Saturday, August 21, 2004

New Year, New School, New Country

Wow, what a transition - Eastern Europe to the Caribbean. I'm bombarded with so many new things that it is difficult to sort them out. A new house, new puppy, new schedule, new students, new lifestyle, new climate, new car... and the list goes on. It is hard to concentrate on any one thing for too long - I am pulled in so many directions and I feel like I should be doing everything at once.

So, new schedule - 2 English, 2 History, 1 Science, and 1 Drama. I am now teaching on an 85 minutes block A/B Day for Mon- Thurs, and all classes for 45 minutes on Friday. With a week in of school, I found the Friday schedule easier. Though the kids commented that it was overwhelming to have all classes. On the other hand, a few kids commented that 85 minutes with some teachers is a deadly thing. I must endeavor to plan 15-20 minute chunks of lessons, and get students moving within the class. With drama, we're moving too much. The kids are over stimulated and begin to get silly. In history, I've planned longer projects to do with in the hour, and the kids get bored with doing the same thing.

It is strange having all new kids. For the last few years, I've been with the same group of students as they move up. The first day of school was easy - I knew all their names, histories, quirks etc. I knew who to hug and who to give space. Now I feel unsure. I have a teacher persona, which I have yet to gauge if it matches this new situation. I feel like the kids are floating in and out of my classroom, and I don't have names to faces yet. But, I have given them an interest inventory to complete and the Million Words or Less assignment for their parents. I hope this will enable me to get a better handle on them.

The materials here leave something to be desired. The Literature series is from 1997. It has all the worksheet with it, but doesn't really focus on the process of reading. The history books are loaded with facts, people and dates, but I will have to try and make it "real". It is also frustrating not knowing where to go to find the resources. I used have this, that or the other thing, and knew exactly where to look for it. Now I'm raiding other teacher's classrooms (with their permission) to find the basics. Again, I feel pulled in several directions.

The kids are lovely. There are curious, friendly, and just want to be heard. It is comforting to see that teenagers all over the world really are alike, more then they would care to admit. I'm still trying to get a sense of the needs and levels of my students. So far, the staff has been quite nice and accommodating too. No one has turned me down when I've asked for help or supplies.

1 comment:

  1. Where are you and where have you been? I just returned from Hungary teaching English for the year. I would love to hear of your adventures.

    M. Grimm