Idioms are a weird thing in any language. They make total sense to native speakers, but are nonsense to language learners. For example, telling someone “I’m all ears!” means you’re listening intently, not that you’re made entirely of ears. Or the phrase “let the cat out of the bag” has absolutely nothing to do with felines or purses, but is all about telling secrets.
Posts Tagged With: Teacher
Have you ever had a minor problem just snowball out of control? I have. During my first week of school it happened in an epic way…
I have 18 students on my roster this year. A big leap up from only 9 last year, but still manageable. The first week is always the toughest, and on day 3, there was a bit of a mix-up that turned into a full-scale problem.
The school I work for sells notebook packages for each student. I decided how many notebooks students would need over the course of a school year and ordered exactly that many for my students. Parents then pay for the notebooks to be delivered to the students in class, or pick them up when at school. All fine and dandy. Students all have the same kinds of notebooks and there is no envy. (Of course there are always parents that insist on purchasing cheaper notebooks elsewhere, but it’s not a major issue.) This year, I’ve ordered exactly 222 LE (about $31) worth of notebooks for each student.
Over the course of the week I’ve met several parents who are concerned about not having purchased notebooks yet, and I assure them that this is normal, and the real work of notebooks won’t begin until the next week. No big deal.
Midday on Tuesday my students are all gathered in the hallway trying to get themselves ready for Arabic class. As I’m herding cats, er… children, into line one of my students, Sh, looks up at me and asks, “Miss where are my notebooks?”
Ah, it’s nice to be back in Cairo. The longer I was away, the harder it was to come back. I had a great summer (England, Glastonbury Festival, Buffalo, Seattle) and I didn’t want it to end. Now that I’m back in Egypt I remember all the things I love about it here. The people, the culture, the sense of adventure…
That’s not to say that Egypt isn’t without its trials. In fact, I encountered a trial just yesterday:
In my humble few years of overseas living I have noticed a trend in the types of people who end up living and teaching abroad. Some people are totally gung-ho about moving overseas and embrace life to the fullest. Others have one or two hang-ups that make working with them a little difficult. Here’s my list, in no particular order:
Ten Eleven Twelve Types of Teachers Living Abroad:
1. The Party Animal
Usually a younger teacher, this creature of habit shows up to Monday morning classes hungover and full of stories about last night. The Party Animal doesn’t usually last more than a year as complaints from parents roll in when they catch on that Mr./Ms. Animal is more interested in what happens after the school day is over.
Positives: Always knows the coolest places to hang out.
Negatives: Can’t rely on them for any support or help during school hours.
2. The Newbie
“I’ve never done this before,” is the phrase you will hear most often when hanging out with the Newbie. They’ve never lived away from Mom and Dad, left their home country, eaten exotic foods, or ridden in a taxi alone.
Positives: If the Newbie is adventurous, you can get into all sorts of fun trouble with them.
Negatives: Teaching a Newbie the basics of living alone overseas can be exhausting.
The first day of school is always nerve-wracking, but it never really occurred to me that teachers might be feeling some anxiety as well. Now I know the truth: teachers are just as nervous (if not more) than the students!
Before and After:
Schools in Egypt were scheduled to start on Sunday September 1st of this year, but the curfew has wreaked havoc with daily life in Egypt. The start date was eventually pushed back to Saturday September 14th, and we all prayed that school would start. The extra time to plan, decorate, and panic was much-appreciated, but two weeks of sitting around in a school without students gets old fast.
Because we lost two weeks we need to catch up in any way we can, and one way was to start a day early and have a six-day work week. Not everything was working perfectly, though. Curfew may have been extended to midnight, but it didn’t end until 6 am. 6 am, though early, is not early enough for all students and staff to be at school by 7:45 am. So, to compensate for the first week we started late and cut a few minutes out of each period daily. This caused no end of confusion in hallways as some classes are showing up early while others are late. But we muddled through.
The administration realized that the curfew may never be lifted so a new plan was implemented: keep the old schedule, just push everything back an hour. More confusion, and drama as kids are kept until 3:30 pm.
Finally, the curfew was pushed to 5 am, allowing kids and staff to get to school by 7:45. A day of sleepy faces and we were all right on track. Just in time for After-School activities to start. These are mandatory and mean that everyone stays at school until 4. Joy.
I teach 5th grade, which has a total enrollment of 9 students. That’s right, NINE kids in the whole of the 5th grade. It’s awesome. In less than a day I’d memorized my students names and gotten to know their personalities. They get a lot of individualized attention, and grading nine papers is no big deal. My students are a bit of a challenge, being at an awkward age, but we’ll learn together. I’ve also heard some stories about their antics last year and they’ll definitely keep me on my toes.
On Mondays I teach drama to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. They have so much energy! Thankfully I have an ‘assistant’ in the form of a reluctant middle school teacher: Mr. Luke. Mr. Luke’s activity (debate club) was canceled and his choices of activities to join were: drama, girl’s soccer, or preschool water fun. So drama it is, with my group of 6 students, all under the age of 8.
On Wednesdays I wanted to do drama for older students, but not enough kids signed up. So, I’ll be doing the yearbook, instead. Hopefully that will go well.