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great day today…def top 5 September 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 11:17 pm

Wednesdays are good days in general.  They come after Tuesday, my worst day of the week so are automatically going to be better than the day before, haha.  Also, I don’t teach any classes on Wednesday.  It’s a half day for the kids and then we have professional development after lunch.  However, it’s usually in Chinese so I don’t have to go =)  Except for once a month, when I am the professional development and I teach the teachers English, which was today.  I spent the morning planning my lesson.  The director asked me a couple weeks ago to do a lesson on various foods and sentence patterns for dining.  I also teach the teachers a mini lesson every monday morning for about 15 mins.  So, for the past 2 Mondays we’ve been working on basic food vocabulary (breakfast, lunch, dinner, chicken, pork, beef, soup, salad, sandwich) and sentence patterns:

 “What would you like for (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?”

“I’d like a/some ____________”

“What did you have for breakfast?”

“I had _________________”

“Are you full?”

“Yes, I’m full”  or “No, I’m still hungry”

So after they learned those over the past 2 weeks today I wrote an “At the restaurant” dialogue.  My director, the military boy and I role played the scene, while the teachers read along with copies of the dialogue.  Then they got into groups of 3 to practice.  After 30 minutes each group took a turn performing the scene.  It was sooo much fun!  We laughed a lot and they got really into the them of my restaurant scene…Mexican Food!!!! mmmmmm, my favorite haha.  I taught them all about tacos and quesadillas and burritos and they totally loved it. 

It was really cool to watch them all recite my scene =)


Taipei Weekend September 18, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 4:14 pm

Last weekend Jacquelyn and I took off on the Hualien train for Taipei.  We arrived Friday night, were greeted by our gracious hosts, and taken to Partyworld to sing some Karaoke.  (I’m tellin’ ya, it’s the thing to do here haha)  Luckily the weekend we were visiting happened to be during a huge event in Taipei, the Deaflympics.  There were teams from all over the world here competing and I’ve never even heard of this before!  So Saturday we went to see the Russia vs Germany semifinals match and unfortunately the extremely over dramatic, crybaby russians won =)  Then we went to go watch some table tennis at the arena but I have no idea who was playing whom or how far in the competition it was there.  For dinner we met Mama Leah at FRIDAYS!!  I cannot tell you how excited I was to have some fattening, greasy, American food  mmmmmm.  I got a bacon cheeseburger =)  They have cheeseburgers here, but I”m always a little frightened of the meat so never get one.  The menu said it had cheddar and mozzarella cheese on it, but turns out by mozzarella they meant the cheesesticks from their appetizer menu thrown on top of the burger.  It turned out to be one of the top 3 most delicious burgers I’ve ever had.  The top one is the creation of my boyfriend’s brother, so I would say you should let him know that, but, I don’t think the bf has time to read this anymore with his ridiculously time consuming job =(


After burgers we went to a couple of bars and saw tons of foreigners.  It was exciting to see other whitey’s and even some black people!  Taiwan actually had some diverse colors going on for a couple of weeks haha.  On Sunday we really only had time to do some shopping in the basement “malls” of the Taipei Main Station before getting on our train back to Hualien.

Taipei was a blast.   I really loved being in the city and riding the train everywhere.  I’d love to go back to try and get in many more sights but the next several weekends are booked.  One of which is FET weekend in Hualien!!  woohoo, Double tens day=party time!  (translation for American’s= Several other foreign English teachers and some of our orientation leaders will be coming to visit on Oct 10th, which is similar to our Independence Day, but not as huge.)

This weekend we have a staff trip (mini vaca i guess) to the….power park?  i think that’s what I was told.  I’m not exactly sure what to expect, but Cassandra is going too so that will definitely help.  Doris told me to bring a lantern (i.e. flashlight) so I have a feeling we’ll be roughin’ it a bit.


goodmorningteachertaranicetoseeyouhaveaniceday September 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 10:15 am

haha, my title is what i hear ALL day everyday at Nanhua.  The 5th and 6th graders have learned to say this whenever I pass…everytime, haha.   It’s always all run together and has a singsongy tone to it.  The younger kids just say “goodmorning teacher tara” even after noon.

