When I got here, the whole school situation seemed rather chaotic and lacking structure. However, after a few weeks, I’m beginning to get into the swing of things and catch on to how things work around the kindergarten. To start off with, there are 4 teachers in each classroom (ideally). There’s a ‘life teacher’, who does the food and cleaning tasks. there’s a head teacher and a TA. The TA pretty much always speaks more English than the head teacher in every classroom, and the TA and the head teacher alternate weeks teaching the Chinese class.
And then there’s (theoretically) a foreign teacher in each classroom. Everyone asked me “how is it that they’re taking you in the middle of the school year?” Because foreign teachers end contracts, ditch off, get fired during all times of the year. Currently there are two classrooms that need English teachers in the school.
Now, the daily schedule goes as follows:
8:30 – The kids come in, get dropped off by their parents and they eat breakfast (which consists of some combination of cake-ish bread with some seeds on it, a roll, some quail eggs, or really soppy looking oatmeal).
9:00 – Classes. There are two 30 minute classes, with a short fruit eating break in between them. Typically, English class comes first at 9am, but sometimes if there is a kid that’s always coming in late, they ask us to switch to the second period (9:45/9:50 to 10:15/10:20).
10:30 – Dancing! The kids go outside (unless it’s raining or really really cold) and dance these interesting hand waving and jumping concoctions of movements. Then they run a few laps, and the teachers might do some other activity or let them play on the playground for a bit before bringing them in for lunch.
11/11:30 – Lunch. This time seems kind of class dependent. Usually my class eats lunch at 11, but that is certainly very flexible — others eat at 11:15 or 11:30. It’s all about how long you let them play outside for. After lunch, every class usually goes on a little walk around the preschool. We sing songs, and do walking games. A little last bit of exercise before naptime. (!!!!!)
12:30 – NAPTIME NAPTIME NAPTIME NAPTIME NAPTIME NAPTIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Favorite time of the day 😉 Teachers eat lunch and then we either take a nap, hang out quietly doing stuff, or we can leave the preschool and go out for coffee or something.
2:30 – Wake up the little rascals and make them put on their clothes and drink some milk (full cream) or some watery soup.
3:00 – In the afternoons, they have activities. And it varies from day to day what they’re doing. Mine go out and run for a bit before going to their first activity (recreation, art, music, library). Then a couple days a week, they spend time in the classroom doing some activity that the head teacher has planned.
4:00/4:30 – Dinner. Again, not exactly set in stone, but closer to 4 for my class. After dinner, my head teacher organizes them and she reads them a book or has them do some sort of activity until their parents come and get them.
5:30 – Kids go home, dinner time for the staff (or we can go home if we want).
Hurrah! And that’s my day. Every single day. Monday through Friday.
Yahoooooo. Sometimes we have half days on Saturday for special Parent Student game days. The Chinese don’t take very many days off and they have school all year round. They get two weeks off in the spring, National day (in the fall), Christmas day, New Years Day, and that’s essentially it. f you want to be at the top of your game, you don’t take 3 months off in the summer to lounge around and let your mind forget everything you’ve learned!