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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.

sigh.

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

05 November 2014

Small gains??

Wow, I was averaging about 4 posts per month for years...YEARS! I realized recently that I haven't written since August and its not because I have nothing to write about. When things happen I have the thought to but it just never came to fruition.

But now Im here so lets hope this is a sign of things to come. I think I'll just bullet the items that are most pertinent recently...


  • after a mini lesson about the writing process the children are starting to catch on to furthering their writing. A couple of them are labeling their work. Albeit in Arabic but that is to be expected. The point is that they used the lesson and transferred the knowledge!
  • I have a little translator. She explains things to the kids after me sometimes and If I ask her what something is she will tell me or act it out,lol. Sometimes she just pokes out her bottom lip and shrugs which means she doesn't have the words to tell me.It's too funny.
  • Kids who were in my low group last year have made major gains and are easily doing things that got me blank stares last year. 
  • While checking their home notebooks I noticed some English words and this is unusual. I was surprised to see that a parent wrote me a note thanking me for my work with her 'baby' and how he was enjoying the new English books we have sent home with them.
  • Another parent told my coteacher about how she was noticing his gains at home. He is no longer shy around other people to include his family, he notices letters when they are out and about and attaches them to people's names that he knows and he is about to identify some letters when looking at print at home. 

Which reminds me. I was feeling a bit unsure about things a month or so ago. I'm sure its the positive changes I've been privy to along with the ease of not moving.Add in there the fact that each year has been a good one for me and it's a recipe for complacency. I need to shake it off and stick to my guns. Just recently the embassy sent out a message that made me question my next move further. Though I can't stay in the house forever or avoid certain places entirely, it is something to think about moving forward.

At this point, we are well into the last quarter and I need not let it pass me by without completing some very important goals. Once of which is my breakup with Sallie Mae. When it's official I'm celebrating like everyone thinks you do when you're 21.Or maybe they really do and I just missed that boat,lol. In the meantime, I need to get my ducks in a row and make those babies walk.


23 August 2014

Summer is Over

Just as fast as it began for some. Especially for those who were counting on another week to enjoy family, friends, or just sitting around enjoying (insert destination here). Unfortunately, things you would think are set in stone aren't here and either you learn to deal with it or you don't. Such is the conundrum for many people here.


My intention was to write about my time at home while I was at home. I figured it would be interesting, at least to myself, to note the differences (if any) about my feelings after being away for two years. There were many feelings but I was mainly away from the internet so I didn't bother. And with that said, Ill just make a quick list to which many things will most likely be left off.

1.Being unplugged-it felt nice to be 'out of the matrix'. I enjoyed family and tried to soak up every moment of it.

2. Being uber aware of my surroundings-I found myself more aware of the possible intentions of people.In all honesty, I was paranoid that someone was going to try and harm me or take my belongings. I was admonished in Walmart for walking a few feet from my bag to get something off the shelf and then told multiple stories about thefts and crimes to which I feared succumbing to if I weren't careful. It didn't help that I kept the tv on ID which shows non stop crime television.On the flip side, you can leave your purse and your baby and head to another aisle in the Dabs if you so choose.

quick list huh?

Everything else was the normal stuff you do while home. Eat foods you've missed, go places to see and do things you can't while you are away, buy things you 'need' to take back with you,enjoying nature. The usual. Something else stood out to me that I should probably note for future reference: it was like I slid back into my space and time was normal. It didn't creep or speed by. I wasn't dreading coming back or counting the time I still had at home. I just lived in the moment and that told me that I am where I need to be at this time in my life.

The question is now, "will I feel that way in a week or so?"


07 July 2014

MOMMY?!

While in waitrose today I heard the familiar sound of crying and saw a child out of the corner of my eye. Its a normal occurrence and I didn't pay it much mind as I was on a mission to find something for a party later. Even so, I had this nagging feeling and was a bit dismayed about the fact that it's commonplace to ignore those crying children when they appear to be lost, or left as it seemed to be in this case as I would find later on. On the one hand, it happens so often that you realize is futile to walk up to a child who (1) doesn't speak English, (2) the mom/caregiver is either right there and ignoring the child leaving you to think there is noone around  or (3) they are right around the corner and the child hasn't caught up. In which case they will come back to get them...eventually. And while it's also commonplace to touch a stranger's child here, I don't feel its my place to step into a situation that is deemed normal here.Who am I to vilify you when there is very little chance anything bad will happen to your child?

Today I broke protocol and stopped to ask the child if they wanted their mommy, to which they replied yes. The child kind of looked western so I thought they might genuinely be lost.And I find it quite unnatural to ignore a child who is obviously in distress. I took their hand and tried to verbally calm them while walking down the store,looking down each aisle, and talking to the child. I didn't want anyone to think I was trying to steal the child and I certainly didn't want a confrontation with the mom though I felt there was a low chance of that. Anyway, no mom one way. While doubling back I made sure to watch any women who may be mom and a lady walked up who said she was the child's teacher. I explained the child was crying and alone so I stepped in. She took the child-who I keep referring to as such because he/she had such beautiful,curly hair that IDK what the gender was,lol-and went the opposite way only to double back because the mom wasn't there!!They left the store and by the time I checked out I didn't see anyone.

I just find it so hard to believe that child was in the store alone! insane. And not to mention the chance that that wasn't the teacher. Though I wouldn't know anyway.I also thought about the incident the other week where a man exposed himself to a woman in the store.A rare occurrence but still. (sigh) By now Im sure that moment is long gone out of the child's mind but has lingered in mine long enough that I figured Id write about it.