I’m middle school at home so this is very different, but do elementary school teachers in America have students running up to them in the hall to scream out what they learned in class that day?  (Nesh?)  Haha, my students get sooo excited!  They’ll run towards me saying “Hello! My name is Andy! What’s your name?!” or “The weather is sunny!!”

I love it

My other school, that’s a bit of a different story.  Most of the kids there really are great, and I love my English Club.  So when I complain, I’m not saying it’s horrible, like worse than in the states.  It’s just difficult.  Percentage-wise, there are far less “naughty” kids than my classes at home.  Out of my 300 kids I have 10 or less who would be considered “bad.”  Even within those, I’ve found in my 3rd week that only 3 or 4 are really bad, the rest i’ve figured out how to manage.  I CANNOT complain about 3 or 4 difficult kids out of 300 haha, but it’s just hard with the language barrier.  I have to put in twice as much effort to literally show them what they’re doing wrong, what I expect them to do, and what the consequences will be if they don’t.  I actually think only seeing them once a week is more of a problem than then language barrier.  They have a whole week to forget what we went through or assume that I’ll forget and act up again.  So when I try new things, I just have to wait until the following week to find out if there are results.

Anyway, that’s about all for this update, I just wanted to share some things about the teaching aspect.  Tonight when I get home I might do another one about my visit to Taipei last weekend!


how did people live without the internet? September 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 2:20 pm

I often find myself wondering how on earth people lived without the internet.  Thank goodness for internet discussion boards. A place where people can post the most weird or random problems and find not only others with the same problem but an answer?  It’s amazing!  I’ve been trying to figure out what in the heck is going on with my lips.  They started out feeling dry and I thought it had to do with my dehydration.  (I got really dehydrated last week and am trying to remember to drink lots of water)  So I just kept putting on chapstick and drinking water.  Then I started waking up with swollen lips.  Then I realized I had these teeny tiny little bumps along my lip that I can feel, but other people can’t see.  Now this has happened once or twice before but it was awhile ago and I don’t remember how I got rid of them.  I searched on the internet and found several articles that didn’t apply to my problem and then this one discussion board with person after person saying “oh yes, I have those same little bumps”  just like me.  Finally a person at the end said, “It’s a bacteria from using one chapstick for too long.  Throw away the chapstick immediately and it will get worse, but then dry up and get better.”  So I looked at my chapstick and sure enough, now that i look at it, it is a little discolored in that center part (gross right?) lol and I have had for a long time.  Without the internet I would have been continuing to put that bacteria filled stuff on my lips 72 times a day like I have been, geez!

I know, I know, this entry has absolutely nothing to do with Taiwan, haha


I get it now September 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 12:58 am


The whole telling me I need to exercise, calling me fat, or that my “weight is too much, need to be less” has been very confusing for me because I see plenty of larger Asians here.  I mean, I’m sure their percentage of overweight people is far less than America’s but I see several people larger than me every day.  Today, a teacher from my roommate’s school took us shopping for some school clothes.  Well when I put on the XXL pair of capris and they fit, that’s when I finally understood, LOL.  XXL?!?! sucks man!  I met an Asian teacher who is SLIGHTLY overweight, and she said she gets comments all the time so I guess I just need to learn to dust it off and not focus on the size on the tag.

On a brighter note, I got to go to the beach twice this weekend and absolutely loved it!  I’ll be posting pictures here and maybe a video on youtube sometime when it’s not going on midnight on a school night, but for now just a short update and then bed (I’m too tired to wait any longer for a certain someone to WAKE UP!)  =D

I also now understand why people don’t really swim in the ocean here.  Aside from it being ghost month and they’re afraid ghosts of their dead will pull them into the water, the waves are insane!  They are so high and come crashing onto the shore, plus, it doesn’t have a steady decline like the beaches we go to, just a sudden drop off.  I tried to ease in just slightly, to my ankles, but no such thing.  You can be not in the water at all and then suddenly the waves come crashing in and you’re getting soaked.  AND the freaking ocean stole my flip flops right off my feet!  It took one, I went chasing after it (well the best chasing job I could do without falling over myself in the waves) but couldn’t catch it.  Defeated, I turned around to go back and there goes my only remaining shoe!  It was sooo not cool.  However, once the tide went back out we found my flip flops sticking out of the sand LOL, soo they were recovered =)

I really can’t explain how amazing the ocean and mountains are here, especially when they meet each other.  Hopefully my pictures turned out somewhat decent when I check them out tomorrow.  To be continued…


first days of school update…. September 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 3:44 pm

thanks for all the great comments/advice! After talking with my director at Nanhua we decided locking them out probably wouldn’t go over so well with the principal (I still like the idea =) ) She recommended having them stand in class for the same amount of minutes that they are late. I think this is worth a try. Plus she called the director at that school and spoke to him about the problem so maybe it will have remedied by Monday. We’ll see!!


