I was devastated at the end of last term to hear that I needed to be transferred to a new school again - my third school in less than a year. It's been so unsettling for me and the boys and as much as I'm go grateful to have work doing something that I love, I just wish that I could settle down somewhere for a longer period of time. I love my job teaching English as an Additional Language but I have wondered if it is worth all the stress of moving all the time. I have joked that maybe it would just be easier to get a job in retail ;)
I find it easy to build relationships with the kids quickly and I think that sometimes this is not good for me as it's so hard when I have to say goodbye to them. I actually think this is the same for most teachers, but I find it even more so doing what I'm doing because you're so involved with the student's families and lives as you help them settle into life in Australia.
During the last school holidays I was glad for a break, but I was also feeling anxious about starting at my new school so it was hard to really relax. The first day back at school was a 'student free day' so it was just a day of meetings and planning for the term. It was nice to see some familiar faces at my new school, but there were also lots of teachers that I didn't know, but it was lovely to have people come and say hi and tell me they knew me through mutual friends. Everyone was really lovely and welcoming but by the end of the day I just felt very overwhelmed and anxious about starting with the students the next day. I felt okay all day, but by the time I was half way home I had a big cry and felt like a wreck by the time I got in the door.
I kept thinking about my old school and friends that I worked with there and missed them heaps. I also kept thinking about my students at my old school and how they would be back at school the following day, and I just wished I was there with them. I cried all night and went to bed with a big headache but woke up the next day feeling ready to just make the most of the change.
As soon as I met the kids at my new school I felt much better. They were all gorgeous and so happy and friendly. I kept thinking how hard it must be for them to have so many different teachers lately but they seemed happy to have me.
I have now been at my new school for three weeks (I can't believe how fast the term is already going!) and am loving it. It's SO different to my old school. They have around the same number of students on the EAL (English as an Additional Language) program but there are SO many kids from different cultures there, and most of them have previously been on the EAL program. At my old school most of the kids on the program were Afghan but at my new school it is a mix of migrants as well as children from a refugee background. They come from so many different countries (I think 17 countries in total) and some of my students are from Nepal, Thailand, China, Burma (Myanmar), Sudan, and Saudi Arabia.
I miss my Afghan students and families terribly, but am loving learning about other cultures. Two of the Nepali girls have been telling me about the period of mourning in Nepal and how when someone dies you have to wear white, not eat certain food and not be touched for a certain period of time.
My new school is a great school and they are just so used to having children who are learning English and cater for them really well. This is my favourite part of the school - they display a flag from all the countries represented by the students at their school. Whenever a new student arrives - if they haven't got the flag of their country they get a new one to put up. I love that they celebrate being multicultural.