Sunday, September 4, 2011

The (not so) terrible twos

You know how when it's the first day of school and you're the new kid everybody points and stares and occasionally laughs at you? Well, working at two schools means that I had two first days this year. So I had twice as many kids pointing and laughing, twice as many awkward introductions, and twice as many opportunities to put my foot in my mouth with my bad Chinese. To top it off, I'm very clearly a 外國人 (foreigner), so, as Siena told me repeatedly, I wasn't just imagining that everyone was talking about me.  Of course, the good thing about having two first days is that I got to see twice as many friendly new faces that will (hopefully) turn into twice as many new friends.

Anyhow, the week started out a little shaky due to my nerves and this:
But that just meant that things could only get better, right?
Thanks to Typhoon Nanmadol, school was canceled on Monday
New school #1: Dong Sing Elementary
Life at Dong Sing is pretty good. I really like my co-teacher, Siena and, despite the language barrier, I've started making a few friends in the office. Plus I have my own desk! Check it out, I'm like a real adult with a real job:

And here's my English classroom, where all the magic happens:

Because it's a smaller school, I'm teaching all the grades, 1-6, at Dong Sing. So far, I've met the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. I don't get to meet the 1st, 2nd, and 6th graders until Monday. Of course all the kids are adorable.

School #2: Pei Cheng Elementary
David, my co-teacher, by the English classroom's fancy smart-board
On Wednesday and Thursday, I taught at Pei Cheng Elementary, which is literally a 2 minute bike ride from my apartment (awesome!). I was a little bit nervous going in bright and early Wednesday morning because I hadn't met my co-teacher, David, yet. Thankfully, he's very nice and he seems pretty open to letting me use fun, crazy learning games to help make English fun. Since it's one of the biggest elementary schools in the county (as in it has more students than my high school in Florida did), I'm only teaching grades 4 and 6 instead of all the grades like I do at Dong Sing.
One of my new classes. Listening with rapt attention, of course.
The first week of school (especially the first day) was a little bit of a challenge for me because I didn't really know what I was doing yet and I was nervous and the kids were all nervous too, but I have high hopes for the future. I just need a little practice. It's the end of the week now and I feel like I've gotten better already. There are some really interesting differences between the Taiwanese school system and the American school system but I'll save those for later.

I think it's also worth mentioning that Pei Cheng has about the coolest playground ever:
You can't see it, but there's a mini rock climbing wall on this bad boy, too.

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