Interview with Liane Nichols, an American Teacher Teaching English in Georgia

Liane Nichols taught with Georgia’s Teach and Learn with Georgia program (TLG) from July 2012 through to December 2012. Today, she shares her story on what it was like teaching English in Georgia, Eastern Europe.

Liane Nichols

Photo by Liane Nichols

Hi Liane. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Let’s start with a short introduction, please.

I’m a 24 year old from Texas and I’ve been teaching English in Georgia since October of 2011. At Texas State University, I studied International Relations and one day hope to be accepted into the US Foreign Service. Teaching abroad has helped me travel cheaply and gain experience with cultures I had previously known very little about. It also helps me work on my writing skills!

How have you enjoyed teaching in Georgia to date?

Georgia and I have had our ups and downs – but overall I’m glad I chose to teach here. It’s definitely been an experience, to say the least.

What advice can you give to new teachers interested in teaching in Georgia?

Be patient! The students here have only recently adopted English into their curriculum and most have only a very basic level of understanding. Also, they love participating, even if it means talking over everyone else just to be heard first!

Can you tell us about a particularly powerful moment in your classroom?

Liane Nichols

Photo by Liane Nichols

My most dreaded class of the week is my first graders. Yes, they’re tiny and adorable, but there’s so many of them! I have 34 students in one class, and for children that age, things can get chaotic quickly. One day I had to leave the classroom in order to keep from getting blinded by a pencil to the eye. My co-teacher stayed in the room and explained to them that if they cannot behave, I cannot come into the room to teach anymore.

When I returned at the end of class, one girl came up to me, and just latched on! I gave her a friendly one armed hug back but this was not good enough for her. She continued to hold on for the duration of my conversation with my co-teacher. Eventually she let go and went home for the day.  This made me realize that although the class is normally insane, there are a few students who still want to learn and don’t want me to go. It made me want to try harder to help them learn.

What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Georgia?

Positives: Georgia has only recently been seen as a tourist destination. It’s incredible to witness a country that many Westerners still barely know anything about. Most places have yet to be tainted with increased tourism or tourist traps.  The people are still friendly towards tourists and the overall hospitality is very welcoming.

Negatives: Georgia is definitely still developing, and it’s not uncommon for people to be without power or water at any given time. It’s not so terrible once you get used to it, but you need to learn to adapt to the life fairly quickly.

Have you had the opportunity to travel much in Georgia? 

During my stay, I traveled all across Georgia and even to Yerevan, Armenia.  Religion in Georgia is big so almost every weekend I was discovering some new mountain or monastery, tasting a new variety of wine or amazing food, or just having a crazy time experiencing Georgian culture (i.e. hot baths, supras, mashrutka rides). All of my travel tales can be found at Nicholsaway.blogspot.com.

Liane Nichols

Photo by Liane Nichols

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about?

Georgia may not be your first choice of destination, and it wasn’t mine either. Once I arrived here, I started having serious second thoughts about my decision. I had never lived in a host-family before; I had never even lived in the same house as children before. The school was lacking vital resources and students were louder than you could ever imagine. However, I’m still glad I came. I’m a firm believer that not every experience has to be a positive one – as long as I’m having an experience. And just so you know, I’m in the 1% category of people who had a rough time here. The other 99% loved Georgia, had amazing host families, and had an incredible experience teaching.

Do you have any favorite blogs or websites about Georgia that you’d like to share with our readers?

Before coming to Georgia, I found very little information in the form of blogs. I’m hoping my own blog will help those interested in coming here. For travel advice, the trusted Lonely Planet was always a solid choice.

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2 Comments
  1. That was an amazing interview! I am so proud of my little sis! Those were good questions and very honost answers and really gave me and other readers a true picture of what it is like to teach abroad and experience living away from home in a foreign country. Great job on both sides! Larry Nichols

  2. Dear Liane … U shared a very true experience in soft words. I am linked to Georgia since 2004 and approve and agree with all what you had written so beautifully .
    Am in pursuit to develop an alternate semi-private program in Georgia for English language education , in more professional and disciplined way……….. if it may happen.. 🙂
    Your article helped me…
    Best Wishes
    Giorgi Praveen Bali

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