Note: I started this post in September and finished it recently.
There is nothing like starting the school year and finding out that you won’t be teaching at the same school you have taught at for the last two years. In fact, I was quite sad about the news as I was told the school would no longer be working with Haida, my company, and they would have to find me a new school. While this means I will have a relaxing month of September, except for traveling to Leshan to teach at a kindergarten which luckily I only had to go once during the whole month.
I interpreted this as a go with the flow moment, maybe it will be a good thing. Haida has said the elementary school has fewer hours for me to work and it should be relatively easy on me as I am pregnant. Although the ride to work will be a bit longer and I don’t start until October. I have been to this school once before and I remember the few classes I taught were very sweet second graders. So I am unsure of what age I will be teaching and how many classes a week, but I assume it will go okay. Joy has reassured me that all of the teachers are really good, so I shouldn’t have any problems.
Today being my first day at the kindergarten that I am filling in for, I found out that my old school contacted Haida again about me working for them. Apparently , they had lied (or not clearly explained themselves) about the reasons why they no longer wanted to work with Haida. After saying it was because the education office of that area recommended a different company, which they could have said in the first place when asked several times they didn’t. Joy explained to my old coworker, Rebecca, that it was too late to switch my paperwork back again, as my paperwork for the new school had finished. Now granted, she mentioned that maybe all of my schools in the spring will change again, but it is hard to say, but for this moment in time it is their fault that it changed as they could not provide prompt and truthful communication.
I’m flattered they wanted me back, but at the same time I understand the headache of paperwork for foreigners working and living in China. You can’t flip flop without raising suspicion and it is better not to do that. So this semester is off to an interesting start and I’ll also continue to teach at the school in Pidu that I did last semester.
Sometimes I ask myself, why do you work so hard? Why travel so far? But, I figure when it comes time for renewal maybe I can finally find a way to get a raise and possibly ask for a school closer to my house. Good schools are wonderful, but a shorter commute and better pay are the most important to me now that we have a child on the way.
The first week at my new elementary school got off to a rough start, but I do have a Chinese co-teacher in every class which helps make teaching the munchkins much easier and more manageable. This is especially true since there are about 45 students in each class, which at such a young age is really hard to manage by yourself in the same language let alone a different one.
The shorter commute is especially important to me after I started working at the elementary school. My classes start at about 10:50 in the morning so technically I should be able to leave the house for work between 8:30 – 9:30 depending on the day, but Line 1 in Chengdu is so crowded during rush hour that I have just noped the fuck out of that thought. So I leave for work at about 6:35 in the morning and catch the 6:40 or 6:50 train all in order not to be squished or to get a seat, which I normally do. Although there have been a few mornings where I wasn’t able to get a seat for a few stops which kind of pissed me off. A shorter commute close to home would be a wonderful improvement is all I have to say.