So, after more than a week of casual lunchtime conversation, guided small-group discussions, and real-live speed dating, we all finally sat down earlier this week and wrote some epic paragraphs about who we liked, disliked, and probably would be okay working with-- while the local English teachers sat in the next room doing the same thing. I was fortunate enough to get my first choice school! So for the next year, at least as of now, I'll be working at 復興國小 (their website is here, but don't bother visiting it unless you can read Chinese). The school is known for having especially strong baseball and badminton teams. Apparently the teams might even be in their own classes... if I'm lucky enough to teach them, I'm hoping that regaling them with my stories of Phillies games and being in Boston for the Red Sox wins will make them like me. Or at least make them listen a little bit?
Anyway, I'll be at Fu Xing teaching for 16 classes a week. It looks like my schedule will be teaching all of Monday and Thursday (about 8-4), a little bit on Tuesday afternoon, and a little bit on Wednesday morning. I'm spending Tuesday and Friday mornings working at the Fu Dong English Village, and there are no classes on Wednesday or Friday afternoons at primary schools here. I'll be working primarily with a teacher named Susan, but also some with a teacher named Amy. Both are very nice, fun people, and I'm looking forward to working with them! In fact, I know Susan reads my blog... Hi, Susan!
Here are some pictures I took at my school visit yesterday. There were students there because it was "preparation day," but they were only with their main teachers, not specials (English is a special subject) so I didn't have anything to do but verify my schedule. Fun fact #1: elementary schools here don't really seem to have custodial staffs. Teachers and students work together and take turns to clean up the areas in and around their classrooms. Fun fact #2: the design/layout of schools here is very, very different from schools back home. If it's not evident in these pictures, I'll be sure to take more in the future.
Here are some pictures from the front of the school:
And a few from our classroom, pre-cleanup and decoration...
(We have a lot of work to do to make this an exciting place for kids to learn English...)
Finally, I'll end with a picture of my co-teachers and me, taken the day we found out we'd be working together. Susan left, Amy right.
This should be a great year, and I'm really excited to start teaching. I'll be going to a few meetings next week, but then I'll start teaching "full-time" on Monday, September 8th, after we get back from a Fulbright conference in Taipei. I'm happy to say, though, that orientation is finally over, and soon, the teaching will begin.
Wish me luck!