It is hard to believe that I am almost two full weeks into school. I wanted to blog about the differences in schooling in Taiwan and school in the US. These are my opinions and perceptions and no one else’s, I would like to think that is implied in my blog, but just in case 😉
In so many ways Taiwan is advanced in the way they do things, but there are other things that make it still behind technologically. Teaching the last 8 years in the United States I never once had a chalk board, but now it is the majority of my writing surface. In the middle to contrast strangely, I have a SMARTBOARD. Really? I feel like I have to relearn how to write on the board. I came thinking the technology would be similar. It took me until yesterday to get a working projection method that I can use with my laptop… a desktop PC. It is part of the experience I guess.
Don’t get me started on the cockroaches that made a home in some of the cabinets over summer. I do not think that anyone cleaned that room in a few years, since it is not a homeroom, but an elective room. Students generally stay in their homeroom for classes and the teachers travel to their rooms. However, I teach Western Social Studies (WSS), so they come to me. They are also assigned to clean those rooms and the surrounding hallways/sinks. I am in charge of my room and one of the few teachers that has a room, so I am not complaining. Last week, I did travel to my US history classes, but with all the projection issues (or lack of projection from my laptop) it is easier for them to come to the WSS room.
The students are still students. Truth be told they are always the best part of the job. It does seem like students complain slightly less here, or don’t know me well enough to complain to me yet. Sometimes it seems almost comical to ask a question and have 95% of the hands go up. A pinch me moment. Never would I have seen that in the US, but it was the struggle that I enjoyed. I have been told, “Welcome to teaching in Asia“. Also supporting my theory that everything is musical in Taiwan the bell is almost a full 30 second song. I took a video, so you can all appreciate it too.
I also only teach 4 classes and it is considered full-time (taught 5 in the US) with three hours of planning. Most days, I have a three-hour chunk of time in the afternoon to plan and grade. I am also back to paper. The last several years I was all digital, but now I am back to making copies, which is fine, but I do miss the availability of colored paper. School starts at 8:10 and finishes at 4:10. I live walking distance to the school, which I haven’t done since I student taught in 2007-2008. I get up in the morning 5 minutes after I left for school last year, I do love that. My biggest class is 30 students, so that is somewhat familiar, but my smallest class is 12! In total I have 92 students about 70 less than I did in the states! That is crazy to me. I have heard that 35+ is not uncommon, but I have yet to experience it. Maybe next year when my AP class is exploding since they have heard how amazing it is 😛
There are also makeup days on Saturday’s. We have two Saturday days this semester the first one being this Saturday. To tell students that the HW is due Saturday is kind of funny. I have not taught a six-day week before, but then we have a four-day weekend for Mid-Autumn festival. I have no idea what that is other than a 4 day weekend. Well, that is all I can think of for now. I am sure school will come up again in the future.