Life is full of lessons to be learned but it is the beauty you take from those experiences that matter the most. It is the beauty you find within situations that stick with you and alter your mindset on any particular or several avenues. As you all know, I decided to embark on a journey and impact the World as greatly as I can one step at a time....this decision did not come easy over night. Those of you close to me know just that, but I am glad I left to go teach elementary English in The Republic of Georgia.
Prior to leaving the states...I was on a road to accomplishing dreams that others (such as a parent) felt were ideal for me and not the dreams that I knew were meant for me to accomplish. Feeling restricted of options to pursue my own dreams, I promised myself that at the end of the day I will do what is best for me and what will guide me into in the right directions of obtaining my dream(s). I realized that ultimately what makes me happy the most is the ability to help others in this world obtain a greater life by helping provide different avenues to allow them to acquire their dreams as well. I have realized that although I have had my own struggles too I have done well for myself by myself and in my heart sharing the love is what makes me happiest. In the words of Booker T. Washington "I began learning a long time ago that those who are happiest are those who do most for others..."
Our children are our future and being here in Georgia has allowed me to see just how many children in our World today are in desperate need of not only help, guidance but motivation and outside resources as well. Let me tell you...working in a public school system in a 3rd World Country is not something you can prepare for completely, but I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Let me try to draw a picture for your imagination on the environment that many of us teachers work in here in Georgia:
-Random stray dogs roam the school halls
-The school can't afford to have heat, or electricity running everyday so there is no electricity working....it is Winter now. We teach the children in the freezing cold and majority of the time in the dark because it is usually raining outside so no natural sunlight is entering the classrooms.
-The only resource teachers are provided with through the school and the ministry of education is chalk...just chalk...no I am not kidding! On top of this they are required to teach the children using just this resource while being criticized that their teaching methods are not intriguing enough.
-The classroom I work in consists of over 30 desks, over half of the chairs are broken and a blackboard that is peeling so badly that writing on them is nearly impossible. Remember that I said that the only resource given to teachers is a piece of chalk? Yeah, writing on a peeling blackboard with chalk doesn't work...this is coming from experience, so I ask, how are we supposed to effectively teach these children with let alone no other resources but yet not even a usable blackboard?
-Many of the students can't afford the books, nor school supplies, needed for class, the school does not provide copies, the student must buy them and if they cannot afford them the attitude of "you're shit of luck" is applied. It's terrible. I always offer my book to the students to use. When a student can't afford school supplies, it is said that the student is stupid and unable to helped (to their face mind you) when in actuality it's not their fault, I wouldn't pay attention in class either if I had not even a pen to my name.
-The school has a copy machine but cannot afford the ink and paper needed in order to use it. I create activities (crossword puzzles, word searches, group work, review sheets, etc) but am unable to copy 90% of materials that I need to provide alternative teaching methods for the children to acquire new information. There are shops available to go to and make copies however, it costs about .25 to copy one page...I have at least 30 children in each class, costly. On that note...teaching styles are still of Soviet times...teachers are used to teaching by reading from a book and having the children recite the read text after them...effective?
-The children are more than over-looked here by many organizations.
I have implemented positive reinforcement by giving a child a sticker when they've completed their homework, done group work correctly and have participated for the day...a simple sticker, a simple good job, a simple "yes, you can do it" goes a long way for them and they are incredibly grateful for such a little actions. That smile I am able to bring to their face by just having faith in them is so very rewarding, I seriously get teary eyed every time. The overall sad part is that these children are eager to learn, hungry for a change and a way out...but they are restricted. Every time I step into the classroom, I put myself in their shoes...I know what it is like to have a hunger for more and have restrictions on avenues on obtaining a better future...but not to the extent that they do. I have been learning so much being here but one thing has grown only greater...the desire to help this World's youth obtain their dreams and provide another avenue to do so.
I want to impact their lives as greatly as possble during my time here in Georgia. I buy what I can but with over 30 children in each of my 6 classes a day, I am unable to have the large impact that I desire to have. For those of you who have a kind heart and a desire to help others like myself, I am asking you to help impact this World as greatly as you can...even the slightest bit goes a long way. Here in Georgia one $1 USD is 1.67 GEL (Georgian). My goal is to hopefully impact as many schools as possible by selecting a new school each month and personally going out and buying supplies for students and teachers and delivering them to a new school each month. In order to effectively do this, I need any help. If you are able to donate anything at all and feel that my intentions are genuine, then please do get involved.
OR if you know of any ways to raise awareness within the states to help with education in a 3rd World Country, Georgia, that would be appreciated too.
I have contacted The Ministry of Education here in Georgia with my idea and they love it however have not given me any guidance on avenues to pursue and who directly to talk to. I have had enough of the run around and am trying to do it solely on my own now and try to make as great of impact as I can here....with your help hopefully.
Upon the conclusion of gathering all the funds and physical donations I will be taking photos with updates of how and where the contributions all went to.
This dream needs to be accomplished.
-My story will be a piece for the Cronkite News station in Phoenix, Arizona.
-The author of "The Secret for Teens Revealed" Adrea Samadi has donated some of her books and resources to the children.
-I have been able to successfully raise a small amount of contributions through networking via social network and e-mail.