School Year Jitters

This week offered a pretty steep learning curve.  I attempted to learn new software, new curriculum, new faces, and more.  Starting a new job is tricky.  There are all sorts of helpful colleagues you haven’t met, and resources you cannot locate, and routines you don’t understand.  I am just hoping that I like this job as much as I like everything else about living here and that I am able to successfully navigate my new duties.  I was so comfortable by my 8th year at Bowie that my only nerves were about meeting new students and not whether or not I was capable of doing my job.  At this point, I am excited for the students to come to learn what my new normal looks like, but I am not certain that I will feel prepared for that moment.  The good news is that it is happening whether I am ready or not.  Tomorrow is orientation for students, and Tuesday is the first day of school.  Wish me luck pronouncing names that I don’t recognize and forming great relationships with the new crop of learners that I get to teach this year.  

In between the department meetings, technology trainings, and EAL workshops, I did manage to have some fun this week and weekend.  I am starting to feel more settled into my new home.  I survived my first short blackout by taking a short, cold shower lit by a flashlight.  I ate lots of good food and did some grocery shopping, finally. I went to an all school barbecue Friday after work.  I made a friend from central Pennsylvania.  I spent the morning reading by the pool.  I know that this post is less newsy than a 4 day break from blogging should warrant, but I can barely remember all the fun.  


I tried to use the bathroom in the middle school and was shocked by the size of the toilet. Why was it so small? All the other toilets seemed to be normally sized.


On Saturday morning, we went to Phap Vo to tour an orphanage. My school has done some service projects with Phap Vo over the past couple of years, and it was neat to meet the kids and the nun in charge.


The kitchen at Phap Vo.


One of the dorms at Phap Vo.


Just one aisle of the stunning gardens at Phap Vo.


Me with Gayle Confer in front of a really cool ship sculpture made out of recycled bottles. Aunt Lois introduced us over email, and I got to meet Gayle and 2 of her students for coffee Saturday afternoon. We hope to get together to play board games after Gayle’s trip to the States.


Alison in the amazing camouflage massage chairs at the foot massage place that Lisa and Marcia took us to after a delicious dinner at Ciao Bella last night. I seriously couldn’t stop laughing at the chairs, especially when I thought about Rachel Chumney’s all camo hiking outfit and how awesome it would be if she wore that in one of these chairs. New mental happy place.


The sweet bike that Melissa lent me until I decide if I am brave enough to bike to work and want my own bike. Melissa is pretty much the best neighbor in the world. She gives me things like the internet, transportation, food, company, and inspiration. If my apartment ever has half as many plants and great textiles as hers, I will feel like I won the lottery.



  1. How is the day going with students in the building? Glad you got to chat with someone familiar with the FAIR!!! That is one of our priorities this week (packing) along with garden things, and school preparation and tons more!!!


  2. By the time you read this, your first day of school in Vietnam will be complete, and maybe your second day as I still forgot what day it is on summer vacation. Every first day of school for the first 30 or so years, I would get the feeling of “can I do this and why am I trying” in my stomach. I’m sure you’re having that feeling on steroids but I know you’ll do great. It may take a few weeks to settle into the routine, learn their names etc, but I’m sure you’ll do great! At the end of the first marking period, reread this blog and wonder why you ever worried about any of this 🙂 Go get ’em Champion Teacher!! (and I’m glad they have camo in Vietnam to remind you of the upcoming deer season).


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