A work in progress.
The CTBC International Academy is alive and well. The new high school students are finding their feet in their new environment. Reports say they are generally happy and comfortable in their new surroundings.
Here are some interviews with the students themselves: straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak.
Daniel: “How do you like life at CTBC so far?”
Melia: “I think the environment is very professional. The land is very wide. It’s a great place. I like it.
The bad thing is I can’t see a lot of people. It’s sort of isolated. There aren’t enough students yet. I think that’s the only problem.”
Suzanna: “I think it’s a great school. I love it.”
Daniel: “How long do you think you’ll be with us, Howie?”
Howie: “A very long time. I’m a very good student.”
The Academy is an experimental school. This means problems arise and when they do, we endeavor to solve them as quickly as possible, bank the solutions, and move on. We are creating an all-English atmosphere. The Academy is truly international. We have teachers from Canada, the USA, Japan, Britain, and France.
In preparation for Halloween festivities, the English teachers have been searching for suitable locations in which to scare our wonderful and unsuspecting students. We have found some pretty eerie places. This is because the school is huge and largely empty for now. Our goal is to make it buzzing with students. For now, though, the high school is a small scale operation: tight knit and personal.
On September 26th, the school provided health checks for all the students and employees. A couple of high school students nearly fainted and another’s veins took an age to be located by the weary nurse. That particular student, he knows who he is, looked increasingly anxious. When it was over, his blood in the tube, he let out a little yelp of achievement and wiped a few beads of sweat from his forehead.
From a personal point of view, taking this job has improved my health. I cycle most days from my home 14.3 kilometres away. It’s a daily trip through Taiwan’s newest and smallest national park, Tai Jiang, an area in the Jia Nan alluvial plain, the largest plain in Taiwan. It is a good, clean environment and practically empty roads greet me in the mornings and afternoons.
Four kilometres after leaving the park, the CTBC International Academy comes into sight. It is an imposing building and instantly recognizable.
The campus itself is huge. Most of it is still unused. A proposal I shall make is that the students learn how to cultivate and tend a few plots of the land. I would love to see students grow their own vegetables and nurture the plants from the field onto their lunch plates. Even better would be if they raised chickens, collected the eggs, and learnt to make scrambled eggs for breakfast.
However, when I told my classes of my intention, I was met with howls of derision and complaints that it would be too hot and they would get dirty fingers. Personally, I think kids getting dirty fingers is par for the course.
That leads me to my next point: golf.
Mark Twain said, “Golf is a good walk spoilt.”
I rather agree with him, but several of my colleagues heartily disagree. They love golf and can’t wait to take out their drivers, mashies, niblicks, putters, and wedges. Rumour has it that the school will build a four-hole golf course in the coming years. That would be a great attraction! We have quite a few ardent golf lovers here among the students.
There are well-maintained basketball courts, a well-equipped gym, three tennis courts, a baseball pitch, and canoe lanes. It hasn’t rained for weeks, even months, so I have yet to see any canoes, but I have been assured they’ll be floating down the lanes in the not too distant future. I look forward to seeing the expressions of the students’ faces when they nearly capsize.
Below the girls’ dormitory, there is a pizza parlour. There is a stone oven producing very competitively priced 12 inch pizzas. I have yet to try one. Mr. Kaari, a lecturer from Canada, will write more about that next week.
One of the differences between the Taiwanese and the Western staff. One half of the office likes natural light. The other half likes closed blinds and glaring lights. Guess who is who?
So, that concludes this week’s edition of the High School newsletter. Stay safe and enjoy the Mid-Autumn Festival. Don’t eat too much!