Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's 7:30 on a Friday morning--my new Saturday.  I had every intention of sleeping in today, but my eyes popped open at 6:30, and then my monkey-mind engaged.  I've been running on empty lately and really need the rest.  The to-do list for this weekend is long, but in-between "have tos" I'll sneak in some "want tos"  (like blogging) and maybe even a nap or two.  School is stressing me out.  I still don't have a handle on the structure and paperwork, so am playing catch up, while also trying to plan for what's next.  I would love to just be able to teach (and teach what is so obviously needed) but it isn't to be. I am working hard and doing the best I can--that's all I can do.  I've said it before--my students are wonderful girls.  I realized, however, that English class here is like a foreign language class back home--there is no urgent need to learn the language well. They're not leaving school and having to translate for mom at the bank or doctor's office.

My schedule here is very different than it was back home and at first glance it appears to be quite easy.  It isn't.  It's difficult to explain, but I shall try.  Every day starts with assembly (flag salute, national anthem, presentation) at 8:00.  At 8:20 classes begin.  They last for 40 minutes.  There is a morning break of 25 minutes at 10:30, and an afternoon break of 20 minutes at 1:50.  There are nine periods in the day.  For the most part, students stay in their assigned classrooms, and the teachers come to them.

There are a few fortunate teachers who have actual classrooms of their own, and they come to pick up the students when it's time for class.  I teach Grade 11 Art and Grade 12 Art (my co-teacher has the 11 Science and 12 Science classes.) There are eight girls in each class, and I see them twice a day.  For example, every Sunday I have 11A 2nd period and 8th period, and 12A 5th and 6th periods.  Every Wednesday I have 12A 1st period and 7th period, and 11A 4th period and 9th period.  I like the days when I have them two periods in a row--it's a longer chunk of time, and we can get a lot accomplished.  Each day is different.  When I am not teaching I am in the office that I share with five other teachers, although I often slip across to a room called "the resource room" to spread out and connect to the internet.

 It would seem that there is plenty of time during the day to get everything done--teaching four periods out of nine?  Easy!  But, since our schedule is different from day to day, it seems I just get started on something, and it's time to go to class.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the schedule can change and we won't find out about it until the girls knock on the office door.  Recently, I had worked all morning on a great lesson--I was going to have 11A for two periods in a row--and I was ready for them.  Just a few minutes before the bell rang, the girls came to tell me that they had to go to the nurse for vaccinations.  So much for that lesson! Once a week I take the girls to the library for free reading.  (More "free talking" going on than reading, but it's a nice change of pace.)  We take turns using the resource room.  (Not many resources in it, but it has big round tables that make group work easier.) My day is Thursday.  I can set up before the girls get there, so it feels more like teaching as I know it. 

Laundry is going, beans are soaking for soup, and I just had a nice Skype visit with my mom.  It's time to get some breakfast and get on with the day.  Sunday morning will be here before I know it!

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