In any case, so far, so good. I was originally going to be teaching tenth grade French in addition to ninth, tenth and eleventh grade English (11th graders are seniors in Russia); I'm rather relieved that the school's directors thought the French section might be bit much with the heavy English load and that they assigned it to another teacher.
The classes are interesting; I'm basically teaching sociology/psychology/American culture in English. The obvious goal of the classes is to prepare the students for the rigorous Russian National English Exam and the Cambridge (international English certificate) Exams, but another goal that is just as important to the school is that the students learn about American culture. They hope that the students will learn about the American concept of tolerance, of respecting cultural variety, and that their understanding of their own Russian culture will be richer for having approached it comparatively. Should make for some good blogging.
I kept being warned about possible behavioral problems (lack of respect in class, etc.), but frankly, I've seen much worse... The longer I parent kids with difficult behavior, the stronger I become as a disciplinarian in the classroom. (Heck, all of this difficulty at home has to be good for something other than gray hairs!). I sincerely enjoyed myself this week. I like the kids and I really like and respect my colleagues. It's great to be part of a school with such high professional standards again. The school I taught at last year was very good, too; it was just so small that I was on my own professionally (I was the only French and Spanish teacher). Here I'm part of a strong department and we work together all the time; I really like that. It makes me a better teacher, particularly in this context--teaching in a culture that's not my own in a school where the lingua franca is Russian, and teaching a subject I've never taught before.
I'm taking it one day at a time... It'll probably be another two weeks before I truly have a sense of what my workload will be. The daily schedules have been changed for various assessment tests, assemblies, etc., so I won't teach my "actual set schedule" until the third week of school--when my afterschool commitment of running the drama club in English (one day per week) will also begin.
I hope I'll be able to make it to the gym a few times a week after work and that I won't be too tired at night to get my class preparations done (and a little blogging!) after putting on my "Mom cap" every evening.