Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Country-Two Very Different Schools

I've been at work here in Izmir for just over two weeks. And I've now taught two classes of delightful 6th graders who are new to this school. I'm still getting my feet wet and learning the ropes. The teaching portion is not too bad, but I'm really having to polish my technology skills to meet the demands of the job. As a matter of fact, if I compare the two schools here to my last school in the United States and drew a line with the right side being heavy in technology and the left side being light in technology, I would say this school falls on the far right, my American school in the middle, and my previous Turkish school on the far left.

So here are the expectations:
1) All lessons are uploaded to the school website each evening including all Power Points (we are supposed to make lots of these) and class handouts. Students who are absent have no excuses for not completing homework.
2) Most communication between staff and parents occurs on the school website. The campus is very large so it's necessary. If parents telephone, we are encouraged to have them use the website.
3) There is a television studio for production of videos.
4) All printing and copying is completed through a central copy center and all documents must have pre-approval from the department head and a 3 day lead time for copying.

Here are my challenges:
1) My school provided laptop has a Turkish keyboard. I can change the keyboard to English but I must use "touch typing" pretending I know where the English keys are. This works pretty well except for symbols. The @ symbol, parentheses, commas, and question marks are so difficult to remember. Symbols are also difficult to use on the Turkish keyboard because there is an "alt/gr" key to access the keys that actually have 3 symbols on them.
2) The printer is in a building far away so I'm having to adjust to never seeing hard copies of anything. I'm saving trees, but not confident in my proofreading skills.
3) Most of my classes are in the high school building but I have two classes in the middle school building, a long 10 minute walk away. I'm living out of my backpack.
4) Most administration emails are in Turkish. Google Translate is my new best friend and it gives me the gist of most communications. But, a translator can only go so far and some things just sound funny.

The good thing about this experience is that I'm improving my technology skills...

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