Wow! It's been quite a while, and so much has happened in the world since September 2019 (my last post). I almost don't know where to start.
I am the mother of a high school graduate (Class of 2020). Yeah! But he was unable to attend his chosen university (boo! Pandemic). So he decided to take a gap year (which I think makes him sound very posh). He has used this year to continue to work on his art skills. He's taking French classes in preparation for making his move (name it and claim it) to an art academy there. In the next month or so, he should be hearing back from the schools.
We no longer live and China. We are now residents of Turkey. I am attempting to learn Turkish (we will see how it goes). I know some of you may be thinking that I decided to leave China because of Co-Vid19, but the decision to move to Turkey was made before the outbreak. Moving across the world (twice during a pandemic) was a bit daunting. We made it safely with no significant incident (canceled flights and long layovers aside).
Being a teacher at a new school in a new country is always a challenge. And I sure picked a doozy of a year to make the change. This past year has been tough (to say the least). I have yet to meet my students properly. It has been challenging building relationships with the kids, their parents, and even my fellow teachers.
This school year has been very isolating for everyone. I try to give every child the time to talk, share jokes, and show pets. In Turkey, children (and the elderly) are on a much stricter lockdown (only allowed out during a four-hour window). Not only are kids not getting social interactions from school it is also much more difficult for them to engage with people outside of their households. The word on the street is starting next month; some grades will start back with in-person school (families may decide to opt-out), but this may change.
I'm off to finish dinner.
Be smart, stay safe, and I wish you good health.
Today is Saturday, and I am at school. What?! I know, but it's not really what you think. I mean don't get me wrong I do have a pile of lab reports I need to grade, but the real reason I am at school is that I need to use a reliable VPN service.
I live in China, and my school (actually the entire country) is off for the week (Yeah! National Holiday). Due to the National Holiday, China is currently cracking down on the use of VPN services. A VPN or virtual private network is a service that takes your Internet connection and makes it more secure, helps you stay anonymous and helps you get around blocks and access censored sites.* VPNs allow those of us who live in China to access sites that are behind the Great China Firewall. From time to time, the government will crackdown on the use of VPNs, which tends to make the lives of expats a little more complicated (or at least more frustrating).
But even with the issues like VPNs and visas, I have found a life abroad that I love and that I don't ever want to give up. Living in China these past four years has allowed my son to receive a world-class education, has afforded us the ability to travel around the world, and allowed me to obtain an advanced degree (see also travel). I have had the opportunity to grow as a teacher and a teacher leader. I have the freedom to teach students, not just content but life skills.
I looked into teaching abroad because I was about to give up on the educational world altogether. I was extremely frustrated with discussions of bubble students and practice test for the practice test. I didn't feel like I was educating young people, and instead, I felt like I was preparing test-takers. While no school is perfect, I landed in the school that allowed me to be the sort of teacher I wanted to be.
Over the years, I have had a few stateside teacher friends ask me about teaching abroad. Last year my roommate and I did a video series answering some of your possible questions. Check out the videos. If you are looking for a position for the 2020-21 school year, now is the time to start your search.
A teacher from the United States of America, currently teaching abroad. I teach science to middle and high school students. I enjoy reading and doing nerd things.