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10/8/12

Teaching in Saudi Arabia

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Well, I mentioned in a previous post that my life has taken a monster turn.  I accepted a job at the international school and I am now teaching 2nd grade! (oh and assistant coaching girls volleyball!)
Let me tell you a bit about the school.  It's an international school that teaches according to American standards.  We have quite a mix of kids...including kids from Saudi, Pakistan, India, Canada and the States (and more).  It's a nice school and they will soon be building a brand new one at a new site.  Since women can't drive, they have buses (like the ones for airport transfers) that go around and pick up the teachers from the compounds and our neighborhood.  It's nice, but stressful because I have to make sure I'm ready in time!  They pick us up right outside our front gate and the girls get to ride with me...love that.  :)  


 In this photo: Pix of the outside of school.  Notice the concertina wire?  The big blue door is the outer entrance where we have a guard on duty.  Those are the buses that take the teachers home.  Like the green lawn?!  :)

So, here's how it all went down:
When I went in for the interview, I had every intention of telling them no.  I had no desire to go back to work full time.  My youngest is only in school half a day and I wanted to spend the afternoons with her...she's growing so fast!  However, once they both started school and the little one was home alone in the afternoons without her sister...well, I realized pretty quick that neither one of us was going to be happy about that arrangement.  She was bored to tears, and I'm sorry, I love my baby...but I can't entertain her every day for 4 hours straight!
Now, that's not the main reason I took the job...the hubby and I went back and forth (okay, I rambled and he just listened) for three days straight...and well, I just couldn't come up with a good enough reason not to take the job.  The principal was literally begging me...they were desperate for teachers...the second grade classes were already too large.  So, I gave in.
Here's the part where once again I wish I had been smarter about leaving things with family when I packed up the whole damn house.  Leaving some of my teaching supplies would have come in really handy...I mean, I haven't taught in 5 years...and now, here I was, taking a job and I have nothing to start with.  I'm coming in after the year has already started, to a smallish classroom, and literally nothing to put on the walls or get organized with.  That was slightly overwhelming.  
Thank goodness for kind coworkers...they loaned me bits and pieces of stuff to get my room to look semi decent.  I was just sick thinking about all the lovely books I have locked away in a storage unit...so, safe to say, my class library is pretty pathetic.  But, again, fellow teachers came to the rescue and I rifled through my girls stock of books and pilfered those I knew they wouldn't miss...much.
my room before....

and after... 
I've never had real windows in my classroom before...so love the bright sunshine!  

I spent a whole week trying to get back into "teaching mode."  I downloaded First Days of School to my kindle to refresh my memory.  As I sat in my classroom it was like a tidal wave washed over me and everything started to come back...like my discipline plan, how I used to start each day, class rules, etc.  I surfed the net trying to find some of the things that used to be a staple in my room and see if I could download them.  (found a killer website called teacherspayteachers.com, where teachers post things that they have and either offer it for free or for a minimal charge....so thankful for that site...found a ton of stuff that I could use)
After a week, I was feeling pretty good.  Got my class list...chatted with the teachers who had the kids prior and felt like I was ready to go.  My first week with the kids would only be 3 days long because of a holiday...so that was actually good because we spent that time focusing on behaviors, class rules, etc. The downside of that first week was that it included open house.
But, I made it through the open house and met all the parents.  Now it was time to get down to buisness. 
My students hard at work baby!  Proud home of the Yanbu Stallions! 

The first week went well.  We practiced routines and got ourselves on track.  Not to mention I needed to figure out Moodle and prepare for Virtual School.  (more on that later)
With all that being said...am I happy I took the job??  You bet.  It has made life here so much more interesting and I feel involved in the community.  I love that I can see my girls whenever I want and we even have lunch together sometimes!  It's so much work...I forgot all about the daily life of an elementary teacher, but I'm happy.  :)
the kids playground at recess and the hard court area (bottom, middle photo).  Our "class pets."  These wild kitties are loving fed each day by me...I can't help it...the get right to the window and meow through the glass...too cute!  And a few more shots of the school grounds. 

What about you?  Do you think you could teach in a foreign country?

3 comments:

Ryan

Really you're feeding wild cats?? Ha :). You know they will never leave you alone. They might just following you home one day! Great pics and great job on the class room. It looks fantastic. Those kids are in for a rude awakening, a good time and one hell of a teacher! Was that a soccer net or a hand ball net? Try and take a pic of the volleyball gym. I'd like to see it. Love u sis and we will skype soon. Xoxo

MagicCarpetRidin

Really you're feeding wild cats?? Ha :). You know they will never leave you alone. They might just following you home one day! Great pics and great job on the class room. It looks fantastic. Those kids are in for a rude awakening, a good time and one hell of a teacher! Was that a soccer net or a hand ball net? Try and take a pic of the volleyball gym. I'd like to see it.

MagicCarpetRidin

Thanks Ry! :) Will get more photos soon!

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