So I was sitting downstairs in the air conditionless lounge working on my Georgian, journaling and chatting with friends. And we got to thinking this would be the perfect time for a beer. Not a drunkfest, just a nice cold glass of brew. Nevermind the hotel bar not 30 yards from us, we were forbidden, I repeat, forbidden from drinking during orientation (and from stories of past delegates, for good reason. Thanks, Bin Laden!) So it was at this time that the old familiar crave returned. The thirst for a Coca Cola. Up to this time we drink lots of water and juices for meals. Haven’t had a Coke since airport in Turkey… hadn’t really thought about it. But now, it was definitely on my mind. Lo and behold they sold Coke at the bar! Georgian coke, though. Which could have been a let down, as Coke has different formulas for different regions of the world. But I was desperate. (I bought two twenty oz. Cokes in the NYC airport to save for a rainy day when I miss home the most. This occasion was NOT a rainy day) So I bought one, 3 Lari- more expensive than a glass of beer. And took a sip….
Not bad, not bad at all! SCORE! Georgian Coke will not fail me! Dzalian Kargi!!!!!!
During orientation, the day is split into sessions. Each session led by a member of the TLG administration. There are sessions on Insurance, Georgian Education, Georgian Language, Intercultural Sessions, Teaching Methodology, etc. They always follow a basic model. Present what is expected, then go over those points in detail, asking for questions all along, then conclude the lesson. In the more functional sessions, we have ‘practice’ segments where we role play or work in small groups.
It was all quaint at the beginning, and we joked about how structured it was, then today, it hit me. During ‘Teaching Methodology’ session I realized, they are following lesson plans! Then I really started to pay attention to the nuts and bolts of what they were doing. All the points were there; objective, lesson, activity, practice, review, conclusion. Here are these people, who are not teachers by training, some who speak broken English and most who would never chose to stand in front of a crowd (being administration, not volunteers to teach in the schools) and they were doing amazingly tight lessons! Interactive, introspective, ‘bell to bell’ lessons. Then I think back to some of the teachers I know back in America. Who teach stale lessons with outdated information and refuse to use available technology. The TLG Staff recognizes that there are teachers in Georgia who are tied to the old Soviet Style of teaching. And they encourage us to motivate them to move beyond that and encourage new methodologies. If it can be done here in these teaching conditions, damnit-to-hell, it can be done in America.
Kudos, TLG, Kudos.
As I return to my refreshing Coca-Cola, Please enjoy the following video: