Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Number One School

School Number 1

This past Sunday, to make something out of a cold, windy and rainy day, we decided we would walk around the town anyway. We loaded up a pack with water and reading/drawing material and walked down to the main drag, Rustaveli avenue. As we were going by a big yellow building adjacent to the big yellow Parliament building, Sarah noticed an open door. So, we walked across the expansive terrace in front of this building to discover School Number 1. I am still trying to figure out what to make of this school. It was built in 1802. It sits right next to Parliament. We had a wonderful tour from Nodo and his friend whose name I did not get—both sophomores I think. And from the custodian who was a bit steely at first but warmed into a tour guide in short order. This is a huge building with students in 1-12th grades. Because it was Sunday there were no students. My guess is that on a school day the place would echo with noise as the schools I have seen thus far do. We saw a number of totally impressive places—a huge meeting room with antique chairs and conference tables, a library with an array of computers for students to use, a recital hall with a grand piano the size of an aircraft carrier, an incredible art room. Everywhere were wall murals of famous Georgian writers, poets, artists. Even the hallways had figures of famous Georgians. Imagine our festooning the walls of Lincoln High or of Morley with famous American writers. Not a bad idea I say. Of course, we would quickly get into a culture war over what writers to put on the wall and what writers should be excluded. Twain--I think not. Rand, terrible idea. Dreiser, a socialist. I saw not a single athletic trophy or image of a football player anywhere. Not only that, these two kids knew the name of

the person in each and every mural and there were lots and lots of these. So this experience gave us much to talk about as we went through the rest of the afternoon. Here are a few pictures of the Number One school. An image of the entrance. Imagine the faculty meeting in the room below. It would, I have to believe,lend credence to the theory that the environment will shape human behavior. And the art room--imagine such a facility in a public school. These Georgians devote way too much space and resources to art and way too little to sports.

Last night was Tuesday night. Taught my seminar to the usual group of students who show up. Great group. Dinner with Sarah in the bina (flat). We didn't go to the Italian restaurant I like and stayed in for a tasty (a popular English word with Georgians) for a salad and tunafish meal. This morning the sky is a clear and sparkling blue and the air is clean.


  1. Oh, do you have a photo of the piano and the recital hall?

    Anne & Jesse Rose

  2. Correction--the steely eyed custodian turns out to be a deputy principal. This is a person in charge of the building, I think. And he is now a person warm and welcoming. The young woman is named Xhatia and she and Sarah have become good friends--even to the point where the two are talking about going shopping together.