From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School!

Jamie and I had our first full day with the students today. It was a typical first day by any school's standards. The students are very well behaved but most are on the first day of school anyway. Our only discipline problems might be telling students to speak in English. Today, Jamie and I both had Reading/Language Arts, co-teachers for Math, Cultural Studies, and our "Mock Trial/Specials" class. Monday's are nice for me because I have 3 planning periods. We are on 8 period days. The students receive a 50 minute recess/lunch period after 4th period. Lunch is interesting here as the students can receive a Korean lunch, a Japanese lunch, a Western lunch, and one more I can't remember. The faculty has stated that they are not any good, but they looked fine to me. They are quite pricey at 21 RMB per lunch which equals about 3 U.S. dollars.

Catching on to the RMB has been difficult, and we are constantly determining how much it is in U.S. dollars. Of course, we are still paid in U.S. dollars and have to convert it to RMB at a local money exchange place. The money exchange consists of a small store where they are just known to exchange money. We always count it right in front of them to make sure. We exchanged today for $1.00 to 6.78 RMB. Not too bad and the dollar has bounced back since we've been here.

Back to school. We still are having some supply issues, but we'll manage. They have the supplies (globes, overhead projectors, transparencies, colored pencils, markers, etc.); they just haven't distributed them because of the chaos of switching schools. I'm sure after a few weeks, it'll all settle out. The 12 year old teachers do have their own para pros, which is nice because they work really hard. Some of these people have their Bachelor degrees but are simply working at QSI to sharpen up their English skills prior to taking a job working for an American company.

We are not challenged yet with the language barriers, but some cultural aspects of our students will always be foreign to us. Today, we went around the room and stated our favorite food. When I mentioned some Mexican dishes, the Asians had no idea what I was talking about just as I had no idea what they were talking about with their dishes.

We are learning that the Koreans work extremely hard. Many of these students go all day to QSI, then go 5 or more hours to Korean school when they leave QSI. They then go back home to work on homework, sometimes until 1:00 am. Quite a bit to put on an 12 year old. Because of this, our homework assignments won't be too strenuous.

Jamie is still hesitant about the age group because she has only taught high school students before. Since I started in middle school, I have more experience. I think we'll both settle down and really enjoy teaching this age group after a while. I'll continue to keep you all informed as to the different aspect of our jobs teaching in an international school.

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