July 5, 2012

Summer vacation for Taiwan has begun.  That usually means a change in scheduling for me.

As mentioned a couple of days ago, one of our teachers has left to pursue other goals.  However, the students don’t leave.  Well, some do, but it seems that for every student that leaves, one or two more begin.  As well, the existing students from Carrie’s classes who have decided to stay, are moved into new classes.

This also means that some students may require copies of material that their new classes.  Now, I suppose I could ask the school to make the copies of the materials, but that’s just not me.  The other teachers and staff at Giraffe are busy enough with other tasks.  It would take me almost as long to explain and/or write down what materials are needed.  Since I have two printers at home, and all my ‘pedogogical’ materials are scanned and stored on my computer, it’s a lot easier to just print out what I need.

So, that’s what I do!  Most times of the year, I may have one or two new students.  Printing out is not a problem.  At this time of year though, although not a problem, just time consuming.  Printing off 20 or 30 pages, back-to-back for nine new students, does take a little while.  I think I’m one of the fewest, if not the only teacher, who buys paper by the box.  Not just one or two reams, but 10 at a time.  Just like my coffee stash, this is about enough paper (some 5000 sheets) to last me about a month or so.  During busier times, like Christmas and Halloween, when I make booklets for the kids, this increases dramatically.

Perhaps, in another few decades, when paper is non-existent, and everyone is using iPads, it will be simpler to download the various pages to the students’ iPads, and away we go.  That is of course, if iPad is still operating then!  The one thing I’ve observed over the years is that students may forget their books, but they are NEVER without their electronic toys that mommy and daddy buy for them.

I sometimes wonder if I am the oddball teacher, or foreign teacher, here in Taiwan.  How many other teachers do their lesson planning at home, on their own time?  How many other teachers print out materials for their students using their own materials and time?  I’ve observed other foreign teachers at other schools over the years.  If they are any indication, then the answer is none.

I suppose the gist of this is, I wouldn’t do it, if I didn’t enjoy what I do. I’m sure if I insisted, my planning time and supplies could be compensated, but then I would feel bad.  Then again, this may also be one (albeit small) reason why I’ve been a teacher for so long, and with the same schools.

So, today being Thursday, I have one kindergarten class and five cram school classes.  I also decided to write a thank-you letter to Chunghwa Telecom for all the assistance and understanding and the gift of a new iPhone 4S.  I feel it is only proper that I should acknowledge that they did respond to my concerns.

Although I have had problems, mainly due to language and translation issues, the two people that I have dealt with in the past couple of weeks, Ms Tina Tsai and Ms Eliza Tseng, have reassured me Chunghwa Telecom is a company worth doing business with.  As well, should I have any further problems or issues, they are willing to assist me.  I, in turn, have offered my services as an English-speaking person, to assist THEM, should the need arise.

I’m still awaiting a response from KFC, which was sent to them BEFORE I sent the letter to Chunghwa Telecom.

In a couple of weeks, my lawsuit will finally begin.  There was a meeting set up a couple of weeks ago, but because of a typhoon, the meeting was cancelled an rescheduled.

This summer and this year in particular, has been very busy for me.  When I compare this year with last, as per my sentiments on New Year’s, this has also been a very productive and encouraging year.  Last year, 2011, was probably the worst year on record for me.  It was, in a word, the shits!  Almost anything this year, would have to be better than last.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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