Well at least in my world!
11.01.2007 - 21.10.2009 28 °C
After a two year break from primary teaching I was a little nervous to take on what I considered to be a stressful and overbearing job in an environment where I didn't entirely fit in. That's what teaching represented while I still lived in Scotland, thanks to my demoralising probationary year experience. I felt like I was useless at teaching and didn't hold the necessary telepathic skills to work out what the management wanted from me.
Teaching in Taiwan gave me a new set of issues with management. However, I learned that other people's incompetence is often the root of my problems, because I seem to be transparent in my recognition of useless people. During my second year in Taiwan I really started to feel that I had information, skills and experience that made me pretty good at doing the best by my kids. I managed to get all of my work done over my lunch breaks and a bit of time after school, my kids were learning and things ran relatively smoothly from week to week and month to month. I liked teaching the baby class. They were tiring but cute and I think I'll always miss our daily 'cuddle time'. I have memories of Max giggling, Sean pinching all the way up my arm with his fingers and Ryan drying the dribble off his mouth with a tissue before giving me a kiss on the cheek. It was nice to work in a country where it's OK to care about your students and be able to show it.
The one thing I did lack in my job as nursery teacher was mental stimulation. I tried to make more out of my job than was there just to keep my brain active. The kids were just too young to have a conversation of more than 3 words with and my Chinese co worker (who I loved to work with) did not have much English either. I didn't understand how teachers had stayed at the school for as many as seven years, doing the same thing year in year out. So when it came to planning the next move abroad, I only considered International Schools as an option. I knew that the overseas package was good, and fantastic compared to that of an ESL teacher but I was also looking forward to taking on the challenge of Primary teaching again.
Now I'm three weeks into teaching at an International school in Egypt and I'm not only enjoying the job but I feel like I'm thriving at the school. It's been so easy to fit in and all of the teachers are welcoming, friendly and helpful. There is a completely different atmosphere at this school compared to the ones I taught at in Scotland (and I have around 12 to compare it to!). It's not to say that there isn't moaning and aspects that are logistically frustrating but I just like being there and my class is full of enthusiastic, well behaved and nice 9 year old kids! Planning is done collaboratively and everyone helps each other out. It's a long school day (7.30am - 3.30pm) but I have quite a few free periods each day which means that I teach for about the same amount of hours as I would in the UK but I manage to get most of my work done in the school day. No-one stays past about 4.30pm and most leave shortly after the school bell at 3.30pm so there's no guilt about having a life outside of work!
So my feeling after living here for 2 months and teaching the kids for 3 weeks is that this is probably the best teaching job I have ever had. I hope I continue on in such high spirits through the rest of the year!