I'm in my 4th week of teaching and I finally...finally, feel that I might just be catching my balance! The school week here is from Sunday to Thursday, so Thursday is my new Friday! The first week teaching in the UAE was definitely an eye opener! You know how, as a teacher, you usually enter your school to teach, and you get a schedule of your classes? And, usually, that schedule is pretty much set for the length of the term? Well not here apparently! My schedule, not only changed twice during the first week, but continues to change weekly! I've had 6 different schedules now. It makes for quite the interesting Sunday's!
|Me in my abaya!|
It was recommended to me that the first English word I need to lose (yes lose!) from my extremely extensive vocabulary is "WHY". Why am I receiving a new schedule every week and sometimes twice in the same week? Why does the length of classes change not only daily but sometimes within the same day? Why do I teach the same class twice a day but don't have a block schedule?
And my wonderful, wonderful students! I teach at an all girls high school. The girls are actually quite funny and very willing to please. You just have to get on their good side, which could take some doing!
Instead of telling you what my classroom and girls are like, why don't I paint you a verbal picture, hmmm?
The girls stay in the classroom all day and the teachers come to them. So, I walk into the classroom; there are empty and partially full water bottles on every surface. Desks, floors, cabinets. There are scraps of paper strewn over the floor; the garbage can is over flowing into a mutinous pile of chip wrappers, pencil shavings, and unidentifiable rubbish.
I place 1/2 a step into the room, and I am bombarded by no less than 5 girls shouting at a decibel level only found here in the UAE, "miss, miss, miss... bathroom, bathroom, it's cold, it's hot, 1 minute more, please please miss!" I literally can't even put my bag down! Picture about 50 yapping, adorable, labrador puppies tugging at your shirt tails! While yapping their heads off! Also, at any time during the class, girls that should be in other classes show up at my door, and just walk in to talk to their friends. And they say to me; me, the teacher, "miss, I talk to my friend. 1 moment".
My fellow teachers are wonderful. There are about 11 English teachers from England, America, South Africa, Australia, Ireland, Canada. They are good for many laughs daily! And I am making an effort to meet the UAE teachers as well. Since some speak little English, I basically just barge into their offices and say hi and they always invite me to sit down! A sit down always leads to dates and coffee or tea. I'm trying to get across to them that I am not always coming to them for food but, they are welcome to keep stuffing me! They are so wonderful!
It's definitely a different teaching experience. Full of new opportunities and one where I am learning a lot from my students and colleagues. So far, I would totally recommend this experience to all!