Friday, July 19, 2013

First Days and Impressions, Part 2: The School

I know many of you think I'm here for an extended, 2-year vacation. The truth of the matter is, I am also here to teach! I found out awhile ago that I don't make enough money to just travel all the time, but I can see a lot of the world by working. So I'll dedicate this post to writing about the school.

The disclaimer first: I've only been here a week, the other teachers have not returned, let alone the students. Maybe it's just the honeymoon period. However, I've been nothing but impressed by how the school has treated us and really helped us get adjusted to life here. Things that can be intimidating, and take days even if you *do* speak the language well, have been pretty easy. They've helped with stuff like setting up bank accounts, applying for a work visa, and getting a functional cell phone. The focus of this first week is to find housing, and they find places online, contact realtors, and set up appointments. Everything has been extremely organized. They've also made sure that we are fed, have money, and a roof over our heads in the hotel we're put up in.

I've never worked in a private school before, and they don't have the best reputation in the U.S. because their teachers don't have to be licensed. But this school has a reputation of the best in the country. Because of that, a lot of care goes into giving us good teaching conditions so we can give the education that the clientele expects (and pays for). A couple examples: every single elementary classroom has a full time aide. Elementary teachers have about 2 1/2 hours of planning time a DAY. That's about what most U.S. teachers get in a week. It's also on a really nice campus. Here are some pictures of the campus and my classroom. Remember, these are "before" pictures: hopefully, next week, I'll get the room put together a bit!

We took a walking tour of the neighborhood the school is in.





My 5th grade classroom! Look, I even have a Smartboard!!

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