People have been asking me how school has been going, so I’ll give a quick snapshot. For the most part, things are settling down and the job feels very familiar. I’m having lots of one-on-one meetings with seniors, both to get to know them and to talk about colleges. I read and edit colleges essays, I answer parent emails, I worry that I’m behind on writing my recommendation letters (that would be an understatement, since I haven’t started yet). These are rhythms and conversations that I know.
Then there are new territories, which I have been exploring (or unceremoniously dumped into) on an almost daily basis. For example, this morning I gave a presentation to thirty-five parents of juniors who have just started at SAS this fall, coming here from all over the world. I have never worked with this many kids in transition, especially this late in high school. And these kids are looking at colleges in places about which I have little to no knowledge, like South Africa and Korea and Australia. Fortunately, I have a great team of colleagues who have lived all over the place. Then there’s the fact that we’re still working in a “comprehensive” counseling model, which means that I’m a social-emotional counselor as well as a college counselor (that will change next year). So in the past week I have dealt with issues regarding bullying, terrible homesickness, and self-harm. Again, I’m thankful to have colleagues to turn with questions about these matters, because while I’m not exactly new to kids bringing me their concerns, I haven’t always dealt with them at this level.
Then there are the surprises. The faculty have lots and lots of small group meetings, far more than I expected. There are a lot of three-letter acronyms (PLCs, SBG, PGE). And as a whole, the culture of the school is not as welcoming as I had been told international schools usually are (apparently, SAS is widely known on the international circuit for being a little unfriendly).
The nicest surprise is that five kids started a Mock Trial club this year! And I cheerfully signed on to help out. It will be entirely different from Mock Trial at Park — there are no competitions in Singapore, we’re not technically a “team” at this point, and we only meet for one hour a week (that last point alone is nearly impossible for me to wrap my head around). But we had thirty-five interested kids at our first substantive meeting yesterday, who appeared to enjoy the first round of activities. And I had a blast!