Today was the first day of touring schools! It was really exciting because it is what we are here for as Fulbright grantees after all…easy to forget when weve been having so much fun just roaming around. Our morning started promptly at 8:00am. My roommates and I walked to the Luodong train station to be picked up by our Fulbright bus. Not before grabbing some quick melon bread at 7/11.
Two quick side notes: 1. Melon bread was my favorite thing in Japan, so finding it in Taiwan (and getting my roommates hooked on it) was awesome. It really has nothing to do with melon…its more just like a sweet bread, individually packaged and ready for breakfast on the go. Nomz. 2. 7/11 in all of Asia is not a gross little convenient store…its a huge thing. Convenient stores in Asia are where people get actual food. They have everything and even have their own line of foods in the store. You go to convenient stores to pay your bills and reload your cell phone minutes…literally everything. Pretty funny.
Anyway, we went to the Teacher Center, which is where we will spend a lot of time this month learning how to live and teach in Taiwan. We saw presentations from eleven different schools. A representative from each school came and told us about their school and showed us pictures and videos. After we learned about each school, it was time to go visit them. Since Taiwan is a gift giving culture, each school had gifts for us upon arrival. First we got iced coffee, then bubble tea, then cookies, then bubble tea, then cake with bubble tea, more bubble tea, more cookies, green tea and scallion pancake snacks, headphones, bubble tea and last but not least…you guessed it…more bubble tea. For those of you who dont know what bubble tea is….its tea (tasting almost like a chai) but with tapioca pearls in the bottom of the cup. So you get a big thick straw and the beads come up as you drink. I actually am not the biggest fan…but I took each one graciously.
Elementary schools in Taiwan are nothing short of impressive. They are huge! They are campuses. Multiple buildings and courtyards. And they all have outside hallways and stairways. So you're never stuck inside a building…its all connected to the outdoors which is beautiful. We saw elementary and junior high schools. Some schools are paired together (so if I get put at elementary school A, I will also teach at Junior High A) and some are stand alone.
Another thing to keep in mind is the English Village. The English Village is a simulation building. The building is bright yellow and whimsical on the outside and on the inside it has: a supermarket, a post office, a bank, a doctors office, an airplane, a dance studio and more. And each one is in a different room and they look incredibly realistic…props, fake foods, even an actual plane body donated by EVA. So the students can learn English in situations where they would actually use it most. I love this idea because I just spent the last four years learning about how real life connection makes learning easier and more effective…and this is that concept brought to life. Six of the schools I can choose from today go to the English Village every Friday. Also, if I pick any of the schools today I will have to move from Luodong to Yilan City because they are closer…so its a lot to consider when making my decision!!
I really enjoyed all of the schools today. They are beautiful and fun and I would be so lucky to teach at any of them. They are all very similar but each has a little something going for it; one has a vegetable garden, another has monkeys in their backyard and another has hiking and rock climbing trips. I cannot wait for more school visits!!! Below are some pictures from all my visits! Look how cool!
The children showed us their unicycle talent! They learned at school! That’s another thing about Taiwanese schools…they have tons of clubs and non-typical subjects that are taught during the day…things like unicycle, Chinese yoyo, calligraphy and pottery. And we can learn those arts at our different schools too!
Really pretty inside and outside of different school visits!
Yes, mom…this is my number one school just because they have Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare is Chinese!!!
These are a few rooms in the English Village!
More on school visits later!