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Published: July 15th 2008
Dianne retired from her job as an elementary school principal in June 2007. She wasn’t really ready to retire, just not willing to keep up the pressure of being a full time principal as well as teaching two days a week. During her “year off” she managed to keep busy as International Student Coordinator one day a week as well as completing a seven week project as Literacy Coordinator. Late last fall, the Superintendent of the system returned from China where he had been working as part of a team evaluating a school system that follows the BC curriculum. He spoke very highly of the system and mused that teachers should take a leave and go to China for a year or two. Dianne said “I could do that!” I replied that I was sure she would enjoy it. “Nice try, buster. You’re coming too” was her immediate reply. So the process began…
The first problem was that although I had a B.A. degree it didn’t meet the new qualifications for a subject specific teacher certificate. I couldn’t be an academic teacher but I could teach English as a Second Language and took a course this past spring. I have had experience in a classroom environment; part of my data processing career involved designing and delivering courses using the software products created by the company I worked with.
We were interviewed and hired with the expectation that we would go to Shenyang, China. Dianne was going to teach Grade 10 English. They like elementary school teachers who can teach English at this level because they are used to dealing with readers at different levels.
It was determined the school wasn’t going to need us so we were assigned to the Jinshitan High School in Dalian. Because of her extensive administrative experience they asked Dianne if she would consider being the ESL Director. As this is a good match for her experience and interests, she agreed even though it meant I would be one of her ESL teachers. For some reason, all our friends think this situation is very amusing.
We plan to live on campus, at least at first. A 2 bedroom apartment plus a study costs $300. per month but I get my half paid for as part of my compensation, so our accommodations are pretty reasonable.
Dianne's first order of business is to develop a job description for her new post. I will likely be dealing with the students who need to raise their level of English to the point where they can start taking Grade 10 classes in English. Not real beginners, they will be tested by my attempts to tell them jokes in English.
We go to Vancouver on August 2nd for an orientation session and leave for China on August 19th. We have sold our condo but kept our cottage on Pender Island. Packing is underway as I write this. Lots of fun trying to decide what to take and what to store.
Sorry there are no pictures yet. I will add some as we get closer to the departure date. This also gives me a bit more experience onTravelBlog.
We leave five weeks today.
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