Just about 7 months ago, I signed up for what I feel may end up being one of the greatest challenges and rewarding experiences of my teaching career. Not only did I officially make the decision to teach abroad, I decided to be a first-year teacher at a brand new school. Now, in order to avoid any confusion, the company running the school is by no means “new”; it already operates nearly 30 schools in Sweden. However, 2 weeks ago Monday, my school opened its doors to students for the very first time. 4 weeks ago, all the staff met together for the very first time.
I can hardly believe that I have only known my co-workers for one month. During the 2 weeks we met prior to the first day of school, all of us worked closely together to make sure everything would be up and running for the first day. We immersed ourselves in the Swedish curriculum, prepared yearly plans, discussed school rules, put together furniture, stressed out (a little bit), laughed, cried, and as cheesy as it sounds, made enough memories to become colleagues and really good friends for a lifetime. It’s been incredible!
One unique aspect of working at my school is that while we have as many students as our space can hold, compared to other schools in the company, we are the smallest school with the smallest amount of students and staff (we will be expanding in the upcoming years though). I am the first English teacher to be hired for my school, and I am the only English teacher. This situation has provided me with a very enriching learning experience. I don’t have an English department head on location that can direct me to English resources that have been previously used. Instead, I have the opportunity to refer to company unit plans and chat with English teachers from other schools in order to create the English program at my school. The English program at my school has the opportunity to be based on the best practices shared with me by other teachers within the company and based on my experiences in my classrooms. Yes, it is going to be (and already is) challenging, but it also is amazingly rewarding.
I can’t finish this post without saying that I have the most supportive colleagues, who offer me wisdom and support on a daily basis. Any lesson I teach would not exist without their help!
Here's a shot of one area of downtown Falun. A creek divides the town in two.
200 m from my apartment where I go for evening runs #Dalarna.