Public School 112

4th grade class at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Story and photos by Susanna Melo

Having been a public school teacher most of my life, I was excited about spending this morning at Public School 112. My friend Tamuna Gogatishvili teaches English at this first through twelfth grade school.

On many prior occasions, Tamuna and I exchanged notes on our classroom experiences as English teachers in two very different countries. Tamuna always struck me as being an extremely conscientious, caring and dedicated teacher who is concerned with instilling good values in her students in order to build a stronger Georgia.  Today my beliefs were confirmed. You could sense the respect of her peers and students. In fact, a teacher stopped me to tell me how much she appreciated her colleague.

After visiting the teachers’ lounge, we walked down a long hallway where students chatted lively before the next class began. Then we visited a fourth grade classroom. The regular teacher transmitted kindness, and one could tell she was proud of her students. The children sang in polyphonic voices for me, performed some short Georgian traditional dances, and when it came time for Tamuna to teach her English class, the students all introduced themselves to me in beautiful English! They told me their name, age, grade, what they liked doing; they told me something about their school, their families, pets, and so on with poise and ease. I noticed that Tamuna solely spoke English to them and I must say that I was very happy to observe that!  No wonder the 9 and 10-year old children were so good at speaking and understanding her!

Tamuna’s huge class of 11th graders also impressed me.  When they introduced themselves, they had something personal and interesting to say. Many told me they enjoyed reading; some students had dreams of traveling the world. Others informed me of future careers they would like to pursue or told me about their three-generational families. But better still were their thoughtful questions to me. They wanted to know what I thought of Georgian history, culture, food and people as well as what places I had already visited. They also wanted to assess what I thought were the strengths and weaknesses of the new generation of Georgians. What I found interesting was a question about my religion and the differences between being a Protestant and an Georgian Orthodox.  This student even wanted to know if churches in the USA have seats because here they don’t.

Keith and I have commented amongst ourselves and with others how much we enjoy the youth in this country. They seem natural, down to earth, happy and healthy—not yet affected by the negative side of pop culture. This observation also applies to the young people of Public School 112, whom I got to know just a little today.

Another treat was in store for me! The choir instructor brought a mixed group of middle and high school students into the teachers’ lounge to sing in the traditional Georgian polyphonic manner. Some young boys, in costume, acted out a skit. I could not understand the Georgian, but I picked up on their overall excitement!

To the students and teachers that I met at Public School 112, I want to express my gratitude for allowing me into your school and for giving me a glimpse into your lives.

Tamuna—you are an inspiration to others!

Tamuna Gogatishvili’s 4th grade English classat Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

4th grade class singing at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

4th grade dancing at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

11th grade class at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.

Skit at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo; 2012.

Performance at Public School 112; copyright Susanna Melo, 2012.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

One Response to Public School 112

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Susanna to devote your precious time to our children and made the day special!!!

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