Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Full Plate

I have a feeling that these next 6 months of teaching here are going to fly by VERY quickly. I have reached my "maximum capacity" in terms of my classes and the time I have in each 5 day/35 hr work week here. My schedule is "complete". It currently looks like this.

Mondays- OFF
Tuesdays- OFF
Wednesdays- 1:30-9:30pm (teach Pre-K2 from 7-9pm)
Thursdays- 1:30-9:30pm (Teach Pre-K1 from 7-9pm)
Fridays- 1:30-9:30pm (Teach Pre-K3 from 7-9pm)
Saturdays- 9:30am-5:30pm (Teach Pre-K1 from 10am-12pm, Teach K Level from 2-5pm)
Sundays- 9:30am-5:30pm (Teach Pre-K2 from 10am-12pm, Teach Pre-K3 from 1:30pm-3:30pm)

We TRULY need another foreign teacher at this point. WeekDAY classes cannot be scheduled any earlier than 7pm because the kids are in school and/or eating dinner before then. WeekEND classes cannot be scheduled any later .... because the day is done for everyone at 5:30pm. So we need another foreign teacher in order to schedule more classes for the same time slots. AND/OR to hold classes on Monday and Tuesday nights.

My principal has not had much luck with men. I mean, with prospective male teachers. The first guy who went to training in Beijing with me, Robert, backed out of his contract because he was worried about his visa. (ALSO - in my opinion he was not qualified... ) He only had his Associate's Degree, had no experience dealing with kids in any work-related situation, and he was very "quiet" and "passive" and not very "outgoing" -- which, unfortunately seems to be the fatal flaw that hinders all of "our men". The 2nd guy left after just two days because he too was worried about his visa. Then this 3rd guy from Ireland came in for an interview but Linda thought that he was too passive- standing back rather than interacting with the kids. THEN just the other day we had a 4th guy come in. He seems really sweet and happy and good natured.  He's from Washington, DC. He speaks Mandarin and has lived in China before, for 6 months. He miiiiight be teaching with us... however, he had to take the contract home to review it with his family. To see if it's good? I don't know. I think it's a decent contract for a "3rd tier city" like Foshan.  I think it's good for your first year living in China. If you're living in Shanghai or Beijing you're naturally going to be making a little more because the cost of living is higher.

We have a LOT of dynamic, loud, active, opinionated women working in my school. I count myself as one of them. It's funny though because for most of my everyday life, in general back in the US I'm pretty "blowin in the wind"... "go with the flow".... and I don't stress too easily. However, living in a foreign country has brought out another side in me.

It's kind of like with siblings - say when a younger, maybe just about speaking age- 2 yr old girl has a very talkative, helpful, older 5 yr old sister who talks FOR her ... sometimes there is a speech delay in the younger sister. She doesn't feel like she NEEDS to talk because she has so many other people talking for her. ( and usually making the right choices).

But here - I don't have that "older sister".... I have to look out for myself and make sure to double check to  "dot my i's" and "cross my t's" and read between each line. I have to make waves a little bit if I expect to get things going. (like making sure that I had two days off here, etc.)

It's not that I always had other people talking FOR me .... it's just that I could trust my surroundings more easily in the US. Believe me, just because I may have a longer fuse than other people, doesn't mean the explosion is any weaker. -- and that's not meant to be a threat ... it's just the truth man! lol. We ALL have breaking points. But there is that space between "catering to other people" and "breaking point" that's called simply "standing up for yourself" --- and that's the place that I'm living in on a regular basis right now. Just firmly but calmly making sure to always stand up for myself.

So between me and Dona ( my TA from Uzbekistan) and Metis and Bella (MY TA's both from China).... we've got a loud, active, fun, bunch of women in the Academic Department. I think if I was a man... I might be a little... overwhelmed? lol. Maybe it would be easier to hire another woman? ...hmmm  I don't know how this story will unfold.

Stay Tuned.

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