Back home teachers sometimes get almost 2-3 weeks to set up depending on their principals and the readiness of schools. Many principals will send out welcome letters and classroom and grade level assignments weeks before teachers even have to report for the first day.
And now let's look at my experience this year.
When moving here everyone said be flexible. In the interview they asked how flexible are you? All of the advice I've been given since being here included some form of be flexible and now I know why. We were supposed to report on Sunday but the EID Holiday fell on a weekend so we were given Sunday off.
With the extra day we decided to take part in the EID celebration and go see some fireworks at YAS Marina. This was the very first time we'd run into stopped traffic! All of the streets were decorated and the buildings were lit up!
Monday morning I woke up without an exact time to report to my school. Some said report at 7:30am, some said 8:00am, one person said 9:00 would suffice as well. I decided to try and be there around 7:30am. Since it was my first day Mike decided to take me so that was one less worry. My alarm went off around 6:00 and I got up and began getting ready. I couldn't help but notice and admire God's handiwork outside my window. Every day here I am just humbled and amazed that this is the life I am so privileged to live.
Once dressed I had to have a first day of teacher workdays photo shoot and then I was off.
My commute to work was not bad at all. The GPS said it was only 18 minutes away and it took us about 23 minutes with traffic and lights. This commute is truly a blessing because I have friends with an hour commute - one way. As a matter of fact I took one of my friends to see her school a few weeks ago and as we approached her school this is what we saw.
We get to my school and Mike says, "Ok. Go on in and do your thing!" My reply, "Ok here I go!
As soon I walked in I was greeted by a man who told me to fingerprint in (clock in). I tried but it said wrong location so I left it alone and he led me to my AVP, we'd call him the Assistant Principal back home. I greeted him and all of the other people in the room. 2 of whom were women and seemed very excited to see me. They were excited because last year there were only 2 women in the entire building but 1 was transferred so the 1 returning woman thought she'd be alone. The other woman was new just like me and from Dallas, TX. I sat down and listened to what was being said. The AVP was kind of briefing us on how things ran at the school. He was very blunt and forthcoming and I appreciated that because that's how my administrative team was at home.
Shout out to my people at Cochrane Collegiate Academy! 😀😀💓💓👏👏👋👋
Anywho, I listened and took it all in. As we were talking people were coming in and greeting each other and I said hello to everyone even though I wasn't sure who they were. (That was another piece of advice, greet everyone.) After a little time of sitting there the Principal walks in and the AVP introduces us and he tells us he's glad to have us and we are welcome. The other new teacher brought him a gift and she gives it to him. It's an array of chocolates. He opens it immediately and offers everyone in the room a piece. (Another piece of advice I was given, when offered something, take it - whether you eat it or not.) I took a piece and sat it down in front of me. We listened and greeted and talked and then the veteran lady decided to show us around. As the only women in our building we are given our own staff room and restroom. This room has desks and computers and it's our home away from home. Men don't come in this room and if they do, they knock and ask if it's ok. The school is 2 floors and every room has been repainted. The top floor will be for 6th and 7th grade and the bottom floor will be 8th and 9th grade. The school is a circle. My school is a Cycle 2 school which is equivalent to Middle School back home. Back home though most middle schools are grades 6-8. After the tour we go back to the AVP's office and meet other EMTs, English Medium Teachers. That means they teach their subject in English. All of them are men and none of them are new. The AVP lets us know who teaches what and then get this, he asks us which one of us wants 7th and which one wants 6th! This is not so he can then take our answer and go back and decide, it's what we'll actually teach! The other new woman decides on 7th and I elect 6th. Prayers answered there because that's what I wanted! He then says where do you want to be? We look at each other and say we'd like to be close but how are the classes set up. Are contents together or grade levels? He says let's go take a look. So we walk around and he explains the set up. We get to where the 7th grade side is and the new 7th grade teacher, who will be my planning buddy, steps inside her class and we all immediately start sweating. She has no air! The air is not working. The air didn't always work back home but back home it wasn't 108 degrees+ at 8:00am! The AVP immediately tells someone she will not be able to work without air and they immediately start making phone calls to have someone out to fix it. We continue walking and get to the 6th grade wing. The AVP said he'd like English and Math side by side so he stops right before the Grade 6 Math class and says to me this will be my room. I go in and it is cool! YES! I have air, one obstacle overcome! I go in take a look around and see a Promethean Board but without the Promethean Gadgets. No problem I say to myself, be flexible! There is a nice HP Touchsmart computer and a projector I can make it work. It isn't as big as what I'm use to but again be flexible and make it work. I have 3 bulletin boards inside and 1 on the outside. Out of the top 5 things I hate about being a teacher putting up bulletin boards is 1 of them because they must be updated and that's not my thing. But again be flexible make it work and I will. All in all I'm happy with my class placement because I'm right beside the toilet, someone who was at the school last year so I can ask questions and not far from the steps! I jot down ideas for the bulletin boards and then we go back to the AVP's office.
