I found out last week that my contract will not be renewed here at school. It was a surprise, but not a shock. I’m old enough to know that even though someone says something about their intentions for the future, sometimes the future has plans of its own. The idea of remaining here until the end of time, while slightly attractive, was also mildly discouraging: was there nothing else for us to do except teach these kids in this school on this island? (Cue Peggy Lee: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe9kKf7SHco ) So when the headmaster’s assistant brought up the news as we were chatting in her office at the weekly one-on-one English conversation practice, it wasn’t like the sky fell. Opportunities abound. I think.
She mentioned this week at our little conversation session that my teaching schedule will be curtailed severely beginning Monday. To make a long story short ((Don’t tell it!!)) the time periods I had been using for Oral English were on the school’s master schedule as PE periods, but instead of exercising their bodies, we were training their minds for forty minutes. Except now we have a class of weaklings (I guess) according to her. Not too sure how much of this is truth and how much is convenience, but nevertheless, my classes have been essentially canceled for the rest of the term. That’s a little more than a month, so it’s not like there will be this massive backslide in oral abilities or anything, but still…when I was standing in the classroom, knowing that it was the last time I’d see these classes of 40 noisy 16-year-olds I was quite moved. The place has become comfortable, and the kids have almost become a family to us. It has been quite a ride, now brought into focus as the end comes into view.
The assistant headmaster has helped us a great deal by making this schedule change, and I suspect she knows it. We had been worry-planning about how we were going to continue in country–what to do next to keep body and soul together looms large on the horizon–and now we have been given more than a month to travel and secure employment or begin a new business venture before we are
destitute unemployed. Sure enough, God never closes a door, but that He opens a window.
So we’re off to the Next Big Thing whatever it is. Goodbye Bu Zhen, it was nice to know ya’.