A Day in the Life of an English Teacher

Maia Alavidze

It is now almost two years since I was plucked from the relative obscurity of teaching in a local Lycee and joined the dizzy heights of the State University English Department. I don’t really know why I was chosen, but my work with TACIS and the Harris family had improved my spoken English, and perhaps this had been recognized by the head of the Department – Madonna Megrelishvili.

University life in Kutaisi begins at 9.00 am, so I am usually out of bed by 7.30 ready to begin the day. On an average day I will have three lectures, from 1st year through to 4th and so I need to spend a lot of time in preparation. Twice a year, December/January and June/July I also have to prepare examination papers, and then mark them, sometimes there does not seem to be enough hours in the day. There is a good social life in the department, and whenever we can we will get together to celebrate a birthday or use the excuse of a visitor to have a little party.

We are very lucky in the English Department because we have so many guests from abroad. The English Speaking Club or the Newport – Kutaisi Association is normally host for these visits, and the English Department plays a prominent role in both organizations.

I am usually free from around 5.00 p.m. and so I will spend my time with friends or with private pupils. Private pupils are important to most of the teachers. Salaries are quite low, and so we do what we can to help support out families.

I am quite young, and so I find it easy to relate to the problems of my pupils. Many of the things that concern them as they grow up in Kutaisi reflect my own experience. We often have long conversations about how Georgia is developing and the influences of Europe which are becoming more prominent through access to music, T.V. and movies.

Georgians tend to go to bed late, especially in summer when families enjoy sitting in the cool of the evening discussing all the events of the day. At midnight I am usually in bed, with thoughts of the next days lectures spinning in my head.