I arrived in Kalasin at about 3:00am on a Monday morning. Although the overnight bus ride was more comfortable than I had been expecting, I didn't get much sleep that night. Luckily for me, my school coordinator let me rest that day instead of showing up to school right away. After she left work later that evening, we grabbed dinner with another foreign teacher at my school and stopped at the Big C across the street from my studio apartment to grab a few essentials to help me get started. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I would buy more items as I got more settled into my apartment and figured out what else I would need.
For the first week, my school coordinator would drive me to and from school, but I live just across the main road, so it's a quick walk nowadays. Having taught for two years back in the U.S., I knew that the first couple weeks of school would be overwhelming and hectic, and boy was I right. I felt like a celebrity as soon as I stepped out of my school coordinator's car on that first day, because I could feel everyone's eyes on me. I shouldn't have been so surprised though, because I had already been told that everyone was excited to meet me. After being introduced as the new math teacher during the morning assembly, I was given my weekly schedule and books to teach from before being left to figure the rest of it out on my own. Throughout the week, I followed my schedule and got to know the ways of the school. My first week was spent getting to know my students, trying to correctly pronounce their names, and figuring out their English levels. We made name tents and created "about me" posters before diving into some math. My students were eager and excited, and I felt so welcomed.
My first days of school were confusing, exciting, and exhausting at all once. I felt like I was thrown into things. In general, my first week in Kalasin was jam-packed, and I felt like I was always on the go. When I wasn't at school teaching or lesson planning or grading, I was shopping, getting settled into my apartment, eating yummy food, and exploring Kalasin. Although I am still trying to learn all 250 of my students' names, my days have definitely gotten much better and calmer since that first week, and I'm finally starting to settle into my role as the new math teacher. I'm feeling positive and hopeful about what this next year will bring.