I have not gone into much about the teacher’s lounge, mostly because the atmosphere varies so drastically from day to day. I should say, from break to break. One minute there is angry shouting, the next the two arguing are laughing. Not being able to understand what is being said means that I have to really on the other teachers reactions as to how serious the situation is. If those sitting in the room seem unconcerned, then I sit and try to understand what is being screamed. If teachers start to leave or look uncomfortable, I try to make my escape.
The most interesting aspect of the teacher’s lounge is their ability to devour a sheet cake. Now I have noticed in my homestays and my students’ teeth (they are black and brown and gnarly looking, some are even rigged! I do not understand how that happens, but it is true), the amount of sweets that Georgians seem to consume is huge. My first host brother put at least 4 heaping spoonfuls of sugar in his tea. My second host sister about the same age, 7, is constantly eating sweets of all kinds. She basically refuses dinner to eat sweets. And unfortunately, her mother seems to let her. Any Georgian who has seen me drink tea marvels at my ability to not put sugar in it. They act as if tea with out sugar is impossible.
So it should not have surprised me that the cakes are very sugary and that the teachers’ would eat copious amounts when it is available. Now, I can understand the desire to eat cake when it is available, but the amount baffles me. There have been multiple times now when the twelve teachers and five other staff members have eaten a sheet cake that should have fed at least double that in a fifteen minute break. They are very civil about it and make sure that everyone gets at least a slice and a half, but it still looks like a feeding frenzy. So far, I have not particularly enjoyed these cakes, because they are too sugary for my taste, but I happily eat a slice and somewhat reluctantly eat the second that is shoved in my face.
The teachers’ lounge should be a refuge, but it is its own jungle.