a family, additional jobs and educational opportunities to better oneself personally and professionally, and a positive outlook on life and the future of one's country. I left Akhaltsikhe a different, and better person, thanks to Lela and her students.

Joe, Lela and school administrators on our last day

Our last two days in Georgia were spent as a cohort (family) again back in Tbilisi, where we reflected on our experiences in our different host communities. Those last few hours, spent laughing and bonding with some of the greatest educators in the world, left me emotional, yet excited for our continuing global collaborations in the years to come. My PLN has grown significantly because of my Teachers for Global Classrooms experience, and I come back to my classroom with new ideas, new passions, and a new world view to share with my students.


Goodbye for now, Georgia! I will be back with my own children to introduce them to their new Georgian family!