Archive for the ‘training’ Category

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My first week as a teacher

September 16, 2006

Today I walked into my Junior High class for the first time and the students immediately launched into a heated discussion in Chinese.  My Chinese may not be anything to brag about, but I understood that they were discussing a favorite topic of all my students: how freakin’ tall Teacher Kaitlin is.  This class wanted to know the exact measurement but no one wanted to ask me in English and I was pretending to be oblivious to what was going on. Finally they elected a smart kid to pose the question but I’m afraid my answer wasn’t very satisfying since I always forget the metric number.  Maybe I’ll figure it out and tell them next week.

Congratulate me, because that class was the third one in a row that didn’t make me want to cry.  It’s been a bit of a rough week, but there’s no other way to learn to teach than to do it.  It’s getting better, slowly but surely. 

I did have one awful class on Thursday night.  It put me over the edge for a while. Suddenly all these little things about Taiwan that hadn’t been bothering me much at all, like the ants in my apartment and the dirty air, seemed like too much to handle for a whole year, much less longer than that.

Fortunately, the next day I had some more training in Taipei.  The training itself wasn’t much fun, but it was nice to catch up with my fellow trainees who have all been going through the same things this week.  Afterwards, we all went out to T.G.I. Friday’s.  I hadn’t really been pining away for a western dinner, since as I said I love the food here, but it was comforting nonetheless.

So I got over that little mini-depression and am still enjoying myself in Taiwan, but I might be a little more cautious of the “honeymoon phase” of my time here.  There will be ups and downs, no matter how long I stay.

Coming next… my day off!

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Training Part 2

September 7, 2006

Training continues to be long and exhausting. I have my second demo tomorrow morning and I just spent almost two hours working on it with my group. It’s all over on Saturday… sort of. Next week I return for my one month follow up training, which of course is a little ridiculous, but it’s because I basically started late on a contract which began in August.

Fortunately, I really like all my fellow trainees. There are 22 of us altogether (I think). More Canadians than anything else, and only one person who isn’t North American. All of us are young (although I’m pretty much the youngest) and many of us just finished school. We seem to have a wide variety of reasons for coming here though.

So far I’ve mostly failed at communicating in Chinese, which is both frustrating and embarrassing. I’m not really a total beginner at this. I hope that once I’m in Luzhou and get settled in I’ll have more time to concentrate on my language skills.

Despite the stress of training week, when I step outside and see Taipei around me, I realize I’m very much in that honeymoon phase with Taiwan. I’ve barely had a chance to explore what’s right outside my door, but I suspect I might just fall in love with the place.

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Training Days

September 5, 2006

I’m quickly becoming accostomed to shoving unfamiliar food objects into my mouth and bracing for the surprise.  There’s some amazing food here, but there are also those moments when I wonder if someone is toying with me and feeding me an eraser to see what I do.

I got my health exam taken here today.  It was probably one of the most efficient encounters with the medical world I’ve ever had.  American hospitals might place a bit more emphasis on being private and personable, but this sure was fast.

My last two days have been spent at training.  The days are long and draining but I think my actual job, which I start next Wednesday, should be manageable.  Basically all the curriculum is provided to us.

Sunday I’ll move out to Luzhou, the suburb of Taipei where my school is located.  I have a few options for housing, all of which sound perfectly decent, and one of which sounds especially attractive. I’m sure I’ll let you know when I actually have a place.

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Welcome to Taipei

September 3, 2006

I’m starting this blog to document life as a new English teacher in Taiwan.  I hope that whether you are a friend, relative, random web surfer, or someone interested in coming to Taiwan that you will find some of my tales entertaining and informative.

 I’m here for a year, with the option of staying longer if I so choose.  Tomorrow I start a week of intensive training and then I will start teaching at my school, which is actually outside of Taipei, in Luzhou. I haven’t had a chance to go see that area yet.

 I spent yesterday with my good friend from college, Julie, who is from Taipei. She showed me all sorts of useful things and took me on a quick driving tour of the city, including a stop at Hsingtien Temple where I learned the proper procedure for making an offering and praying. It’s all a rather complicated process if you aren’t familiar with it, involving oracle blocks and bamboo sticks with numbers corresponding to the prayer’s answer. To me it seemed very crowded, but Julie informed me that it’s usually worse. After that, we went to the National Palace Museum where Julie used to work, and finally out to dinner with her parents. I’m extremely grateful that she and her family could help me get adjusted a bit on my first day, which was completely overwhelming.

Later last night I got the chance to meet some of the people I’ll be training with.  I’m not exactly sure how many people are part of this training group, but I suppose I’ll find out tomorrow morning.

This morning I wanted to do some exploring on my own.  I managed to familiarize myself with the MRT a little and tried various types of food and drink. So far I love this city, although the heat and humidity is a bit more than this poor Minnesotan can take.  Just walking down the street this morning I got such a rush of excitement for the year ahead.

So stay tuned!  And don’t be afraid to leave a comment or two!

Kaitlin