Teach Abroad - Republic of Georgia, Teach Abroad Programs

Know Before You Go; Three Tips On Teaching and Living In Georgia

by Michelle Esther, Greenheart Travel Teach Abroad Participant in Georgia

One of my blog readers posed a few questions for me regarding my experience teaching abroad in Georgia. I actually loved answering these questions (it’s fun to know people are reading my blog and itching for more information about me) and welcome any more from my curious readers. (Just keep in mind I barely have internet so it might take a while to respond to each one).


1. What would you change immediately in the country, in the host family, your students, your teachers; what drives you most crazy?

What drives me the craziest about my students and other teachers is the lack of respect that many of them seem to have. A great number of my students talk all the time, even when me or some of their peers are talking. I find this very rude, but I’ve witnessed that not only do my students this, but their parents do it too.

I went to a play put on by the sixth grade (in honor of the Georgian poet Akaki Tsereteli) and many of the students’ parents were in the audience but they talked the entire time. I was kind of in shock. If you won’t stop talking to hear your own children recite their lines in a school play- when will you stop talking? It’s hard to teach children respect when their own parents don’t know what it is.

I also wish that many of my teachers could find a better way to discipline their students for not doing their homework or disrupting the class. None of the students ever get penalized for not doing their homework so there is less of an incentive to do it. What ends up happening is that only a handful of students ever do their homework and it’s challenging to move on to other lessons because students don’t fully understand the past material. So essentially, I wish my students were more self-motivated to learn on their own and that teachers could produce a better incentive to do homework.

Most of my teachers just yell at the students or call them “lazy”, which I think does more harm than good. In America, discipline revolves around positive reinforcement, but this ideology seems foreign in Georgia. I personally hate yelling, and I come off as “a soft teacher” in class for trying to discipline students otherwise.

2. What were the most important things you did not take with you to Georgia that you found out you can’t live without?

Thankfully, I can’t really think of anything that I did not take with me that I desperately need. Most of the items that I did not bring with me I was able to find here. For example, I didn’t realize that once it starts raining in Georgia- it doesn’t stop. The streets end up flooding and the town starts singing a chorus of raindrops with solos of frogs croaking. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that buying a pair of rain boots at the bazaar drastically changed my life.

The best things I brought with me that I didn’t think I’d need were a headlamp and a fancy dress. I use my headlamp practically daily and I’m surprised at how dressed up Georgians get for certain occasions.

The one thing I wish I could have here is a projector for the classroom. I like to do PowerPoint presentations for my students on various topics, but because there is no projector, students have to crowd around my laptop to see anything.

3. What would you advice to people who will be coming on future TLG programs in order to be successful?

I think the main thing that future participants need to have in order to be successful is a strong sense of flexibility, open-mindedness, adventure, creativity but above all, a positive mindset.

It’s impossible to be successful here if you’re not flexible. Expecting anything and being open to ambiguity is a key trait that a participant needs to have. Plans often change and comforts from home may be few and far in between, but a flexible mindset will easily adapt to these absences.  Read more of Michelle’s fantastic advice for teaching abroad in Georgia…


About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.


2 thoughts on “Know Before You Go; Three Tips On Teaching and Living In Georgia

  1. I’m interested in doing the Teach in Georgia program next fall and have been trying to read as many blog posts as possible on the Greenheart site. All of them have been very interesting but I wanted to especially thank you for your insight. 🙂

    Posted by Vicky Banas | January 5, 2012, 10:14 am


  1. Pingback: Georgia’s Great Challenge is also a Great Opportunity « Greenheart Travel - March 24, 2011

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