I've been asked many times whether we have sakura (cherry blossoms) in Australia. When I say we do, and that they bloom in Sept/Oct people ask me if our school year starts at the same time. Apparently, the 'new life' the sakura represents is the same 'new life' of a school year! I suppose it explains why the school year doesn't start ater a long summer break.
However, the new school year has entailed a lot of changes. As I have already written about, my excellent and fabulous supervisor moved up, as did my 'chief' English teacher. But also, about half the teachers in most of my schools moved. When I arrived at the biggest school for the first time I wondered where everyone was! Seriously, I didn't recognise anyone's face! The other shock was how the schools have been rearranged. To begin with the teachers change desks, and then the rooms change. Last year the 9th graders were up on the 3rd floor, and now they are down, the closest to the staffroom (because they are the naughtiest grade!) Now, I have to attempt to learn new teachers' names (even though it will never happen, there are just far too many across all the schools I go to) and sort out my new supervisors! Also, I have to try and figure out the new school layouts, I got lost twice today already.
I hadn't realised how comfortable I was in the staffrooms, even though I didn't know anyone's names. It was quite easy to slip into the staffroom, unnoticed, and just hang out until it was time to leave. Though I complain about having nothing to do, it is quite a relaxing life here, and I was beginning to enjoy it. I only commented the other day how I was glad to finally have a 'schedule' of sorts. Now it feels that I have sort of to start again - getting the non-English speakers to feel comfortable when I am in the room is the first, and toughest challenge. It's amazing how people will run away, leave the room or look the other way when I am near them. At least my new desk neighbour is a little friendlier than the last one! Seriously, it took 7 months for that guy to LOOK at me!
Of course there are plenty of new students. However, the advantage of teaching at practically every school in Hagi means that there aren't really new faces - rather old faces in different places. The downside is that the new teachers want me to introduce myself to the new classes, but the 'new' students have already tried vegemite so I have to avoid repeat self introductions.