I must be doing something right. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this whole “teaching” business. Maybe I’m just too damn charming for my own good. Maybe I’m having a good week. Maybe all of the above?
Not satisfied with my reasonable teacher’s schedule of working during the morning/early afternoon at a school and privately tutoring in the evenings, I decided to add another job to my schedule. Crazy, right? Right. I took the precious little free time I had and murdered it. Instead of taking a leisurely afternoon to sit in a cafe or relax at home for a bit I decided to load up on jobs all over town. Instead of returning home after class, I now commute from one distant job to another distant job to yet a third distant job before night’s end. (For the Tbilisi-savvy readers, I live at Freedom Square, but work in Dighomi, Vake, and Saburtalo, in that order. Basically every day.)
You’d think this would be exhausting. Well, I’m here to tell you that it damn well is! But somehow I’m loving it.
Although most days I leave the house around 8 am and don’t come back until 9 or 10 pm, I’m generally enjoying myself quite a lot! Part of it is the huge variety of things I’m doing. The other part is that keeping so ridiculously busy is really fun, when you can stay on top of it. So far I’m managing that pretty well!
This week has been a fantastic week. Not only did my math lessons go swimmingly (Did I mention I’m a math teacher now?), but my Callan Method lessons and my 12th grade lessons were also pretty darned great. Helping my mood even more was sitting in on two of my English Teacher’s lessons (Did I mention I’m a Department Head now?) and watching as they did a fantastic job with the 1st and 5th graders. But my fellow teachers are only part of the story.
The other part is that I seem to have fallen into the position of being pretty universally adored by my students. It’s strange to talk about, because I don’t want to seem like I’m boasting, but at the same time it makes me really happy and I am somehow surprised by the strength and suddenness of their adoration. The first graders have taken to swarming me whenever they see me to elicit hugs, high-fives, and handshakes, the 3H’s. It’s adorable and heart-warming to get tackled in the hall by four or five first graders.
The third graders have taken up arms in a similar effort. At the end of class the other day, following a rigorous Mad Minute and a series of word problems, I found myself pinioned between two of the girls in a tight hug as the bell rang. All efforts to extricate myself failed and their regular teacher found me trapped in the corner. Laughing, she told them “Enough, let him go!” in Georgian and they relented.
The ninth graders I work with have been expressing their adoration in a different way. Chiefly, in their amazement at my many talents. (Again, I’m not trying to brag, but I just want to share why my mood is so good lately!) It came out that I know Russian and French (in addition to the Georgian which I can demonstrably understand) and that I teach math to the younger students. I provided some simple medical advice and told them I came to Georgia because I studied Georgian history at university. Jaws dropped and one girl exclaimed in Georgian, “You know everything!” and then listed the things I know in English. “You know Georgian, you know Russian, you know French, you know Math, you know Medecine…” and so on.
I, for one, don’t feel like I know anything–far from it! But to these students I’m one of those unstoppable adults who seems infinitely wise and capable. I love it.
Then there’s my job at the language center where I teach a fairly intense oral course with lots of discussion (We held a debate yesterday!) and the students seem to really enjoy themselves. But this afternoon was my invincible moment at that job.
Tasked with preparing a presentation introducing Translation and Interpretation Theory for the first day of my team-taught Simultaneous Interpretation Course. I put together a very thorough powerpoint based on the scripts I was given and delivered a stellar performance. My co-teacher was totally enthralled by my performance and one student told me that she really enjoyed my style of speaking and presenting and that I made the topic really fun.
Basically, in a nutshell, even though my life is ridiculously overloaded with work, I’m really enjoying myself and loving this empowering, invincible feeling. Here’s hoping it’s not beginners’ luck or a I-work-so-much Honeymoon Phase!