I work at a school that is only just finishing its fourth year of being open. As the student population grows, more and more classrooms are used. I currently work on Floor 5, but next year, the English teachers and I will be migrating down to the freshly opened Floor 4!
Maybe you are wondering why Floor 5 was open before Floor 4, and I am sure there is a perfect, logic-based reason for why the levels weren’t developed in sequence. Regardless of whatever logical explanation there may be, everyone who I have talked to about the matter agrees that it is because “four” is an unlucky number. Apparently, in Chinese, the word “four” sounds similar to “death.” So, we all just assume that superstition won, making Floor 4 the last to open, while Floors 5-8 have been open for the past few years.
At first I was sad about the move to another floor: I like my current space on Floor 5, with the view towards the city and the morning sunshine. However, the call to prayer is quite loud at some parts of the day, and my new room faces another highrise, so I won’t hear the call at all during the day. The morning sun also doesn’t heat up the room, so it will be easier to keep the room cool during the afternoon.
Thankfully, I will be on Floor 4 with all of the other English teachers, which I think will not only be very convenient, but incredibly fun. I really enjoy my fellow teachers: they give great teaching advice and are extremely amusing.
In addition to moving classrooms, I am moving classes!
This year, I taught two classes of Grade 8 English, two classes of Grade 8 Food Technology, one class of Grade 9 English, and one class of Grade 10 ESL. All three of my English classes were within the Cambridge curriculum, with Grade 8 in Cambridge Secondary 1, Grade 9 in Cambridge First Language English IGCSE, and Grade 10 in English as a Second Language IGCSE.
Next year, I am teaching three classes of Grade 8 English, one classes of Grade 9 English, one class of Grade 11 English, and one class of Grade 12 English.
I am pretty excited to have some of my current Grade 8 students again as Grade 9s, because I feel as if I not only know their personalities well, but that I know where they each need to develop and grow academically, and I am excited for the chance to keep pushing them.
However, I am especially excited about teaching Grades 11 and 12, because they are not part of the Cambridge program. Instead, they are part of a program called International Baccalaureate (IB). While Cambridge offers A Levels to their Grade 12 students, IB has a two-year Diploma Program, which is kind of like America’s Advanced Placement tests on steroids, and is the only grade 11 and 12 program we offer. I am teaching English B, which isn’t as much of a literature course as it is a language development course. It focuses around units like “Censorship and Media” or “Social Relationships” or “Global Issues,” and draws from a range of texts relating to those ideas. I feel very blessed to be able to expand my classes up to the IB DP program, because I know that I would not normally have the opportunity to teach the upper grades of high school as such a young teacher.
I am getting pumped for the 2014-2015 academic year already!