Creativity and Leadership Fostered through Grant

Creativity and Leadership Fostered through Grant

Han Jang was awarded a Greenheart Travel Grant to further support extracurricular activities at her school in Georgia. Below she describes how she utilized the grant.

Education in Georgia is different from that in the U.S. in almost every imaginable way. As a new English teacher at my school in the village Khovle, I was particularly shocked by the complete lack of extracurricular activities. Like most public schools in Georgian villages, mine taught just over 100 students in grades 1 through 12, and I adored each of them from the very beginning. During my first semester of teaching, I put on an English Christmas show with my students, and its success showed me that they were eager to become active and involved. All they needed was an opportunity to start.
Education in Georgia is different from that in the U.S. in almost every imaginable way. As a new English teacher at my school in the village Khovle, I was particularly shocked by the complete lack of extracurricular activities. Like most public schools in Georgian villages, mine taught just over 100 students in grades 1 through 12, and I adored each of them from the very beginning. During my first semester of teaching, I put on an English Christmas show with my students, and its success showed me that they were eager to become active and involved. All they needed was an opportunity to start.

During my second semester, I established an English club and, once the weather warmed up, a running club, while also encouraging students to start their own organizations. For the last two months of school, I combined my two clubs into the English Olympics. Students formed teams to represent various countries and competed against each other to win points. English competitions, including charades, crossword puzzles, pictionary, and essay contests, were worth the most points. But to keep the playing field even, teams could also win points in athletic contests, such as short races, soccer, and volleyball, and other random games, such as obstacle courses, dominoes, and a scavenger hunt. The English Olympics ended with a 5K race, for which I awarded prizes in different age categories. Once the final points were tallied up, the winners of the English Olympics got to spend a day at an amusement park in Tbilisi.

With the Greenheart Travel Grant, I was able to purchase new supplies and sporting goods for my school. The chance to use these in their extracurricular activities provided great motivation for my students. Furthermore, they could continue to be used by the school even after I returned to the U.S.

At the end of the school year, I considered the extracurricular activities a success, as I saw such a huge improvement in my students’ English, confidence, and discipline. Other teachers at my school, who had previously questioned the value of extracurricular activities, could no longer deny that they actually can foster creativity, respect, and leadership skills. When it came to my students, just a little guidance and encouragement truly went a long way.

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