community immersion

[from an e-mail to haley]

it’s weird to be suddenly (ish) in a totally different community. have to learn the politics and rumors and cliques and layers of meaning to different groups- i’m talking faculty of course. the main people i’ve hung out with so far are the other newbies, which are a combination of teaching veterans (3 to 20+ years) from both international and US schools and ‘teaching fellows’, who are like interns- in their first year post college, learnin’ the trade. they’re super young but also fun to hang out with. luckily many of this group are largely irreverent, so i fit right in.

the staff itself is a little bit more conservative than i would have guessed; but generally smarter that at a US public school and more independent. there is a conspicuous lack of direction from department heads & admins on curriculum, which suits me well, but which feels kind of lazy and is really bothering a few of my newbie colleagues. the dean of faculty, who helped hire me, thinks progressively (inquiry model; essential questions; backwards design; etc.) and i really like him, but i’m not sure how many people are actually putting his ideas into practice.

the shirts and ties and blazers thing is so weird. i feel sort of underdressed hanging out with kids wearing blazers and khakis. but i probably feel much more comfortable than they do in this heat…

i had my 1st day of real classes today (yesterday was just a run-through of the schedule) and the kids were super respectful. the default was nervous attention. obviously the fact that it’s the 1st day and several of them are new to the school is a huge factor, but it does seem that classroom management will be totally different than in boston. i was actually a little disappointed they were so polite. i hope they get more feisty!

but it is pretty sweet for kids to say ‘thank you miss, have a good day’ at the end of a class.

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