First Days of school…=O September 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — taiwantara @ 5:13 pm

On Monday I started at Nanhua.  I started with the 6th graders, then down to 3rd, then 4th, then 5th.  I found it difficult to keep them quiet!  They chat chat chat, and I have no idea what they’re saying.  After I went through my rules presentation I stayed on them about talking out.  One kid I had to keep saying “Are you teacher?” “No?… then ssshhhh” hahaha, I really had to improvise with how to get things across to them.  My last class, the 5th grade was definitely the worst.  They were literally yelling as the came in and sat down, hitting and kicking each other, being ridiculous!  The third graders are cayoooottt, though, oh my, haha.

Today, I started at Shoufong.  I had to start making stuff up stat! with these kids.  I did the same thing with them, rules presentation and name learning activity, but there were a few in each class who just couldn’t keep it together.  The first class of 6th graders was decent, definitely manageable, but the second…..aaahhhhh

My second class of sixth graders, the bell rang and I was still missing 5 or 6.  I asked my co-teacher and her response was alarming!  She very casually stated that they are often late and they are “naughty” boys.  They do not pay attention in class and just do what they want.  She told me this as if she was saying the sky is blue.   WHAT?!?  Because of only teaching at one school prior to this experience, I have these Tindley expectations embedded in me and I had to realize, especially with the language barrier, that I would need to, not entirely let go of my expectations, but adapt them.  However, I was not going to stand for disrespectful, careless behavior, whether you understand me or not.  After she told me they are often late I shut both doors and locked them.  We started the presentation and 2-3 minutes later there is some banging on the door and I look over to see one kid trying to climb through the window!  Seriously?!  I told him, back, went out the door to greet them and shut it behind me.  I told them they were late (pointed to my wrist) and could NOT be late to my class or they would not get in (pointed to locked door).  I’m going to have Doris ask the principal for me if next Tuesday I can send the ones who are late (I’m certain they will test me) to the office and not let them in the room.  I don’t know if this will go over well because I’ve noticed a massive lack of discipline here.  There are good kids, and bad kids, and that’s that.  If I have to take care of it myself, then I’m thinking about bringing a treat to pass out right as the bell rings, and when the other kids get there, they won’t have one.

Another situation I had to deal with was a student who just absolutely wouldn’t shut his mouth.  I moved him up front. still yelled out.  I walked over to him and said “did you raise your hand?”  (raised my hand) he said “no” and I said, “well then SSSHHHHH” he literally laughed and turned around to talk some more.  Now I KNOW he understood ssshhh so I went to get a piece of paper, wrote out “I will raise my hand before talking” numbered 1-10 and gave it back to him.  It took him exactly until the bell to finish it, perfect =)  He didn’t talk anymore while he was writing.

I had to try that again the next period, but this time I had to take a desk from the back carry it up front, face it in the corner, and sit him there.  I gave him a sentence with numbers also but he kept turning around to talk even more during it!  OMG it was so frustrating.  I just walked over, turned him around, ssshhh at him again, and added more numbers.  These classes took far more redirecting than yesterday’s.  I was told that my co-teacher, who was the English teacher last year, is not much of a disciplinarian, which I witnessed today.  Her idea of discipline is to actually hit the child, like bop them upside the head, which they find very amusing, it’s ridiculous.  I know she was trying to help me but it made it worse.

This is going to be a struggle.  It’s one thing to get kids in line at the beginning of the year when you’re in an environment where their other teachers are doing the same thing, but here, here I’m trying to get behavior out of them that does not seem to be expected anywhere else.  I’m still going to try though because I refuse to just allow, disruptions and lack of effort in my class.

Any creative advice teachers (or anyone haha)????