Two weeks since the last post and what an action packed 2 weeks. Last weekend we had an invitation to the embassy bar. Sounded like a nice idea, drinks, canapés, posh bar, opportunity to network……….. Lovely. Reality check. I’ve never been to an embassy except the mongolian one in London and to be honest they are not what I imagined. After giving my alien card its first outing and checking with security that my name was on the list I walked into the Steppe Inn. I could have been in The Saracens Head in Deal. Strangely it felt quite comforting and did remind me of home even though it was basically a mobile. We went out the back with our pints, a group of about 10 of us from work, and it wasn’t long before a couple of Scots appeared with a makeshift wooden bar and copious amounts of whiskey. It would have been rude not to have tried a couple! We followed our whiskey tasting with a meal at the Chinese next door at which I laughed more than I have done in ages. A great bunch of people, having a laugh on a Friday night. Unfortunately during the evenings proceedings I agreed that Pete (he was babysitting) and I would, of course, include some words chosen by my colleagues at a primary Information Evening that we were hosting later in the week, flaccid, turgid and moist weren’t the easiest but always ready to rise to a challenge we managed it.
My evening out was followed the next day by a walk and lunch in the woods in the next valley along. The yellow of the trees was beautiful and for a moment I was back in Kingsdown Woods. An Indian takeaway delivered with the help of a clever little app topped off a very chilled day.
On Sunday we went to investigate another department store and managed our biggest weekly shop yet 212,000 tugrig (actually about £65). I still struggle at times to get my head around the money! The weekends here are very relaxing and feel longer. We don’t have to ferry children around and as everything is still new its exciting. It needs to be because Monday to Friday can be tough.
Lots of you probably think when you read my blogs that it always sounds very upbeat, the negatives all seem to be taken control of and don’t seem to cause much of an issue. Well I thought I’d paint a picture of an average school week as, to be honest, that’s the real reason we are here and it is tough. For a start Pete and I are both full time for the first time in 10 years. One of us usually goes into work at 7 for the 1st shift and then we swap at around 7.30. We have to sign in with our fingerprint by 8 which is when we take the children in. Our commute is around a minute door to door! We then have to greet out classes at 8.15. Compared to England we have more free periods when our classes are taken by specialist teachers but these are quickly taken up by meetings and dealing with various issues. Pete and I have both taken on coordinator roles and I love the challenge of it but recently it has pushed me to my limits and caused a lot of stress. Parents here pay for their child’s education and therefore their demands seem to be in another league when I compare them to the parents of my last class in Deal. My class are great but they are also hard work, challenging me to think of new ways to keep their attention everyday. 7 out of 23 of them speak very little English and this makes for some interesting team teaching with my TA. I have done 3 job interviews and more parent meetings in the last 3 weeks than I did in the last year and these can be tough and long. Everything takes double the time when it all needs translating and it’s harder to hold an effective conversation. The school day doesn’t end til 4.30 tues-thurs, by which point my children need taking home to feed (after I’ve given my desk a bit of a tidy). Add to that a lunch and a break duty every day ( the perks of being KS coordinator) and everyday passes like a whirlwind. To make up for long hours once I walk in from work the next few hours are for my children which means my own work is done late in the evening. Despite my fun posts and exciting weekends there have been tears, shouting and anger over the last couple of weeks but not about the move to Mongolia, about the frustrations of the job. More than once I have questioned whether I want my senior role but come 6pm Friday evening it always seems like it’s ok. My team are lovely and supportive and during the day the pace is slower than in England, we have a laugh and my TA is very understanding. She is more than capable of teaching the class something and holding the fort if I am 20 minutes late back from a meeting. So for now on a quiet Sunday evening I am still happy with the decision to become part of SMT ……. just!
View from my classroom Wed 23rd Sept, my fab TA and the usual view from my classroom!