After all: most things in your dating life can be worked on and improved upon, but the cold hard truth is that some aspects are set in stone. and there are few other aspects that cause men as much dating agita as being short.
I am not in a position to find another job at present.
To make the situation worse, the expat community here is very small and tightly knit so teachers also socialize a lot.
Do you have any suggestions for me how to handle it and what should I do?
Your best chances of an okay outcome are probably to contact Sylvia ahead of time to let her know you work there so that she’s not blindsided by it on her first day.
Acknowledge that you made a terrible mistake when you disappeared, say that you’re very sorry for the hurt and alarm you must have caused her, and say that you realize that neither of you are in a great position to work together now. (Beyond that, I’d avoid sounding like you’re presuming anything about how she’ll feel now, since who knows — best case scenario, if she actually can work with you now, she might be offended that you’d think she couldn’t.) Be aware that apologies are going to sound pretty hollow and self-interested now, since you had 10 years to apologize and are only doing it now that she’s in a position of power over you. But you’re going to have to have the conversation with her eventually, so you might as well get it started and begin moving toward whatever the consequences here are going to be.