Just like every year since 1994, the beginning of September has meant the beginning of a new school year for me. Now for the first time, I’m a teacher and not a student. My first six weeks working at my school was for what they call “summer term” but now, it’s officially the start of the 2011-12 year.
Much like July, this month is about learning lots of new names. I’d say about a third of my 120 (or so) students are new, but I usually am able to remember everyone after a week or two. The beginning is always the hardest with teaching this age group as most of the kids take a while to become comfortable with a new person in their lives. There are, of course, the exceptions that sit on my lap seconds after I introduce myself. But the vast majority of the children will gravitate towards their mothers when I approach them. Fortunately, this distance goes away fairly quickly.
This week had a bit of a dark cloud over it as one of the teachers at the school was let go in what I felt was an unjust manner. He had done nothing wrong, but wasn’t teaching the way that he was expected to and was let go because things weren't working out. I won’t go into this with too much detail on this public forum, but let’s just say I got my first taste of injustice in the workplace in this, my first real fulltime job.
Overall, my love for teaching the kids and working with my fellow teachers is much greater than my disappointment in some of my superiors. Still, it’s hard to see a friend treated poorly and not be able to do much about it. I am not personally concerned about getting fired as I’ve had no complaints from my boss or kids’ parents so far. I must not take for granted my good fortune in finding a job that was such a great fit for me on the first try. I’m not sure if I’ll continue on here after a year though. It depends on a great deal of things, and I can’t see into the future.
Other than that, there’s not much to report here in Hong Kong. I’m working hard on my Cantonese and have even started watching some Hong Kong films to more familiarize myself with the culture. As I’ve said, the farther I can remove myself from your stereotypical clueless tourist, the happier I’ll be.