I’ve been here for a while. You hear me say that every post. However, I didn’t want to draw comparisons until I’d been in the classroom for at least a few weeks and things leveled out. You should also know that I can only speak about the English classrooms here, because this is the only class I teach.
I can now talk about some things that I notice.
-The halls here are open plan, so there are only one side of classrooms and then a balcony per floor, as opposed to two under the roof. I like this because it allows for a flow of air, which is important on this tropical island.
-Lunch comes to you on trays. There is usually a rice/carb, a soup, a tray of fruits (they’re on an apple kick lately), and two or three side/main dishes. You bring your own dishes and silverware, and wash them out after the meal. Teachers take theirs in the teacher’s office, and are encouraged to take home the leftovers because they always have too much. I’ve gotten some good dinners out of those leftovers, to be sure, and my fridge is currently stocked with apples.
– Cold, Hot, Warm. Some machines here only have hot and warm, because cold is supposed to be bad for you
-I mentioned the security, but the kids really do just roam the hallways. My first graders love nothing more than to poke their little head in the windows of my classroom on off periods and giggle, ‘Teacher Hannah!’ and then run away. They don’t know much English, so they mostly just look at me and squeal.
-The day lasts longer. We still begin around 8am but then the school finishes at 4pm. The entire school has lunch at 12pm and then after this is about an hour of rest time. Some teachers put their heads down to nap, and the kids do something….school ends at 4pm and many students will then go to Buxiban, or cram school.
-There is music for everything! At 10:15am, there is a song to remind students to take a break from their work and do some ‘far looking’ or look at something green. There is a cleaning song in the afternoon, classical music that plays during lunch, and a song to remind kids to wash their hands and brush their teeth after lunch. I love this; it breaks up the day wonderfully, and also provides something to hum along to if you’re feeling a particular drag.
-Because so many of the students go to Buxiban, or cram school, after 4pm when school lets out, there is little time left over for extracurricular activities. This being the case, I’ve had much difficulty starting the choir I want to start. I’ve been given a slot during monday lunchtime, but I’m not sure how much 30 minutes will do. In progress.
-Everywhere is littered with English words. Probably similar to American schools, but it merits mention. Having words on the stairs is a great way to learn!
The Principal’s office is kind of a big deal here.
Did I mention how much I love the Principal?
Here is another picture of the school rooftops/open floor plan.
-The library here is surprisingly nice, but surprisingly empty of many books.
Shoes come off before entering the English classroom!