How life out the window changes so quickly! The first stop for the Foreign English Teachers in Taiwan was at Howard’s Motel in Taipei where we stayed for most of the first week – enjoying our leaders, new friends, and of course good food!
After the week of preparation for the next year, each of the teachers were able to meet a representative from their assigned school, discuss the details, and then pack up and head out – by bus, train, plane, or car/van. The representative from my school, Kate, is one of the directors, which is similar to an assistant principal. I rode to Douliou City with her family, where our first stop was at the home of Sonia, the teacher responsible for my living arrangements. The fifth floor of her house had an available room, which was mine based on my approval, which came easily. My balcony overlooks the city. I can hear sounds of the city, but not able to see them up close.
Monday morning, the principal had planned a welcome party for me, including signing the contract. After the paperwork was finished, several people came bearing gifts – from a handwritten calligraphy note about hopes for this year for the students, beautiful flowers, and many sweet gifts of candy. My heart was definitely touched by the expectant hopes this staff has of me. I hope I can live up to their expectations – which we will attempt to do together.
I have been busy preparing some power point presentations of some stories that I will be reading to the students, as well as updating the ‘Meet the Teacher’ PPT to be used the first time with each class. The students came this morning to clean up the campus, and then meet their teachers, and get their textbooks. It was so fun to walk up to a group of students and speak to them in English. Some of them ran, some acted like they didn’t see me, and others really tried to speak.
In the afternoons and evenings, I have been finding my way around the neighborhood. I know where to go shopping, know where the train station is, and am learning some of the names of favorite foods of mine so I can order on my own. Lots to learn, to become oriented to my new home.
Orientation – and beyond! I’m still working on becoming oriented to using this blog to get it to do what I want it to do. That is definitely a work in progress.
Beginning of a new year – with some incredible people who are so willing to help me in any way they can. I think this orientation will be good.