Ready for my first day at a new school
We are currently in week one of our first month back at school. For Justin, this did not require much adjustment except for getting back into early morning routines. However, for me, it has been quite a change. Besides wedding planning, moving between countries and visa issues, I have not been this busy for over a year – okay, I take that back, those are pretty huge things! I have so much on my plate right now that I pass out before 8pm on many nights, and barely have enough energy to make it through a full day. I am the only new teacher, so I think that the others have assumed that I know where, how, and when to do everything expected of me. On the contrary, I have felt like my head is spinning, and even the smallest of tasks requires the help of others. Those ‘others’ are usually busy with their own classes and schedules. Needless to say, it has been a stressful start to the school year. I am praying for calmer, smoother, and more organised weeks ahead.
Okay – enough about my frustrations – let me show you a few pictures from our first week (back) at school. We have plenty more to show you, but as you have probably noticed, we have been M.I.A for about a week. Too busy to blog!! For me that means: Too busy to rest. Blogging is resting for me. When you see no blog posts you should know that we are both very busy, very sick, or very tired. So if you receive an influx of blog posts over the next week, just know that we are trying to “catch up” and that we are finding time to unwind.
This is our school. It may not be easy to tell at first glance, but there are two buildings. The one on the left is the high school, and the one on the right is the primary school. Justin works only in the high school, but I work in both. I teach a vast array of ages, so I have “many hats” to wear throughout the week. In the mornings I have to act like an adult as I teach grade 7 and 12, and in the afternoons I can sing songs and get creative with grades 1, 2 and 3.
This is the Primary School English Teacher’s office, and there are only ladies in here.
Above is the High School English Teacher’s Office, and it is mainly dominated by men. Just looking at the pictures, you would probably guess that the messy office belonged to the men, and the tidy one to the women, but the opposite seems to be true here. I spend most of my time in the high school office because it is quieter, neater and my desk is near to the window.
On my first day at school, I found two hard boiled eggs on my desk. One of the teachers had given birth to her baby, and the tradition is to give all of your co-workers boiled eggs in celebration of this fact. The Chinese characters on the eggs say “Happiness” or “Good Things”. After a wedding we receive similar gifts from our co-workers. I wrote about this in a previous blog post, and you can read about that here: Chinese Weddings.
It’s been a super busy transition in primary school as there are many teaching materials to prepare. As luck would have it, the printers were not working during the first week of school so I had to draw almost all the flashcards that I needed.
I found this dictionary on one of the bookshelves in the High School. Below you can see that one of the students carefully removed a portion of the book so that his iPhone could fit into it. So this is how kids cheat these days?
The school cafeteria is a hit or miss, but so far we have eaten lunch there everyday. After a late meeting, we even stayed for dinner one night. Saving that time on food preparation, and washing dishes, really makes a difference to the remainder of our evenings. However the food isn’t always very satisfying, so we prefer to cook and eat at home in the evenings. During lunch time, we are thankful for the quick, hot meal provided by the school.
We take the bus to school and back, and it costs us less that 1 yuan per trip (that’s $0.16 or R1.61). The journey is pretty quick, and fortunately it is not on a busy route, so we never have to stand or squish up against other people. It is a nice time to listen to music and look out the window at what is going on outside. We enjoy the peaceful bus rides to and from work.
I started school earlier than Justin, as the high school opened a few days after the primary school. While I was teaching during the day, he cleaned, did the grocery shopping, washed all of our daily vegetables (quite an important chore in China), and made sure that all the errands were sorted out. He is such an amazing husband.
We have lots more news to share with you.
More coming soon.