It’s hard to believe that we are already well into the new year! It seems like only yesterday we celebrated the beginning of 2011!
Beginning yesterday, was the start of a full week of classes. That is, a full schedule – something I haven’t had since before the new year. On top of beginning this full week, I was also informed that Chong-rong would be adding extra classes because of Chinese New Year.
I don’t quite understand the education system in this country, even after all this time. At least, Chong-rong’s system. Most other schools and bushibans don’t follow the same school year, so they are, at times, the ‘odd man out’.
From what I understand… Chinese New Year is a four-day holiday. As Taiwan does not observe weekends as being ‘days of rest’, unless it has to do with government-related business, if a national holiday falls on a Saturday and/or Sunday, so what!
Chong-rong is a private education institution, and therefore, has its own rules when it comes to holidays. In this case, because of the holiday, and the fact that the rest of the country took 6 days off (Tuesday through Monday), now they need to ‘make up’ the Monday that was taken off.
Okay, since my classes didn’t begin until the 14th, and the Monday in question is the 7th, it was decided that Saturday the 19th would be a day of school. We would be teaching a ‘Friday’ schedule.
In some ways, it’s okay, and others, not. I also found out that the bushibans would also operate a ‘Friday’ schedule, but only during normal school hours. The younger children in grades 1 and 2 (I believe), only go to school for a half day. They finish at 12:00. After, they head off to bushibans. So, during the afternoon on Saturday, the students would be at bushiban. However, the evening classes would not be involved.
Are you confused yet? Try working here! So many times throughout the year, these types of ‘make up’ days are given for one reason or another. Many times, I don’t get informed of these changes until the last minute. It is a good thing that, even though I do have a busy schedule, most of the other places I work understand when the schedule needs to be changed at a moments notice. Fortunately as well, they already know that the schedule would have been changed anyway!
Whether or not anyone believes me, even for some of these situations that occur, I truly enjoy teaching. This is one of the best jobs I have ever had in my entire life. If given the opportunity to go back to 2002 and make this decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
One of the greatest obstacles that I have to face daily, is my inability to speak the language. I will be the first to admit that I do not know Chinese. No one needs to remind me of that fact. People wonder why I haven’t learned the language, and this is what I say. A major reason many of my workplaces enjoy me as a teacher, is that I do not speak Chinese. Oh sure, I’ve picked up words here and there during my years, and yes, at times I am able to help the students to understand things by use of body language, the little Chinese I do know, or my translator app on my iPhone. However, for the most part, the students have to listen, think, and speak in English when I am in the class.
I have noticed time and time again, that students improve a lot in my classes. Some students, at the beginning of the year who do not even know how to say their names, are able to answer questions and carry on small conversations by years’ end. I won’t say that it is ALL due to me, but I am a big factor in their learning.
I remember when I was in school learning French. There were a couple of years where I had teachers who, during our French class, would speak nothing but French. No English. Explanations and body language were used to explain things. I try to employ those teaching concepts in my classes.
For anyone wanting to get into the field of teaching, I would say, “Go for it!” The idea of being able to pass on your knowledge to the younger generations, and watching these students learn and grow from children to young adults, is an incredible feeling.
After 10 years, I have had the opportunity of following a handful of students from their kindergarten years. Now, they are in junior or senior high school. Some of the older students are now finished school, and working in their respective fields of study.
It is wonderful to still be in contact with these people, and chatting with them on Facebook. It’s also nice to know that they have continued to improve their English abilities.
That’s it, that’s all… for now…