Wednesday, October 31, 2012

First Week of Classes

First day of classes for second semester started on Monday, October 29.  I had only a week to prepare for my courses in addition to jumping through all the hoops on becoming a new employee at Foundation University.  There was very little instruction on learning the ropes around campus; like setting up my user id accounts, email, payroll, contracts, and finding my way to my new office and classroom studio.  Not to mention my class times changed in the schedule three times in two days.  So it was hard to get anything close to organized well before the first teaching day.  Thankfully, Ray and Amy were familiar with it all and basically gave me the orientation one should receive upon being new.  Oh well, that's just part of the pace of living and operating on "island time".

I was happy to receive my uniform on time.  All full time employees and students at FU must wear a uniform. For women, we are suppose to wear two different shirts: one pink and one blue that alternate depending on the day of the week.  I didn't know this rule, so I ended up wearing my pink shirt two days in a row and was politely notified by my colleague that I was off rhythm.  I chuckled at the thought of myself sticking out like a sore thumb, obliviously walking around campus and being the new, foreign instructor wearing the wrong color shirt!  I'll get it right next week.  As a side note, the uniforms were specially tailored and fitted to me.  They took my measurements and sewed it within two days.  A perfect fit!

MWF = Pink Shirt and T TH = Blue Shirt

The campus is quite beautiful.  The president of the school, Dr. Mira Sinco, is an active gardener.  In her 80's, she has a reputation for being the only president that can be caught deadheading the flowers or pulling weeds as she walks around campus.  In the center of the campus is a tasteful Japanese inspired water feature and pond with fish.  Not sure if the species is koi, but it has the same affect.

Looking out from the fourth story and architecture studio classroom.

The architecture studio classroom and students.
On Monday, I taught my first studio to six students.  After going over the syllabus and expectations for the semester, I issued their first assignment.  I am impressed by their respectful nature towards their instructors.  They are positive and genuinely motivated to learn.  As a general formality, students address their instructors by saying "ma'am" or "sir" before their name.  And it is common for students to announce "good afternoon ma'am" or "evening ma'am" in passing around campus.  Overall, the characteristic of the Filipino language is gentle and polite.  It's refreshing to hear softer and more melodic tones of the Visayan accent.  I am not expected to teach or speak Visayan, rather the students are suppose to learn and speak in English.  Even though most of the students have a good grasp of the English language, there is a heavy accent that I strain to fully comprehend all that is being said.  This takes patience and awareness to pay close attention to the dialog.  My first impressions after these first few days, leave me excited to see their potential this semester.
My architecture office window is located on the top left corner of this building.

1 comment:

  1. I love the uniform Anna! And love to think about the missed-day mishap. How would you know? Then looking around, you see, something is not like the other...! ;-)