Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting my boss and seeing my school

Please note that the pictures are a bit out of sequence and I am too lazy to fix it.
This is the reading and media area of the school. Pretty nice, eh? There's two walls full of books and computers for students to use.
A desk in the lobby.
A cool little poster. I don't know why some of those countries are on their. we don't teach French or Egyptian Colloquial Arabic at Hess.
What you see when you walk in. Actually, it's a lot more impressive than the picture suggests. There are also a few very beautiful women working there.
This is a freakishly large bird that kind of doesn't look as big as it is. I guarantee, mom and dad, this thing is 2x the size of your bird feeder.
I took a picture of the KFC bilingual menu so you can get an idea of what they've got here. I really plan to use this and other menus to learn Chinese for the next few months. I think while living here the most important thing is being able to do the day to day stuff best. Sadly I can talk about textbook stuff like mailing flowers at the post office better than I can order food after my one year absence from the Chinese food ordering scene.
This is a blackboard an NST (Native Speaking Teacher, like me) made at my school. I may be called upon for similar designs in the future.
Daring to dream, indeed. What's that white kid doing there anyway? This is a school for Taiwanese learning English. I'm a bit baffled by that.
One of the classrooms for the Step Up program where I'll be teaching a few times a week.
The Jump! program's room. I was told it was called the Jump! program because the little "monsters" jump around so much. The Jump! program is a kindergarten.
Another classroom for the Step Up program. Exciting?
Just another random classroom. As I'm seeing this I'm realizing I forgot to take a picture of the American School classroom where I'll be teaching most often. Shame! Well, I'm sure you'll see it in the future if you keep checking back.
The stairs. I don't know how else to elaborate on that.

And now to the body of my blog entry:

Greetings and Salutations, puny mortals!

So I met my boss today. She's a friendly, hardworking lady, and she doesn't seem to be too strict. She explained to me my job pretty much in full, which is great to know.

Basically, it's this:
4 days a week I will be teaching the American School class which consists of a curriculum I get to design myself. This is a brand new program and I am the first teacher to do it. This is going to be about half my schedule, possibly more in the future. The other half is teaching the Step Up program, which has slightly older kids and preset curriculum I just have to follow. Totally I shall be expecting to work 6 days a week, but only about 20 hours a week. The pay is 600 NTD per hour, so I'll be earning aroud 50,000 NTD. This translates to about $1500 US and there are opportunities for bonus hours or tutoring. To give you an idea of how comfortable that would leave me, I spend about 7000 on rent, maybe 2000 tops on electric, 10000 on food and transportation, leaving me more than half of my paycheck. Of course there's tax, but I'll be getting that back eventually, and I still am able to live comfortably and save money since my expenses are low.

Back to the work situation:
Many of my American School students are going to be first-timers to English, and I am immersing them in the language. I have a specific schedule for teaching certain subjects, but what I teach is up to me for the most part. Which is awesome. I'm looking forward to teaching the children all about government and political theory.

They've asked me to research a little bit about what would actually be taught in an American school. This should be fun but challenging, yet I find myself undaunted. I am told there will be tears from time to time (usually the children's).

As for the Step Up program, that's for 3rd grade and up. It looks like most of my kids will be on the younger side, with the American School designed specifically for fresh Kindergarten graduates. My oldest student could possibly be 12 but I think it'll be about 9 or 10. I am looking forward to the cuteness.

My boss did her best to warn me of the challenges, doing everything short of a "get out while you still can" speech. But she also seems to be impressed with my attitude (but not my handwriting, having noticed that it, like the other Canadian and American male teachers at the school, was quite poor), and seems to have good expectations of me. She also said that she's glad I considered myself patient and good with the littler "monsters" as she (somewhat) affectionately referred to the students. At the end she said not to worry too much, because she was just trying to make my expectations as low as humanly possible so that when kids weren't pooping and puking all over everything in sight that I'd be pleasantly surprised.

She gave me her number and some wonderful bus directions which I comfortably followed back home. When I arrived to my stop I grabbed a Zinger from KFC. This was actually my first item of food today. I think I'm going to enjoy a nice banana and some toast later (April's parents gave me a toaster, among many other gifts).

Regrettably this morning I missed out on Mandy (April's sister) graduating from Junior High. I plan to make her a nice card and maybe give her some kind of present.

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