28 June 2014

Bonding Over GMO's

When school is 'over' you eat.Its just what you do. One day might be Egyptian food,another Indian, and American of course.Every year we serve the same. Breakfast.And every year has been the same.We could never figure out why they wouldn't eat the breakfast outside of the fruit and donuts. So we always made sure that was available since we knew they'd eat it.

This year we prepared the new teachers and I expected there to be so much food left over. Im pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that we have an English teacher who is muslim and speaks Arabic....but they tasted the food!They really liked the pancakes and we had to explain what it was made of, how you cook it, eat it, what you can serve it with,etc. The amount of syrup they put on them was laughable.not even a spoonful! They wanted to see the box it came in and  wanted to know the steps.The principal even sashayed to the room wanting to know who brought this thing she was holding and eating like a burrito,lol.For her to come down,it was obviously good.If they ever go to IHOP,its over!

These pancakes excited even the secretary bc she gave me money to bring something for all the teachers to eat the next day.Leave it to me to exceed the amount she gave me but thats neither here nor there.Those who tasted the dip and bread pudding loved it and some took it home for later.I guess food is good for bringing people together.At least until the plate is clean.

Two more weeks of childless school.No eating because Sunday starts Ramadan.I mean,you can eat in your room.Just not with muslim teachers.First working Ramadan,we will see how it goes.

masalama!

07 June 2014

Absent much?

I had to scurry and put in for my absence.God forbid, I get docked for it as a result of procrastination! While doing so,I wondered about my number of absences. There was a job I was interested in last year that wanted to know how many  days of school you missed and why. I was a little nervous because I didn't know how many days were acceptable and Im not even a chronic absentee teacher.

Fast forward to today, I learned that I am well below the average for the US.Im happy about that. I have averaged about 6 a year over the past 4 years and I do believe most were in the first year for post surgery reasons. Ive even gone to work with no voice! The second day I realized how ridiculous it was and went home,lol.

I was told that they used to pay for sick days not used. I wish that were the case,Id have a pretty little bonus every year!

25 May 2014

If Only

maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan

They had a 75% off sale today at a jewelry store and there was a sick diamond wedding ring there for 8500 dirham.


Sigh.


Yeah,I have a wedding ring but Im on the quest for an upgrade. More importantly I suppose, is the quest to pay off more debt so that when we do find the one,we can get it!


Responsibilities.




05 May 2014

Arab Hip Hop Song









I thought this was cool.

21 April 2014

Im So Lame

I didn't want to go to work today.
I don't want to go to work tomorrow.
But Ill probably go.


I feel like Ive swallowed a porcupine and I don't feel like talking.Something I have to do at work.Actually,Ive worked a couple times with no voice so it is doable.Still, I don't want to!
Of course, I could stay home tomorrow, and it probably would have happened if it weren't for
several things that happened today.
1.the substitute wants to bake cake tomorrow as we are on the community helpers unit
2.we got new stuff in school today!!!!! computer, carpet,plush seating for the reading center
3.there was something else but idk at this moment.

anyway, I am SO EXCITED that one computer is going next to the reading center so that we can finally have a listening center!!!!!!!! Im so happy, Ive been wanting this for about three years. I was about to make some cds for some books I acquired from the library but this is a better option because we have book with cds that correspond with their arabic letters. the stories can also play in english and the story is visual.I can also download videos from youtube for them to enjoy.They are going to LOVE IT.

That in addition to the kitchen we just got the other day.I probably don't even need a voice for the rest of the week,lol. Pretty soon our school will look like a regular school!

I also had a relative come in to tell me how pleased she was with her nephew's progress in class.Now, he spoke english before coming.He was actually better in it than arabic which was strange. Needless to say, he is catching on to literacy concepts like wild fire.Im happy that she came in for he feedback. it was nice to hear. All the parents that come in make mention of their child loving class.Mission accomplished *wink*.




14 April 2014

Always A Student

I love ECE.

Love it.


For awhile I began to feel my brain was going into atrophy. I felt like I wasn't making a difference and that I wasn't able to use my skill set. That is when the itch started. I feel like Im always reading something or watching a video about something. It doesn't help when I find tons of great ideas that I can't use because my environment is different from those that aren't esl.

The itch is gone and I feel like things have picked up.Unfortunately, this can all change next year.I won't even think about that right now.In the meantime, I have some very important decisions to make about how I am going to teach for he remainder of the year as we are piloting a new way to run the classrooms which allows for more focus on small groups without the distractions that come along with active kids all around you.Ill be able to speak on that once I have started.

Anyway, I found a website today that has FREE videos for anyone who wants/needs to be reminded they aren't crazy when they are trying to do something that is developmentally appropriate in their class, for someone who has been placed in KG without prior experience,or if you just want to brush up on some things. I have personally found that teachers are quick to say "i know____________" when maybe they don't or perhaps there is a better way to do something.There are also times when something may not be appropriate for various reasons.Whenever I feel that tug of apprehension I like to check myself because I don't know everything and there are lots of things I want to improve on while modifying it for kids who don't speak English. Ugh, so much to do, so little time.

For now, Im going to watch some of these videos and glean what I can.I find that I can use something in practice but I would like to better articulate my reasons for doing things. Its kind of like when I played an instrument in class but couldn't read the notes.

enjoy and share the videos!


Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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