Wednesday, 27 August 2008

First Day As Teacher, Not First Day Of School

I know it seems like I'm writing a lot. I figured splitting it up into separate entries would make it easier to digest. Plus, I don't have a terrible lot to do and everything is new to me here. Means I WANT to write more.

So this morning after my shower and a large glass of orange juice, I got a call from a director from the IB school. Apparently she sent me a schedule on Monday, but she had sent it to my Drew e-mail address (which I hardly check anymore). I was expected at the school. Oops! I would have felt so much better if I had had that schedule. Here I had thought they had left me with no indication of what I had to do and when. I gave her my gmail address so it wouldn't happen again.

I headed over to the school where I was shown to my office (which I share with about 5 other people. I have my own cubicle). Everyone was unpacking and talking and I was just sitting there with nothing to do. Then I got a text from Amy about getting my supplies. I picked them up from logistics and set them up at my desk. It was basic things. Stapler, pens (mostly RED since I'm a TEACHER. Yikes!), paper clips, etc. One of the Chinese teachers gave me a book: "Lonely Planet: China". It's a travel guide and apparently has been handed down from foreign teacher to foreign teacher. It's a little outdated but helpful nonetheless.

The group leader, Jane(?) sat me down and told me a few things about what to expect. There are two classes in grade ten. They are split up for most of my classes. So I'll have grade ten, class 1a, then class 1b, then class 2a, etc. They also have a big combined class. She recommended I use that for presentations. She gave me a copy of the textbook I'll be using to look at. It's called "Cutting Edge". And if the students can really read this...DANG! Their English is GOOD.

Here is an excerpt from LESSON ONE: "Appalled by the current drive to modernize, many older people still wax euphoric about Chairman Mao and the years of sacrifice for the socialist revolution." Geez. I can't imagine being able to read this book if it was in Chinese.

There is another foreign English teacher in the IB school named Randy. He was here last year and said he would help me out if I needed it. I mostly just want to talk to him about what to expect. How much do I need to discipline the kids? Are they polite? Do they speak up? Are they creative? Do they get excited about class? How much homework should I give? Etc...etc...etc...

After getting back from my medical exam (which I wrote about earlier), I asked if there was anything else I needed to do today. I was told that I didn't, so I took all the books Jane had loaned me back to my apartment. I still need my library card so I can get my own copies of these books from the library. That should be taken care of tomorrow. Also, there is a meeting for high school teachers tomorrow morning where I'll be given my schedule and will hopefully get a chance to talk to Randy.

It was nice to meet some other teachers today. Especially Charlotte since she's new like me. She seemed just as lost and confused as I felt, which made me feel better. She doesn't have internet in her apartment yet, so I told her she could stop by tonight if she wanted to, to use mine. Hopefully she'll stop by. Lisa is moving off campus with two other foreign teachers that were here last year. I asked when she was going to have a party at her apartment. She assured me it would be soon. She seems nice. :-)

I don't have any pictures to go with this entry, but here is a picture I took from my balcony yesterday of a mommy cat with her kittens. She was in the parking lot of the next building over.

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