I have been relatively quiet about life changes and one of the biggest ones has been changing jobs. This is my second day at my new job, first day at my second school. Both schools are laid out differently, have different sets of teachers, and I’m not sure what other similarities and differences will appear as time goes by. Choosing to switch jobs gave me a lot of anxiety and I mulled over it for about six months and last minute decided I needed something better to provide for my family.
That choice is at odds with what I actually want in life, but you do what you need to do. I’ve always considered those who are able to work at home or be at home with their kids lucky to enjoy the little moments that parents who work outside of the home miss. Being at work and not seeing my daughter is hard. I don’t see her when she gets up, but luckily when I come home we have time to run around and play together. It is a transition that will be rough for the next week or so while we both get used to our new schedules and routines.
I was with my old company for about three and a half years and decided to leave for various reasons. One of which was pay, the other: consistency. I have worked at so many schools in the last few years sometimes up to three different ones at once during one semester. Therefore, when choosing this new position with two schools for a little more money compared to one school, I decided to focus on the benefits.
Teaching at two schools will give me more exposure in this type of school setting along with the teaching style and expectations. I figure it is an opportunity to absorb a lot of knowledge about teaching an age group I have no experience with: kindergarten. Kindergarten in China is basically preschool with kids between the ages of three and six. I have never taught English to three year olds, but now I am going to have to figure out how to do that while keeping them engaged and excited to learn.
I haven’t taught yet, but I’m not worried about it too much. Kindergarten is tiring due to the need to be energetic in the classroom. But the classes themselves are not difficult, nor are they that long. The shortest class I will teach is 10 minutes long to the three year olds, and the longest class will be 30 minutes long with the six year olds. Ten minutes will fly by, what makes it difficult is that I can’t rely on the computer so much anymore as a teacher. As an ESL teacher in public schools, I relied heavily on the computer for powerpoints to introduce key expressions, vocabulary and to play games. I can’t do that now as everything has to be off the computer.
The benefit of learning to teach this way is that I can use it in my own life with my daughter. Trying to look on the positive side as I still feel apprehensive and uneasy about not being with my daughter at home. I’m not sure when that will change or if it ever will. I’ll always feel upset about this time and wish it could be different, but I don’t have the means or the job to have it a different way. So we try to focus on our goals for this year for the family. I try to see the potential for myself and how I can learn new skills for the future that may help me in the next step in life.
So far the first two days have been okay. The staff at the main school, which is about 50 minutes from where we live on public transit is much friendly compared to the school that is a 20 minute walk from my house. Maybe we will get used to each other and become friendlier over time, perhaps not. It all depends on personalities. What I have learned is that I am getting slowly better at embracing my apprehension and learning to take the plunge. My whole life I have hated changing jobs, so I don’t do it, unless I am quitting. This time I took the initiative to challenge that and really focus on the positive and how I could do a good job. Changing jobs isn’t scary, in fact it can give you new skills or a new outlook on things.
This week has been about meeting the schools and Chinese-English teachers, the rest of the staff and greeting the children. Tomorrow I will begin a work training which will go on for about 4 days, before I am off to teach my next class next Friday. I thought we had a month of training, but it is really only a week or so. I’m glad I have taught for many years, but I still get nervous in a new school. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable and confident in my teaching method, but I think it will be okay slowly.