So today was the last day of school in Georgia, with all of the craziness that that entails. It was kind of sad to say goodbye, even though I’ll probably be coming back to the same school in September. In the meantime, I’m going to miss being a rockstar to all the 7-12 year olds and giving them high fives after class and in the hallways.
I haven’t posted much about my teaching experience, but it’s generally been positive, though not without its ups and downs. I’ve met a lot of great people, taught a lot of great kids, and lived in a culture very different from my own. I’m not sure how I’ve grown yet, or what I’ve learned from the experience, but it isn’t over–I’ll be back after the summer, for a least one more semester.
I asked to be placed in the same school again, though I’ll be changing homestay families. If they can’t find another family in this district, I asked to be placed in a village near Kutaisi. It’s impossible at this point to say what will happen, though, and things in this country tend to change without notice.
When I came to Georgia, my goals were to find out if I could balance teaching English with my writing career, to get some useful teaching experience, and to gain some cultural exposure that would enhance my writing. On all three counts, I think I’ve had success.
My writing productivity has gone down slightly since coming out here, but I think that has more to do with the homestay and finding a good, quiet place to write. I’m still writing every day, just 1.5k words instead of 2.5k. Teaching English isn’t the problem–in fact, it’s probably one of the best careers for aspiring writers, just so long as you know your creative process and have a modicum of self-discipline. I’ll probably do another post on that later.
As far as teaching experience, I don’t know how much my time here in Georgia is going to help my resume, but it has helped me to have a bit more confidence when it comes to teaching. I still feel like there’s a lot of room for professional improvement, though, and it’s going to be difficult to get that here. I like Georgia, though, so I’ll be happy to come back. If anything, I figure one year looks better on a resume than six months.
And as for cultural exposure, coming out here was definitely a good move. Living in a developing country changes your perspective in a lot of interesting ways, and Georgia is so different from America that I’m sure I’ll be talking about it for years to come. How all of this will affect my writing, I don’t exactly know, but I’m sure it will only enhance it.
So yeah, that’s been my experience so far. The last day of school was kind of bittersweet, but I’m definitely looking forward to coming back!