16 March 2013

Cool things that happened today

…actually, these are cool things that happened yesterday, since finishing at 9pm doesn’t leave much time for reflecting on anything except stroganoff in the pub next door, but still: here is my response to Mike Griffin’s blog challenge.

  •  I neutralised an incident with a phone in my teens class without any drama.
  • Two teens with serious attention-span issues played a word stress card game for over 30 minutes without getting distracted.
  • The teens were fascinated by the schwa, which they’d apparently never heard of before. They started asking about other symbols on the phonemic chart and if we could have a lesson on it next week.
  • I realised how many class in-jokes the students have created in the last six weeks that actually relate to lesson content, suggesting a desire to bond with me and each other. (Slightly less cool thing that happened today: felt guilty again about leaving at the end of the month.)
  • I also realised how much I’ll miss teaching them. Call me a masochist, but I think teenagers are great. They have strong opinions without being closed to new ideas, they’re optimistic and open to any kind of silliness you set in front of them. Don’t get old, you guys… *sniff*
  • The man who totally dominates my adult class is learning to speak less when given subtle cues (and, ahem, occasionally direct instructions) from me.
  • Consequently two women who were pretty much silent six weeks ago are speaking more, and using Georgian less, than they were before.
  • Sexism has been a recurring theme in this particular class, and the external monologue guy has delighted in winding me up with ‘jokes’ about domestic violence. However, last night he said he thought no marriage could work unless the man and woman were equal partners in it, which I found reassuring, and on a similar note the two women told stories of how much better life is for them than their mothers, and predicted even better things for their daughters. Hurrah!
  • I noticed how often I laugh in the staffroom (between endless placement tests and other stresses). I’m always grateful for quirky colleagues – and IH Tbilisi isn’t short of them.


  1. Sounds like you're an amazing teacher! I agree about teens. And I miss them so much when they grow up and move out of my classes.

    1. Haha thanks for reading Sue - it's easy to sound like an amazing teacher when you're only blogging about the cool things that happened! There were plenty of less successful things too...but it definitely feels better to write about the good stuff, so thanks for the prompt Mike :)

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  3. But when something works with the kids, there's this YES! moment, isn't there? I admit, I feel a fraud most of the time, but now and then... Something clicks and you feel maybe you're doing something right after all.

  4. Hi Laura,

    so glad you got drawn into this challenge. I have a few questions and comments:

    - How delicious is the stroganoff? And is it cheap?

    - If two teenage students focused for 30 minutes in your class, I think the government should give you some kind of medal.

    - Getting teenagers curious about the phonemic chart should garner you a second medal. Are you really going to do a chart based lesson?

    - Bravo on creating an atmosphere where a student like Mr. Insensitive has a chance and feels comfortable saying something you can agree with.

    Thanks for sharing your list. I loved reading it.

    That is all.


    1. Dear Mr Stein,

      Many thanks for your enquiries. To address your points in turn:

      1. To be honest, it's a little salty. But after a long day it tastes great (and costs about £2 including chips / $3 including fries).

      2. That isn't going to happen. However: thank you.

      3. I really am! Maybe today. I like teaching the phonemic chart. It always involves laughing a lot and doing silly actions.

      4. Also thank you. But not sure I can take any credit.

      If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

      Kind regards,

      PS. THAT IS ALL.

  5. Neutralised a mobile phone incident? What did you do?

    This is a big problem in some of my classes, I'd like a bit of advice!