Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back to School

School is now back in session for the high school students here and things are running pretty smoothly. Usually I find myself under a little stress at the start of each new school year, scrambling to get myself into my old routines. I've found that this hasn't really been the case here so far. With the exception of a couple large classes, the rest are small and quite manageable. A big advantage for me this year is already knowing the bulk of the students in my classes so I have a good idea of what to expect. Last year at this time year all I knew about my students were their names from my class lists plus whatever information I could glean from other colleagues.

We have a number of students who typically will register and then drop out after a week or two. So far I've noticed most of them getting to class on time and working quite well in class. It would be nice to see a few of them stick it out just so they can realize their own potential for themselves. I think our school here is capable of producing a large graduating class. Many are certainly bright and capable.

The small class sizes give me plenty of time to work one-on-one helping students, who are mostly ESL, rather than simply standing up in front of the room lecturing the full period like down South.

The staff was very happy to see two new photocopiers in the school which are a giant leap above the decrepit machines we suffered with last year. They collate and staple and are super fast, saving a great deal of time and energy. This year I teach one of my high school courses to both grades 9 and 10. Photocopying assignments for 60ish students was not something I looked forward to when I was thinking ahead to the new school year over the summer. These new machines are definitely a God-send. If they could do laundry and dishes I'd bring them home with me.

Today we also had a cruise ship out in the bay which I didn't notice at first until I was half-way down the hill on my way to work. The school seemed awash in tourists in the morning. They were treated to some throat-singing and drum dancing by a local performance troupe and took TONS of pictures. I have to admit I was a little annoyed with all the cameras. The younger students seemed to enjoy soaking up the attention but I found all the picture-taking a bit intrusive at times. I even had someone stick quite a large camera lens in through my classroom door as I was teaching my first period class. I didn't know my class would be such a novelty.

Anyhow, I digress. The weather is turning colder, the students are back, soon soccer and cadets will start. A new school year begins.