Top 5 Challenges I am Facing at My New School

planning on my first day despite of confusion and lost

My first teaching in China was at Disney English, the best English training center I’ve ever worked with. Moving on, I teach at a regular school now. It’s a childcare kindergarten school in Huludao, Liaoning Province where kids stay in the school from 8:00A.M. to 4:30P.M. The kids eat lunch and sleep at school then parents come to pick their kids. So the reason why I did not renew my contract at Disney English was that, I decided to teach at a regular school where I could maximize my talents and deepen my influence to the kids.

rehearsing for nursery rhyme acoustic

However, since I came to Huludao, things have radically changed. Nobody could even orient me on the things that I needed to know at work on my first week. I’ve been facing new challenges at work and I wanted to express them on the list below.

1.   Language barrier – the expectation wasn’t that met. I thought all teachers could speak English at least basic communication but to my dismay it’s the opposite. In teaching ESL to kids, it’s vital to model activities first but my teacher assistants couldn’t help me and just watch me talk even if they knew I needed their help. It’s a big dilemma since the kids couldn’t understand me and the assistant teachers are reluctant in assisting me the activities in class. 

   Furthermore, attending meetings seem futile to me since the language used is Mandarin and nobody cares to translate or even help me to just get the juice of the matter. Sigh, I feel so isolated when I can hear them talk. And because language seems to be a bar between me and my coworkers, I have to use an application on my phone to translate English to Mandarin every time I have something to say and vice versa.

2.  Abandonment of talents and skills – I’ve ever wanted to help the teachers especially in their English communication skills but to no avail. I told my boss but she seemed so passive about it -- I’ve never had a chance to help them. I want to empower the teachers but it seems they neglect me to train them. This situation shows that they don’t trust me that much. I feel like invisible at all.

Gosh, I’ve been in this game for almost ten years and I am pretty sure my intention of helping them isn’t for me to gain fame and get recognition, but for them to learn something from my humble experiences. Teachers, if you feel your talents as a teacher are not appreciated and underutilized, find a place to plant them. Those who don’t sow won’t grow the seeds.

3.  Medical assistance – I got sick three times already and I’ve been teaching for almost three months but never did I receive my medical insurance yet. I am sick while writing this article, actually and just healing myself at my apartment taking some medicine – I know I should go to the hospital but I don’t know where to go. Though yesterday they told me that my medical card has already arrived and I could get it. Should I thank my sickness and they made an action of getting me a medical insurance card? I should have it on my first day of work in the first place because it’s stipulated on the contract.

4.   Lack of support and appreciation – I’ve been doing my best to show exceptional teaching skills and work ethics but never did I have a simple appreciation (well except for the after school program where they complemented me for a great job). The thing is, every employee deserves encouragement from the people around him or her to keep up the good work and keep the fire on. But it’s the opposite. They don’t know how to encourage and inspire teachers. I’ve been showing as an example to them but sometimes, I feel so hopeless because I am fighting alone.

I am not the principal nor the head teacher and it’s not my responsibility to reach out everyone. I get tired, too. The persons who helped me get an internet connection were the people who I met outside from work. The big question is, why did I easily get a huge assistance and support from them when I hardly get a support from my coworkers?

5.   Homesickness – my coworkers don’t like to go out with me. I’ve been nice to them but the culture seems to be a little different and maybe because of the language barrier. During my break time, I only talk to the kids instead for they have innocent and pure hearts that somehow lessen my loneliness. Honestly, I feel invisible at work.

The bottom line of this article is to just express my feelings because I have nobody to turn to. I couldn’t afford to tell unfortunate things to my family because I don’t want them to worry about me. I wish that my coworkers could see my sacrifice and appreciate my work. It’s hard to feel alone on the battle field. Oh, please don’t get me wrong. They are good people. It’s just that, they don’t see things the way I see them because of the smile I bring every time I step in to the school. They never heard me complaining. But maybe someday, they will realize my presence when I’m gone. 

Would they ever miss me when I'm gone?

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