A place for thoughts, pictures, experiences, and more during my year in Taiwan.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pictures Vol. 1

Lianne, the director of both the kindegarten and elementary school!

My first class of 1st graders!

Kid Castle kindegarten where I spend my mornings.

The courtyard at my apt. building.

The Opening Volley

Well I'm coming up on the end of my first week in the East, so here are my impressions thus far. I'll start with basic living conditions. My setup here is nothing short of incredible to the point of absurdity. The apartment I have been given has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a balcony. Not only am I the only one living there but the rent is half of what I paid for my cheapest Montreal apartment. High speed internet, which will most likely be set up by the end of the week, will run around 5$ a month. Things only get better once you head into town, as the food is both dirt cheap (indivudual items running around 1$-4$) and absolutely delicious. Both general and specialty items are quite cheap as well, I just purchased a 12 megapixel Olympus camera for around 200$.

Now on to the work. So far I have taught 2 kindegarten classes and 2 first grade classes. The kids are great, both in terms of behavior and enthusiasm in the classroom. Over the course of several conversations I have had with the school director, Lianne, I have begun to get a sense of the teaching philosophy here. Contrary to most American schools, the focus here is on comprehension rather than retention, which is an incredible relief for me. Rather than having to prepare the students for tests or some form of standardized evaluation, I can actually work on creating a truly effective learning environment. This is also bolstered by the fact that the school's curriculum only stipulates what I teach, not how. I pretty much have a free hand in creating my own games and classroom activities, and so far the feedback I have gotten on work has been quite good (one staff member made me blush a bit when she told me that it already felt like I had been teaching there for months rather than days).

Well that about does it for week one. Now that I am properly equiped in the camera department, pictures will start coming up asap.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Thing or Two

Hi everyone! I thought I would let you all know that my friend and fellow member of the Badass Young People Who Run off to Asia Club,* Alex Smith, also started up a blog to record her own adventurous doings here in Taiwan. Check it out here.

Detailed reports on my first classes and the opening round of photos coming soon!

* We really need to get T-Shirts...

Monday, August 23, 2010

mmmmm food

Fresh fried calamari for a dollar right across from my apartment? Ahhhhhh yeaaaaaaaa.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here at Last

Well I made it! Have just been getting settled, and start work training today. My intial days been challanging. The language barrier is far more intense than I anticipated, to the point where I need to actually walk into a store to even figure out what they sell. Ordering food has been done primarily via pointing and mime. Hopfully this will serve as ample motivation for learning Mandarin. On the flip side however, the locals have been extremely friendly and highly accepting of my cultural and linguistic ignorance. Despite my feelings of isolation, I am confident the coming weeks will work to ease them.

(more to come once I get consistant internet set up at my apartment)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ughh flying to the other side of the planet is no bueno. A one hour layover in Alaska, then another 12 hours to Taipei. Thank god for sleeping pills.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Location, Location, Location

I'll be living in the Jhudong township (the northwest corner of the island). Here are a few snap shots.


The adventure begins on August 18th 2010!!!!