Today I proctored a placement test at 7:55am and then waited with a hopeful heart for a meeting to begin to discuss integrating the curriculum. Our schedule is different because rather than one teacher teaching ESL 1 and another teaching ESL 2 or what have you, we each teach different skills (e.g. speaking and listening, writing and grammar or reading and vocabulary) to each class. Then, and we don’t know how we’ll average out the grades.
As a public school CCC, my employer, requires syllabi that specify what will be studied each week in each class. That’s hard to come up with when you’re jetlagged, brand new and must collaborate with teachers whom you’ve just met. So we have hit the ground running.
As happens in China, new developments pop up so our director’s been called off to handle new problems or one of the teachers had trouble with the online testing. The system couldn’t handle more than 3 people in a class doing an online test. So to make a long story short, by noon our meeting hadn’t happened.
I did start working on the syllabus for the 10th graders. Our books for each skill are different so it’s hard to figure out how to use them coherently so the students aren’t just dazed. I’ve put something together, but by the end of the day due to more testing and problems (e.g. finding out the students who’re already taking 9 college credits of economics, art appreciation and biology in addition to ESL from Americans and their Chinese high school courses would be put in an extra TESOL prep course on Sundays). So we never got to discuss this curriculum.
I did have lunch with Spurgeon, an AP calculus teacher from Sierra Leone via Houston, Chris, another English teacher and two Chinese high school teachers. The conversation was lovely, but the food was so so. I’m afraid I won’t find the great food options I had in Jinan.
Getting food really is quite a problem. We’re living in a planned community, but no one planned the grocery options well. There’s a poorly stocked small grocery that’s rather dilapidated. Rumor has it that Phoenix City 20 minutes from here has better options, but by the time I finished working, I was just too tired. It would be nice if someone took us to the good stores or at least gave us some good directions. I’ve been surviving off of food I brought from home — pita bread, chocolate and baby carrots — and a couple bad restaurant meals.
Today the Chinese teachers all got new bikes from the school. I’m happy for them, but it did remind us how overlooked we’ve been. My apartment still lacks items like an air conditioner, plates, kitchen utensils that were promised. It’s one thing if I was complaining about not getting something I was never told to expect; it’s another to arrive and face lots of work with jet lag and then be told to talk to the landlord about missing furnishings.
Of course, we’re puzzled as it’s the liaison’s job to liaise. He knows we 1) don’t speak Cantonese and 2) don’t have the contact information for the landlord. How I miss Jinan, Nancy Feng and Scofield.