As promised, here's the story of my new schedule.
During the semester break, I got an e-mail from the secretary's office informing me of my new class load. Once I figured out how to read it, I noticed a couple of changes - a new writing group, and the loss of one of my speaking groups. I inquired about the changes and was given the run-around, but I figured I'd just let it be.
Jump to the mock writing exams at the end of the break, where I bumped into a few of my students from my lost speaking group. They were upset about the change, and wanted to know if I had requested it. I was rather flattered that they felt so strongly about it, and promised to look into it.
It turns out, one of the Brits resigned from the university, causing a reshuffling of the schedule to find people to take his classes. That explains the new writing group. Unfortunately, since that particular group has 4 hours of classes per week, keeping my speaking group gives me 2 hours more than a full-time schedule, which means I get paid more.
Having established all the facts, I decided to protest. And was rewarded with an overfull schedule and a happy speaking group.
So I won...sort of. I'm missing the free time I had last semester, but I'm really glad to know my students enjoy my classes. It's the kind of verification you rarely get in teaching, finding out that your students actually want to be in your class. So I guess I'm doing something right, at least with one group.