I visited Ilan yesterday and saw the place I will be living and the schools I'll be teaching at. It seems like a nice enough place. It's quite a bit larger than my little niche of Yuli. Currently I'm experiencing some pre-first day jitters and some resistance to change. I feel like I'm not ready for this change, but I know that in the end it will be ok. This is a normal feeling for me... I tend to feel nervous before something happens, but once it starts I become calm.
Here is an idea of what the next four months will look like:
- teaching only at high school level and above
- teaching from ORTV's magazines, Studio Classroom and Let's Talk in English
- "no tests, no homework" conversation classes
- teaching very large classes (average 30-40 students)
- seeing individual classes on a rotating basis (every second week at two of the schools, and on an irregular rotation at a third school)
- teaching conversation classes at the church two nights a week
- teaching at 3 schools, 2 days a week
Actually it's not a very full schedule right now, and since all of my classes are currently crunched into two days, I have 3 days a week where I don't teach any classes! I start teaching on Monday, and all week will just be doing "first day" activities. Hopefully I can quickly get an idea of the students' level and a feel for the classes. I still have to move all of my stuff there, and acquire a bicycle and oven (my two necessities, ha!) I'll have DSL in my room there.... I love how Taiwan's so technology-friendly.
I'm excited to work with high school students (more serious about their studies than Jr. High) at a higher level of English (there's much more pressure to perform in the bigger cities), I think it will be somewhat like teaching our adult class last semester, which was a lot of fun. At the same time I'm sad that I won't be working with kids at all, since I'd have to say that's where I was happiest this past year. I know the experience will be stretching and challenging, and help me become more well-rounded as a teacher.
After I teach Monday-Wednesday, I'll return to Yuli for a frenzied day of cleaning and any packing I still have left to do and on Thursday night (sept 15) we're possibly going to stay in Hualian with Dr. Su and Peggy, who want to take us to Taroko before we leave (and will also help us move all our stuff to Ilan and Taipei respectively). This means that Hope (as she put it the other day: the person I am closest to in the world right now) and I also only have a week or so til we are parting ways.... sometime in there we also have to prepare a year-end report that we'll be presenting in Taipei to (hopefully) prove that they weren't wasting their money on us this year.
One final note: perhaps you are stinging from my empty promises of returning home this October, but there's about a 90% probability that I'll be returning home in January. They told me they would arrange it so I could leave a little early at the end of the semester and spend an entire month at home... and of course January in Canada is the optimal climate for such a visit LOL... well at least I can play in the snow, such a strange thought on this balmy september evening.