Posts Tagged With: teaching


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.

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Categories: Egypt, Teaching | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

The Affair of the Notebooks

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?”

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Categories: Egypt, Teaching | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The 10 Types of Teachers Living Abroad

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:

The 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.


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Categories: Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The 10 Types of Expat You Meet In Cairo – Via Scoop Empire

The 10 Types of Expats You Meet in Cairo

Cairo, for a city of roughly 20 million inhabitants, can sometimes feel like a small town with its overlapping social circles and limited circuit of gatherings and venues. Coupled with a dwindling population of foreigners – and by now, only the crazies are left –  this small-town feel makes Cairo’s expat community seem downright incestuous.

Flatmates, colleagues, neighbors, classmates, friends of friends – visualize all these “mutual friends” connections mapped out and you’ll notice a pattern emerge with clusters of expats categorized by occupation and bridged by location: English teachers commuting from Maadi, journalists living in downtown, embassy wives mingling in Zamalek.

And did we mention that only the crazies are left? After last year’s spate of goodbye get-togethers and farewell festivities, it seems that only the most tenacious – or most unbalanced – foreigners have decided to stay.

Following careful research (and by “research” we mean house parties and baladi bar crawls), we’ve compiled a list of the ten most common types of expats you’ll meet in Egypt’s capital.

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aswan-Luxor School Trip – Part 1

In mid-November the middle school Arabic teacher, Mr. A, came to me and invited me to go on a Nile Cruise from Aswan to Luxor in Southern Egypt.


I was sorely tempted, but I would be taking the same trip with my mother less than a week later, so I declined. Later, I found out that it wasn’t just a trip for teachers; it was a school-sponsored trip and Mr. A needed a few more teachers to chaperone the 16 middle and high school students going. Again, I declined. I’m doing the same trip a week later, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hang around with a bunch of middle and high school students for four days. So, how is it that I found myself packed and ready to leave for the airport at 2 AM on December 22? I’m not really sure, but I’m glad I went.

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Categories: Egypt, Life Abroad | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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