Grand Opening is just three days away! The Yew Wah International Education School officially opens its doors to students on September 18. But since the campus isn’t really ready for us to occupy it, we will be hosting an activity camp at the Sheraton resort just down the road for the first two days. Here is a rendering of what the school will look like when completed:
Only 6 of those buildings are in progress, but phase II starts this fall. Eventually this school will have 2000 students from K – 12. The tall buildings in the back (right) will be staff accommodations and student housing. This year we are starting with 150 students from K – 10. My classes have the following numbers of students:
So the challenge will be how to best teach such small groups. I’m used to 30 in a class.
We still have not been able to get into our classrooms and we are all anxious to get started. It has been a long month working out of a conference room. There have been many hiccups, last minute changes, complete gaffs etc. But I am so happy to say that this new staff has taken everything in stride. Yes, we are sick of the conference room. Yes, we are sick of sitting and not teaching. But, we know each other really well now. 🙂
I have planned my first three units for each class and created the daily lessons for the first unit for each class. I’m feeling well prepared on my end. I have purposefully not gone any further as I do not know the level of students I am getting. I don’t know their English level, nor if they have had any humanities or geography. So the first week will be very much centered around understanding the knowledge and skill base the kids are starting the year with.
On Friday a few of us went shopping for items for our classrooms. We had placed our requests the week before and someone was to have scouted out where we could find our items. Then we were told we would go to two or three stores, check the products and make orders. The gals would then pay for them and they would arrive at the school by Monday (tomorrow).
Instead, we jumped off the van in old town Huadu and spent three sticky and exhausting hours trying to find anything that might work in the dust filled piles of warehouse type shops.
Needless to say there was very little for humanities. I did find one, very dusty globe in a stationary store. So I have resorted to ordering online and crossing my fingers that my atlases etc. arrive before Monday, September 22 – the day we really start school.
Tomorrow we start rehearsing, at the school, the opening day celebrations. At least we get to be on campus.
Besides school preparations, I have been riding my bike around town. Cruised around Huadu lake. It is quite huge and full of statues and leisure stations (snack bars).
I have now ventured via the train, into Guangzhou. It took us an hour to get there. But the trains are really clean and efficient and thankfully air conditioned.
There is construction going on everywhere. Huge buildings with at least 50 stories.
The days are flying by. I am really excited to meet my students. And I am excited about my crazy classes. I had to align the Chinese national curriculum with the national curriculum of the UK. There was a basic outline for what the Chinese felt I should cover. Other than that, it was up to me to cover all the required standards and create classes that made some sort of sense.
So here is what I created – don’t laugh or groan. I know they don’t seem to flow, but it was hard to get everything required into these classes.
EOTC stands for Education Outside the Classroom. We’ll be heading to a village community and doing a community project. In Y6 Ancient Civilization was given only 3 weeks in the Chinese curriculum. I gave it 14 weeks. Its going to be challenging to cover everything, but the projects they’ll be working on will hopefully lend to broader understanding.
It continues to be super hot and sticky here. I almost stepped on this guy as I was walking through the forest part of our apartment complex. He was about 5 inches long and moving fast!
I ventured back into RT Mart. This time, 9am on a Saturday morning. This is definitely the preferred time to shop, for me that is. Easy and relaxed. I had a chuckle when I came across an aisle dedicated to instant noodles.
But then I headed over to my wonderful covered, outdoor market. Such happy, smiling people. They love teaching me how to say the numbers (ie. cost of items). Although hot and sticky, so much more enjoyable.
So another week has flown by. I am so excited for what is about to begin. I promise to take loads of photos. We have been warned against posting any photos of our students, so I will try to capture the essence of the events without exposing the kids.
Also, sorry about the lack of quality of the photos, in this post all have been taken with my iPhone 4s. The ones of Huadu Lake were as I was pedaling along.
Have a great week!