Today was my second day at my new school. Yesterday I went, by myself, to the school to introduce myself and ended up staying all day (well until 1:30pm). When I arrived on Tuesday morning (the non-new teachers had been going to work since Sunday) I was introduced to the Principal. She was very welcoming and asked me about where I was from and about my teaching experience. Then, she told me about her travels in the United States. She told me that I must be very strong and not let the girls (our students are all female) break the rules. I said I will do my best, and she said, you’ll be fine. Which was a great way to start the day!
The principal had someone take me to the English Department office. All the subjects have their own office all in one wing of the building. Each office is a different size depending on the size of the departments. Many offices have rugs on the ground and the teachers were sitting on the rugs instead of at their desks. I’m really hoping the English office gets a rug too!
The English office was empty (the AC wasn’t working), but the three returning teachers had taken refuge in another room. They were so warm and welcoming! They asked me a few questions about myself, told be about themselves and we had a nice little chat. Soon two other teachers came in (one Physics and one Arabic teacher) and the room was filled with laughter and friendship. It was a really awesome environment! They translated for me, but I’m really hoping they will teach me Arabic. They served Arabic coffee, and I tried some. Unfortunately, I don’t like coffee, regular, Arabic or otherwise. But, they were fine with me not finishing my serving.
From when I arrived (around 8:15) to just after noon, we spent time socializing and organizing our office (even with the bad A/C). Around 12:30pm there was a staff meeting. So we all went down to the conference room. The room was filled with women, most of them dressed in beautiful abayas (I’m dying to get some!). They were all chatting away, as sweets and chocolate were being passed around the room. The meeting began shortly after, all in Arabic. One of the English teachers translated, so that was great. When the meeting was over, we were free to go home. The principal said she was working on scheduling still and hoped to get information out to the staff very soon.
I returned to school today with a car load of other new English teachers. We all attended a meeting at the ADEC headquarters in the morning, so arrived at school around 10am. The five of us had a meeting with the principal where she talked about some of the rules we must enforce, who we go to for help and other basic things. She said she was still working on the schedule, and hoped to have it final for tomorrow. So sorry, I still don’t know what grade I’m teaching.
We then had a tour of the building. It is basically a square shape (two floors) with a large courtyard in the middle (for morning assembly and break times). The wings of the school are separated by grade level, which is great since teachers move rooms rather than students. So, hopefully you only teach one grade level and you won’t have to move around the building too much! While touring we met a few Emirati teachers: the librarians, PE teachers and chemistry, if I recall correctly. They were very welcoming as well. Everyone has been so welcoming at the school. After our tour we returned to the office, shared a cup of tea and talked. We were dismissed from school around 1pm. The English Department that I’ve met so far all seem like really great women, I’m looking forward to the year!
Other than that, my main activities have been shopping for things for my apartment, doing laundry and trying to get caught up on communication with family and friends back home. I just unpacked from my three week hotel stay yesterday, so laundry has been a major priority.
Tomorrow, we have a meeting for all new English teachers and then Sunday is the first day of school with students. So, hopefully sometime in the next few days I can get gas for my stove and some more food. The school year is right around the corner. I will also try and take some good pictures of my apartment (even though the decoration is sparse) and share those with you.