The Other Nika

I am feverishly trying to finish the saga of  our weekend in Tbilisi. But in the mean time, something exciting just happened. Back story: Thursday night after the family lesson, my host mom tells me that a parent of a student wants private lessons for their son. But she didn’t tell me that they wanted it the next day; Friday. As you know, I was headed for Tbilisi on Friday afterschool.

I asked about it again today when I got home from school. My host mom THEN says, they came Friday. Ugh. No worries though, she said they would come back again this afternoon.

So…  My first private English student is Nika!

He is in one of my classes, they say, but I don’t remember him. We will be working together three times a week, in one hour sessions. And we started today.

He is pretty weak as opposed to some of the other students his age. One of my complaints thus far with the system they have in place in Georgia is they don’t focus on the basics or foundation first. Meaning, few of the students know English well, but even fewer know the phonetics of words or can point out alphabet independently of each other.  When they are first exposed to English in the first grade, they basically hit the ground sprinting. And it’s more difficult because they don’t even know their own alphabet yet. They use a method that would be fine in the States, but here it’s throwing spaghetti on the wall. That being they start with the ABC’s with pictures beside the letter representing the word. Again, in the States that’s a great method…. attaching sound with letter.  But here, they don’t know the word for the depicited picture. So they have to remember that first, but the teacher continues with other information before the second phase– learning the sound of the letter.

Well with my kid Nika, we are going back to the basics. He’s gonna know his ABC’s AND the sounds they make before everything else and integrate new words slowly. So we are definitely the turtle in this race, but we will finish stronger!

We hit a snag for a little while. I wanted him to read/ pronounce “N-A-M-E”. So we started with the “N” sound.  For five minutes he pronounced “N” as “D”….   We were at an impasse for a while. I thought maybe it was me. But I brought Nino in and she said it perfectly the first time. Okay.

We finally got it, but I think it only foreshadows a lot of phonetic battles.

“Well the dawn was coming,
heard him ringing on my bell.
He said, “My name’s the teacher,
that is what I call myself.
And I have a lesson
that I must impart to you.
It’s an old expression
but I must insist it’s true.

Jump up, look around,
find yourself some fun,
no sense in sitting there hating everyone.
No man’s an island and his castle isn’t home,
the nest is full of nothing when the bird has flown.”

So I took a journey,
threw my world into the sea.
With me went the teacher
who found fun instead of me.”

Teacher, Jethro Tull

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