I absolutely love Abu Dhabi! The people here, the scenery, and the amenities are just a few reasons why I love it here. While I do miss my family and friends dearly I love it here. I said all of that so what's about to be said is not taken as me complaining. This is not a rant or a vent. I know there are some ADEC hopefuls reading and I just want to give them a true and objective account of my experience.
Now, my first day of school was... different for a lack of words.
We are required to fingerprint in by 7:00am. I got to school a little after 6:30. I knew that my first 2 periods were 2 of my planning blocks so I wasn't in an extreme rush to get to school. Once in the building I said hello to everyone I passed and went to my room to drop off the bags that were filled with school supplies and other knick knacks that I decided to purchase to make sure my class would flow smoothly.
School begins with an all school assembly in the middle of school around 7:15. The PE Teachers use a microphone and say something in Arabic and all of the students put their hands out, to the side, over their heads, and then put them down. They do this a few times. I assumed he told them what to do. Every time they did what was said the music teacher and some students played a chord on the keyboard with a bass drum and snare. This went on for about 5 minutes. After that the UAE National anthem was played and everyone including teachers stood straight with their hands by their sides. There was no talking and no movement during this time. After the anthem was played some students read from the Quran and another student sang. The PE Teacher said some more in Arabic and then the keyboard and drums began to play and all of the teachers walked their students to their respective classes. The music sounded like music that would make anyone begin to march.
I went back to my classroom and finished preparing. And here's where the flexibility goes to another level. 10 minutes before my 1st period of the day, which was actually 3rd period, one of the security guards brought me a brand new teaching schedule. He said it would go in affect starting next period. According to this schedule I was supposed to have had 2 classes already. So, I hung up that schedule and went to the door to greet my incoming students. They all looked so nice in their white crisp kandoras. They came in and sat down and class begun. Usually I would know each student's name at the end of class but not today. Many of them had the same name and without an actual roster to refer back to it made what came easy to me very difficult.
When you're used to 90 minute class periods, 45 minutes goes extremely fast. I didn't even get through half of what I had planned and my time was up with this group of boys. I dismissed them and they were off to their first break. During the break, they can eat, hang out, use the restroom, etc. The break is only 15 minutes but they have those options. According to the new schedule I would not have students until an hour later so I sat at my desk, ate my lunch, and thought about my plans for the rest of the week and next week. Once I was finished eating it was time to welcome my 5th period into the class. They came in and were very attentive. Many of them spoke English very well and were interested in learning about me and where I come from. We were having such a good class that time snuck up on me and it was time to dismiss them. Since they were going to a class not far from me, I told them I would walk them to make sure they went to the right location.
And here's where the flexibility reaches another level. During the next period which for me is another planning period, the Assistant Principal comes in my room with a 3rd schedule. I'm thinking it's the one I already have but he says no this is another one so you can toss the others you've been given in the trash. I look at this schedule and I have no more classes for the remainder of the day. That's right, I have only taught 2-45 min classes for the entire day. Am I complaining? I most definitely am not I'm just speaking on my first day of school experience. Since I'm done teaching for the rest of the day I decide to take advantage of this time and start planning my first content lesson that I hope to deliver on Sunday.
If you are an ADEC hopeful, and are an extreme Type A personality you can just say goodbye to that side of your brain. Your willingness to be flexible will be tried so I encourage you to be ready to go with the flow. One of my friends said they got schedules and classroom assignments today, the first day of school. Another friend said her kids don't come until weeks into the school year and they aren't dropped from the roster or school but they are still expected to meet end of year expectations. So again I say BE FLEXIBLE AND READY TO GO WITH THE FLOW.
Be Uniquely You and Be Kind To One Another.
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Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!