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13 February 2017

Tears?

I was thinking of my kids this year and am just so appreciative of the children the parents nurtured and sent to us this cohort. I just might cry this graduation, rotfl. Not sure if I wrote of the embarrassment that was my very first graduation. Im sure that I did! That was a result of all the hard work I put in to make that class manageable with no prior school, A co-teacher for a few months before she left, and maybe 5 Arabic words WITH 25 kids in a barren room. I wish I had pictures and video from that year!

But this? This is the exact opposite. These kids came in with curiosity. They went to centers from day one with little direction from us AND they didn't destroy them. With the help of my amazing co-teacher, we have an amazing class. I am thoroughly enjoying their level of comprehension, their ability to laugh and talk with me even if we aren't speaking the same language, and the fact that they have a good grasp on the language to the point where their simple English messages can be understood easily. I wish I could convey to them just how proud I am of their work and their little personalities. They are certainly the best class I could end this journey with 💜

19 December 2016

Repatriation

I find myself daydreaming of America. In spite of her current situation,  there are people there who I miss and will enjoy spending time with more than I would like staying away from the craziness. Im from a town of 30,000 people. I want to go and pick fruit/vegetables with my aunt and grandmother. I want to sit on back porches enjoying wine/tea/cocktails/grilled food and music. I want to drive on streets that lack crazy drivers and beeping horns. I want to let my windows down in a car that isn't so compact that I feel like Im driving a go-cart.

I want to go to any store with the confidence that what I am looking for will be there and it wont cost me triple what it is really worth. I want to feel like I would get help in public if there were some emergency that warranted stranger intervention (God forbid). I want a buffet that doesn't cost 100 dollars. I want to hear rain and participate in layering my clothes without burning up. I want to wear shorts without feeling naked.

I want to work longer hours (gasp!) with children who are able to communicate with me. I want to make more of a difference than I already am. I want to have full lessons. I want to hear questions and ask higher order thinking questions. I want to participate in class discussions and not have to wonder what the kids think of me. I want to be a productive member of my community. I want to grow as a professional.

No doubt going back is going to hurt. I see that rent has increased about 300 dollars from the last time I was home. If you can ease back into America by living with someone I HIGHLY recommend it. I don't even know if that will be enough. But it will have to do. Im on a 7 month count down Inshallah.

18 August 2016

You Dont Know Until You Know

I never realized how much I would love seeing new places. I mean, I had an idea and its not like this summer is my first time traveling but it was just made more evident just because of how beautiful this world is. To finally experience it. In one word-amazing. The air, the people, the atmosphere. Nothing compares. Thank God I no longer have a fear of flying. I still go to sleep if its more than a few hours but if I have to stay awake, no heart palpitations.

Im going to update my list of places I want to visit because I have places to add and I have some repeats thanks to that cruise (smh). In the meantime, I will be finishing my book, The Millionaire Teacher, and Im planning on budgeting so that I can continue to travel in some capacity.




06 August 2016

It's been forever!

I refreshed a couple times thinking "surely Dec 2015 isn't the last time Ive posted!". Seems that every year I seem to suck a little more at keeping track. Honestly, though, the longer you stay in a place, the less there is to write about. Unless you're willing to part ways with your dirhams I guess,lol.

This year? This year was great in terms of work. Parents participated. Kids worked well and I even had a small group of readers in KG1!!!  The Arabic teachers were on board with things we have been trying to initiate for years and we got an amazing score at our school from the powers that be. It made me think about how a single person or a small group works to make change...how much does that change affect the bigger picture? I won't go into my conclusion because that will change the tone of my entire post. Let's just stick with the fact that being able to see change in our school is always a pleasure.

I've already convinced myself that when I  blink a few times it will be December and shortly after that it will be time to go home. For good. That's my current plan. Despite the fact that I'm currently turned off of my home country, I do feel like my time is up here for various reasons. If He decides that it's not time, then there is one thing that will happen. If not, adios.

This year will be full of surprises I'm sure. At this point Im expecting anything-teaching two classes, being transferred...it is anyone's guess. I'm going to roll with the punches. Going six years unscathed is a miracle by some standards.

I will try to make it a point to enjoy life here and do things I've not done, see things I haven't seen,maybe get another trip in while over here. Inshallah. Honestly, my mind is already home. And Ive been here before. I was so ready to go then but I think this is coming from a different place and when you know, you know. Unless you don't,lol.

One thing I know for sure, having a classroom of children who I can actually have a conversation with will be spectacular :-) .

24 December 2015

Burned Out?

I've not taught long enough to be burned out. Honestly, I hope it never comes to that point. I love what I do, I am adamant on the fact that the children need to see someone who they can relate to-someone who looks like them. While we all want to sing Kumbaya and people want us to "all be the same", that really does a disservice to the children who are all unique and different.

I'd be blind not to see that leaving a system so many teachers are growing to despise may have a lot to do with me not tuckering out yet. I taught for two years at home before coming here so Im 7 years in and working on year 8 now. I have days where I feel guilty for not being at home. But the truth is that I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of those little ones that I hold dear to my heart.

Don't get me wrong. I hold these little ones dear to my heart as well. I keep their pictures. We laugh and play together. It's something so sweet when there are students I can have funny jokes with when we are speaking two different languages. It's gratifying when a parent has someone translate to me that their child wants to come back to my class after they've passed on the elementary school.

At this point in my career, I'm not itching to get home but it is definitely on the list. It has helped that my school has continued to improve thanks in LARGE PART to a wonderful HOF. She will be leaving this year so I don't know how I will feel next year,lol. No one is going to run me out of here until I am ready that is for sure.

I just need to continue getting these ducks in order. It is a slow process to dig yourself out from under student loans-thank God Sallie is gone! Now, I feel like it is time to get in more travels and start this repatriation fund because rent and taxes are looming. If you are thinking of coming-or going back for that matter-please remember that being here means you are making almost double what you are at home when you adjust for taxes, utilities, and rent. Now, if you choose to spend big bucks on all the bells and whistles you see here, don't confuse that with making the same amount of money you make in the States because you aren't. The longer you stay here, the more you have to prepare yourself for that reduction in income because it will drastically reduce the ease at which you can repatriate happily. I know of several people personally who are coming back, have come back, or who want to come back. It's real in these streets! lol.

19 December 2015

December already??!!

It's been a semester of school and I haven't come here once. Shame on me! Guess Ill do an overview of the year thus far. I'm back in KG1. The place most teachers cringe at because they come.in.CRAZY! screaming for mom, seriously believing we are there to kill them-no joke.  But this year was a bit different. The parents came in speaking more English and the children were a bit odd. And I mean that in the best way possible. Yeah, we had some cryers and others who weren't quite sure about this place mom just brought them to without explaining to them that it wasn't a death sentence,lol. They actually went to centers and used the material. I was astonished and proud and excited. It was literally a joy to watch. While other classes were still setting items out on the tables, our kids were wandering through the classroom, talking to each other, using the centers like we had taught them what to do! The only problem with that is when I would prefer for them to stay at the table and do work without leaving. They're like, "I don't want to do this, Im going (insert center here)".

Another great thing I discovered this year is DOJO ! And I love it! No doubt, it wouldn't be possible without my Arabic teacher because she puts the pressure on the parents and doesn't sugarcoat anything. Most certainly you'd be fired in America for the things she says to parents but that is how they do it here. But back to Dojo-Its great because you get to share what you are doing in the classroom and send messages to the parents as a whole or to specific parents. You can see who read the messages and saw the pics. You can see which parents translated the message and they can also respond. Add the fact that we have over half our class on the app and Im loving it!

Aside from that, Im hard pressed to think of what else I can say about this term. We are currently on winter break and soon Ill be gearing up to see them in January. 2016 Ill try to come back monthly.

6 years and counting. Good Lord, we are joking about being here for Expo 2020 but it's looking like that may actually happen. Im not sure how to feel about that!

27 September 2015

The Case for a Smaller Place

Its been forever, I know. It's a wonder I've updated for this long. Life gets monotonous and there is nothing to post aside from a few complaints or surprises.  The (not so) recent move was, at first, a minor irritant and a reason to spend money I would have preferred to keep in my pocket. It turned out to fulfill my secret wishes though and I am so happy that we were able to had to move!

Basically, we lost a room. Well, we also lost half of what was already a small kitchen but it is open so we have a bar. We were also losing storage space and I spent months mentally preparing for this  change. Funny because I toyed with, even romanticizing, the idea of having a smaller space when I was convinced we were going to move to South Korea or Shanghai. In real life, I was walking from room to room, trying to decide what wasn't going to make the cut and it was driving me CRAZY!

Some things were an easy choice. Other things, not so much. It was a bit cathartic at times and now that we are all unpacked we can enjoy the benefits of everything having a place-or not being a part of our apartment. We have a balcony and that is super exciting! I even called the guy to come put up the shelves and curtains. In the last apartment I think it was well over a year before I got around to getting the curtains installed and shelves weren't a necessity. We've been careful about picking up after ourselves and putting things back where they belong. And maybe that is something some people never have a problem with but we aren't those people and I shall not be ashamed,lol.

So while I have no office, the bedroom is large enough to fit a full sized desk and still have room, we have no storage closet but have a wash room with shelves for our towels. We have no dining room table but instead chose to put in a rug where one would go, place a book shelf behind the couch, and add a side table to hold everything that won't go into the kitchen because our cabinet (and counter) space was cut in half, and use bar stools instead. Other than that, the layout is very similar to the last place only cozier and in a great way! I also got the bed I wanted to begin with along with a nice new mattress!

Maybe Ill add pictures soon because words cant do our "back yard" justice!

15 May 2015

You Likey?

I finished a small group activity with some children, it was really informal. After calling some children I really wanted to work with, I began to call others and some just showed up to the party. Unless the group is just too large you can join in as you like when it's something like this. Shaykha sat down and I was sure she would breeze through, become bored, and move along to another center. It was counting out manips on a 20 grid paper because they'd been having problems adding without recounting what they already had in front of them.

To my surprise, most of the children who played asked to play again and Shaykha made sure to let me know just how she felt about it when the game was over. "why-ed haloo, wheyyyyyy-ed haloo." Basically, it was very nice. I laughed and told her I was glad that she liked it and we could play it again another day. Now that I think about it, its funny how something so simple can catch their attention. Other times, I can laminate and cut my heart out on something that they couldn't care less about. Those little boogers,lol. 

summer time sadness

Looking back home at all the summer concerts...only summer starts there before we actually get off work. You catch yourself thinking, "man, yet another reason to go home." Which is true, but then you realize that if you were indeed home, you probably wouldn't have the money to go to the concert to begin with.


Ah, such is life.









25 April 2015

Still?

Since being here, Ive been able to slide into the old adage of letting things slide off my back. I don't get too caught up in the (crazy) happenings going on around me. At least I try not to. Still, there are some things that still irritate the living _______ out of me! Thankfully, the list isn't too long or Im not sure how Id cope. Much like others are coping here I suppose.

1. People who bounce from lane to lane as if they were taught that that is the way you are supposed to drive.

2. People who change lanes in SLOW MOTION. Are you getting over or not??!!

3. People who aren't changing lanes. They're just straddling the lane even if someone is IN that lane next to them!

4. "Pharmacists" who don't know the names of medications nor do they know what interacts with what. It is ridiculous for me to have to adamantly tell you that I don't want a medication because they paper inside says X,Y,Z and then you say its not problem. Where did you go to school?!?!?

5. The lack of maintenance knowledge for pretty much everything.I could let it go if it weren't such a health hazard. (If you don't have renters insurance-GET IT!)





There! I can count them on one hand! Im proud of myself. There are many people who can't say the same,lol. 5 years and counting! Inshallah, two more before heading home. 

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