He begins briefing us on his expectations. Don't be late. Don't worry about turning in lesson plans but you'll have to post them online. The curriculum is not up so do your own thing until it is released. Create a diagnostic. Be flexible. The meeting is adjourned and since the other new teacher lives in the tower that I see from my window she offers to give me a ride home and I gladly accept.
Once home I tell Mike all about the people and my class.
The next few days operate in the same way. We are told to make sure our classes are ready for students and that's what we do. Resources for decorating are limited so I went to the teacher store in the Boutik Mall to pick up some things to get me started.
On Thursday we have an all staff meeting which is conducted in Arabic but we have someone that sits beside us to translate. The meeting lasts for a little over an hour with the Principal and 2 AVPs providing updates and setting expectations. There are no icebreakers and no games. I'm wondering if this is because of the all male staff. I like playing games in the first few staff meetings, it makes coming back a little fun. We all say our name and our position but I miss a lot of names because they are going extremely fast in Arabic and no time for translation.
After the meeting our English coordinator asks to meet with us to provide curriculum updates. We meet and he's straight to the point. The unit plans and lesson plans will be given to us as soon as it is created and we should follow it as that's where the assessments will come. He also lets us know we will receive textbooks and workbooks which should predominantly stay in the classroom because there aren't any extras if a student is to lose it. He wraps up his updates and says be prepared and get your rooms ready for the boys on Sunday and you'll be fine.
I head back to my room to finish and and as I'm working, in walks the Principal, 2 AVPs, and Security with a notepad. They enter and shake their heads in approval. The Principal says, "Very organized I'll have to tell the other men to come and see how to organize class." They notice that I don't have a teacher desk and the Security Guard writes that down. Within about 15-20 minutes the Security Guard shows back up with 2 of the cleaning men and bring a teacher desk. They move all of my stuff I had on my makeshift teaching desk onto student desks, they move the student desks and chairs out, they bring the teacher desk in, they try to put my stuff back on my teacher desk but I tell them I'll take care of it. Before putting my stuff on my new teacher desk though they clean off the desk and ask if I'm ok. I tell them yes and they say, "Ok Madam, thank you!" I'm definitely not in Charlotte, NC anymore and I'm loving it!
I finish getting my room together and try out my first lesson. I go through each slide to make sure what I'm going to talk about and do is ready. Once I finish I head home and on my ride home I decide to wash and retwist my hair and soak in the tub! What a nice start to the weekend!
Before I close this post out I have to tell you about the Office Boy we have. It is his job to make all copies, he brings tea and coffee, he is in charge of supplies, and he is in charge of the cleaners and movers. I need my old district to step their game up if I decide to go back! LOL!
I'll post pics of my finished class when I go to school for the first time with students on Sunday. I forgot to take them before I left Thursday.
Be Kind to One Another and Be Uniquely You!
Hi! I'm Unique. Follow along with me as I try unique things and travel the world!