Friday, August 12, 2011

First Week of School my Second Year in Malaysia

This year I was here before school started so I was able to be present and participate in teacher meetings. We met the last three days of the first week of August. We talked about field trips and our visit this year for our Accreditation. It is a mid-quarter (?) visit. We talked about the activities we were going to have this year. The thing that took up the most time was figuring out our schedule. We are continuing to grow and the new school building has not been started yet. So we still have too many students, and not enough teachers or rooms for all of the classes and big enough to fit all of the students. This year they got a portable building that they put on the side of the school and we moved the library into that, so the old library could be turned into a classroom. We are only licensed for the current rooms as far as teaching and so that is why we didn't make the portable building a classroom. Since I spent many hours organizing the library and putting all our collection on Library Thing the Director of Studies wanted for them to wait until I was around before moving the library. He knew I probably wouldn't be very happy if it got all messed up and I had to start all over again. We did finally settle on a schedule that worked so that everyone had at least one break/planning period a day, so that we all had manageable classes and taught as many classes as possible for all that the students wanted and fit them into the classrooms that we have. On Friday we felt good to go for Monday and felt we accomplished many things.

For me, I felt, the first week went pretty good. This year I found different transportation to school, so that I can sleep in, because I no longer have to wait a long time for the bus or ride the whole route. I get to school early though because with just taking me to school it is a short trip. I like being to school early and having some time to prepare before the students arrive. On Monday I spent the whole day moving the library. I had help from students. I thought it was also a great way to get them to see how the library was organized and why it was organized the way it is, and why they should put books back in the correct spot. It was a very hot and humid day and the portable building did not have air conditioning yet. So, I was dripping sweat almost the whole day. I also did most of the work, not only because I wanted to keep the library organized but it was also fasting month and since I do not participate in Ramadan I was able to drink water and eat while those who are fasting could not. So I mostly had them do light work. We got all but two book cases moved that first day. On Tuesday morning the first two classes of the day we finished moving the library. I also had some books that had been found over the summer that I had some students enter into our Library Thing account. Once we got the books all moved I went through all the books one more time and did some minor adjusting. The rest of the day I taught my normal classes. I had to teach some of my classes in the new library since the old one needed to be cleaned out and had no desks or chairs. On Wednesday I taught my classes again and really had my students get to work. They thought we were going to take it easy for the whole first week and were disappointed that we were actually going to work. The old library got a fresh coat of paint to help it spruce up a bit. On Thursday and Friday it was more getting settled into the new schedule. I taught two classes on Friday in the old library and I thought it was nice. It is a small room, so it is pretty cozy. I still rotate rooms this year, but I am hoping to be able to switch some rooms so that I can rotate less. We have talked that maybe I would move my work area into the old library and then not so many teachers would be in room 5, the room I currently share with two other full time teachers and one part time teacher. I still have to look at the schedule all the time so I know where to go and what class I am teaching. My classes are bigger this year. My 6/7 class is 9 students, 8th-10 students, World History 11 students and 9/10th 20 students. We have some more students on the way. They are working on getting their visas so the classes are going to continue to grow in the next few weeks. I will also have 3 extra English classes but they have not started yet, so those numbers are still to be determined.

Last year when I started it was also Ramadan. It was the very ended of it, so I did not experience much of it. This year I am here for the whole thing. This week on Monday and Wednesday we did food from a Duck Rice place. I had duck rice. On Tuesday we did McDonald's and Thursday, KFC. I knew that they fasted during the day and could not eat or drink, but I did not know that they are not supposed to swallow their saliva. I think that is something that would be very hard to do. It is such an automatic reflex that I would have a hard time remembering not to do that.  Two of my co-workers are pregnant and both are fasting. They don't have to fast now but they have to make it up later, so both of them are opting to fast now. I also think that would be very hard to do. One of them earlier in her pregnancy was hungry all the time, so I cannot imagine how hard it would be for her now.  It is interesting sometimes to see similarities and difference between cultures and religions. In Christianity we are not supposed to talk about our fasting. It is just something between us and God. Here they are very open about it. They ask each other all the time if they are fasting (girls also do not have to fast at their time of the month, but must make it up later). Some of the younger students announce many times a day that they are fasting. I do try not to drink water in front of them but it is hard if I am very thirsty and develop a cough to not take a drink in front of them. I also try not to eat in front of them. We do have a designated room for eating and that is where I stay to eat. Sometimes those who are fasting come in to hang out and talk. I don't leave when they do that because they are choosing to come in and I am eating in our designated area. I am not going to hide in the bushes behind our school and eat. I learned many things this last year and I am sure that I will learn many more this year. I feel that this is something where if I had visited here for just a few weeks there are some different things I would see but within a short time of being home those things would be forgotten. By living here for a decent length of time (almost 2 years at least) I am learning and experiencing many things that I would not had I stayed in my hometown or a town similar to my home town for the rest of my life. I think it is a good thing. I like to be open minded and knowledgeable and this helps me to do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment