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! 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


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. 

08 February 2015

1st Quarter Assessment 2015

Seems like my last several posts have been about getting the hell outa dodge. I seem to go back and forth but continue to come to the same conclusion which is to stick to my original goals. Ive stayed the course thus far and to veer from it now would mean that some things wouldn't come to fruition and since I won't be making this my permanent home, it doesn't make sense to do that.

I even have a teeny tiny itch of missing America. Though I know Im not ready for all that comes with that right now. Im sure a month of being with family will cure that really quickly. I just have to wait about five months for that to happen. In the meantime Ill just start planning for summer vacation. And if I have my way, its going to be AWESOME! Like, really awesome. This is the year to reward myself for staying said course and I am planning to see a couple really cool places in addition to going home. It is a bit overwhelming so I won't say anything beyond that just yet. Prices and booking and making me feel anxious just thinking about it. Im so type A when it comes to those things.

In school news, this is the first year that I have readers.Well,not quite. One year I had a group who were on the cusp. This year, I have enough time to really guide this process along. Its a bit scary for me as I feel like I need to know more, to do more. I also don't always feel like what Im doing is developmentally appropriate but it is what I am supposed to do. That is an entirely different subject that I won't delve into at this time.

The first quarter of the year will soon draw to a close and so far, so good!

11 January 2015

What to Do?

Its that time of year where you think about your goals.Where it (usually) goes from there is anyone's guess. Except we make goals regularly and work to see them through. And that got me to thinking about something that I keep touching on in my posts about changing jobs. Its such a catch 22 because the two major things I want don't really support each other.
(1) I want to go home in a timely manner AND I want to meet more of our financial goals before leaving. (2) I want to be in an environment more conducive to using the skills I learned and was able to use at home. Initially, I was sure I should just make the move, take the pay cut and just deal with whatever comes. But...isn't there always a 'but'? I got to thinking (think long think wrong) that this is but a blip in time and the things I can accomplish financially I can't accomplish in even half the time at home and there is no guarantee I will be in a better situation if I move.
Having looked at school around the world-literally-it has come to my attention that they have the same gripes that we do. Granted, I understand that most people who rate their schools are extremely happy or dissatisfied with their school situations. Even so, I realize that having an International school doesn't solve all ones problems. And in keeping my eyes on the prize I have to remember that the end goal is home. Whats the fastest route to getting there?
Before today, I thought about the fact that I do like my school, for the most part, and I am a part of something...we are making a difference. But...there it is again...I messaged my teacher today to see if she was coming back-I have a feeling she isn't-and she is undecided. I filled her in on what's happening without her and she does miss us but her baby comes first and that is understandable. But whyyyyyyyyy? It will be a long here dealing with a stand in who isn't an educator or young children.It has already been a long couple of weeks.
Five years strong and I've not had to deal with the craziness that can come with all this but I fear that may come to an end if she doesn't return.Funny because I'm now thinking of how I thought this would be a long year starting out because it was the first year I had to share a class full time with another teacher. It's only the second term, though, and I refuse to drive myself crazy with what might be. I've learned enough about life that I know better.

Whatever happens today is preparing my for my tomorrow. Im sticking to that mantra and will see what lies ahead.

14 December 2014


There have been several times where I've thought, "I need to go write..." but I never got around to it. So in the spirit of keeping this place updated I figured I should come and write before the year ends. Maybe Ill just recap the highlights of the semester.

  • This is my first time having a class for a second year in a row. Its quite different from getting kg2s who haven't been to kg1. Every year I felt bad because my kids weren't using English but it was because they  hadn't heard it long enough. They did, however, understand English and I was usually satisfied with that. They are using a good amount of English,especially to tell on each other.They also translate for me when they can.
  • I have a few who are ready to start reading cvc words, that is also a first.
  • We continue to get more materials for the classroom. Though not much for Arabic. Its unfortunate and if someone were to get into production in that area they would make a fortune!
  • My teacher is preggers and, therefore, out of school for the next two months. At least. I can't put into words how much I miss her.She's a good Arabic teacher. I had to take a mental step back because I was irritated about my kids not having someone to fill her shoes but it is out of my hands so no need working myself up over it.
  • I've started looking into International schools and the funny sad thing is that a LOT of the schools suffer from the same issues. And not just in this country. Granted, people who are jaded are much more apt to write a review. Even so, a good school can quickly turn bad when there is a change in administration. I try to keep an open mind about reviews and also hopeful because I still have that burning/yearning for an International school,lol.
  • I also think about Asia but if I'm honest, I do think I would kick myself for leaving this country. I want to go but the cons make me hesitant. Not sure why the place is still bouncing around in my head. I try to tell myself the smog won't be so bad, that arctic winter winds don't last forever, that I can live off street food and no stove to cook familiar comfort food (possibly), the lack of English being spoken, understood,written in public places, and the fact that there won't be any in either of our sizes. Oh, and I have to add makeup.Thats important! I think that visit got me. Though I wouldn't want to move to Thailand just bc I had a nice time there. IDK. . .
  • My HOF is leaving in one year. So even if I wanted to stay at my school indefinitely, Id be extremely leery of who will come in after her. Those are some big shoes to fill as she is great!
  • Im trying to keep momentum, and I'm not even one to look forward to breaks but I hope this one gives me the restart I need. There is a glass ceiling that I feel is preventing me from doing things I could do if only the kids spoke more English...or if I spoke more Arabic.
  • Im preparing my brain for the possibility of moving for two reasons. 1 is my landlord is selling to another investor who could raise the rent if they choose.The other is that if I get a new job, we will most likely have to leave. Im looking around wondering what we I will have to give up to make room for a smaller place. I keep telling myself I can live the Ikea life,lol. Maybe we'll  find out.

13 November 2014

Term 1 Happenings

I know what must be done and I'm going to put my best foot forward and see what comes of it. I also decided today as I listened to Brazilian instrumentals while on the way to work that I'm going to try one.last.time to contact someone at my old school for a referral using the referral he gave me when I thought I'd go to grad school (again) to jog his memory. *fingers crossed*.

Aside from that, the year continues to go well. Even so, I mustn't let that blind me from the fact that this unhealthy relationship must come to an end as I've completed the goal I initially came with (five years) and it is time to move on. Truth be told, I would have no problem staying if it weren't for so many unforeseen changes that could adversely affect us. It seems that black and white holds no weight and too many "official" things aren't. As they say in the south, "I need to get while the gettin is good!"

The question remains though, get where? Here? Another Emirate?Another country? So many variables to consider while considering that comfort feels good but may also be a hinderance to us. I find myself looking around our house wondering about what I can do without. The same could be said for a new school. I can love a school that doesn't use writing workshop...but I'd LOOOOOVE a school that did,lol. In all honesty, most Title I schools at home have reading programs so I wouldn't be using writing workshop anyway. Who knows, I can't see into the future. I am, however, trying to alter it a little bit by getting out there and testing the waters. I still wish China weren't so polluted! I would've applied to Chinese schools last year. South Korea beckons something in me but something tells me we might wondering what in the world we got into.

Me thinks I'll just apply to good schools and see what happens. In the meantime, Ill continue to enjoy my little ones who, by the way, are starting to put cvc words together. Well a couple of them. It was so funny today in small group when one student noticed that another girl was sounding out the words before her. She asked me if the other student was good (while holding up a thumbs up) and I said yes to which she replied, "noo!". I smiled and laughed, "It's ok, you're good too".  Talking to a bilingual teacher the other day reiterated to me one of the in-house reasons I need to go. While exploring ice outside they began to get frustrated because the ice was melting. A couple students became irritated and angry and one wanted to know where her ice went! Another student talked about how his ice went into the ground. These are the things I miss most. I want to ask questions and hear them talk about their observations.


Last year I was all set and then I decided to stay. This year will not be a repeat, Inshallah.

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