Best Kept Secrets at Cheng Gong Elementary School

Thought I’d leave a post for the next ETA stationed at my elementary. I figure if we build on previous ETA knowledge, we could avoid quite a few awkward situations while simultaneously enjoying our experiences here. Just my two cents on the issue. For those of you based in Taiwan as ETAs now, I’m sure you can relate to several of these points. Perhaps they’ll inspire your own survival guide to the newbies next year. One can only hope, eh?


Waiting to explore Nan’Ao

  • If you forget to make your 7-11 or Family Mart coffee run in the morning, there is 30NT (10centUSD) coffee in the teacher’s lounge on the first floor. However, this is legit rocket fuel, so BYO sugar and cream. Or you know, you might like it black and very, very dark roast.
  • Participate in Teacher’s Day activities. We danced to this popular Chopstick Brothers song called 小蘋果 (Little Apple). With costumes. No joke, even the principal did it because Cheng Gong is awesome sauce.
  • Make sure you go on at least one field trip. Sure, you might not know the class very well, but you get to hang out with the kids for a whole day, not to mention take part in the fun activities. Hiking, making food, you name it.
  • There is one seated toilet located in the 3rd floor girls bathroom, first accessible stall on the right. All the others are squatty potties, so make sure you really have your, um, “technique” down if you know what I mean. Squatties are so very tricky sometimes.
  • Your LET tends to travel a lot, so be prepared for alternative classes and teachers to teach with. Keep your eyes peeled for side projects if she’s away on a longer trip.
Students on a recent field trip to Nanao.

Learning about sustainable living.

  • Incorporate art and music into your lessons. For the younger kids pure enjoyment,  you might even want to add some dancing as well. The second graders and I have a blast with the “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” song. My LET wants me to do it with the older grades, but I’m thinking I’ll try the Cup Song with them. Awka-awesome.
  • This one’s another bathroom tip: go first thing in the morning or in-between class periods. During the first and last periods of the day, students tend to clean the stalls. Talk about uncomfortable environments to relieve yourself in. Not fun, especially when the Taiwanese version of cleaning bathrooms involves drenching the entire floor in water. You do not want to slip on that floor. Death by squatty? No thank you.
  • Apparently, Cheng Gong hires a pizza truck once in a while. That’s right. A PIZZA TRUCK. Where you can make pizza…it’s a dream come true. Unfortunately, it comes today when I have Fulbright workshop, but be sure and make pizza at least once. I had it with the sixth graders on their field trip and it is truly the best pizza you’ll ever DIY in Taiwan.
  • Do not fall into the trap of eating school lunch every day. Sure, it’s free and semi-tolerable, but there are several restaurants in the area which do a speedy and delicious job. There’s pasta, Japanese food and a curry place (I think). I think I got sick from school food two days ago, so it’s always good to take a break.
  • There’s a bunch of free food in the office after Ghost Month. People tend to pick their favorite foods for offerings, so they can eat it later. I kind of have some qualms with this (since I’ m Christian), but there are plenty of snacks if you’re hungry and not easily spooked by sacrificial ghost food.
  • Get involved in an activity. Apparently, there’s yoga lessons and calligraphy club here, so I’m definitely getting involved. I think there’s badminton in the gyms at night too, so it’s time to get active!
  • There’s nap time everyday for everyone. So get your zzz’s right after lunch. Noms and yawns galore.
  • If you look at swing dance pictures from events, make sure there are no cabaret shots. So awkward when your clean-up kids come and there’s a picture of a risque lookin’ dancer up on your screen. Further, the firewall’s here are super vigilante, and they will even block music websites (8tracks) if they think there’s inappropriate content. So get your computer act together, people!

I’ll probably post one of these every two weeks or so, depending on what other secrets I can unveil at Cheng Gong.

Hope your Wednesday is full of good food and laughter. ^  ^



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