August 27, 2013 sorry, these aren’t very interesting titles

Missed the 6:30 bus today and I almost cried. That says I’m beginning to feel run down. Then I went to find wifi and read a few emails. Caught the 7:00 bus and was there in plenty of time. 

As with most schools and every school year, there are lots of meetings. I have not had time to prepare my classroom, but it is not finished. Construction was done and there is still carpet to be put in and furniture to be distributed. I just have to trust and believe them when they tell me it will be done. I have a little office off of my room and it has a refrigerator, so I hope to get it working tomorrow.  Though tomorrow is another day of meetings.

Today, all the new hires had to go to a small office to get blood drawn (they type us and keep a record of it).  Tomorrow we will all be fingerprinted and then on Thursday we all get to spend most of the day having all the tests we paid lots of money to have done in the states done all over again. Oh boy! Since there are about 40 of us, this takes inordinate amounts of time (and they seem to enjoy making us wait). Thursday evening is a pool party and social.  A couple of boys of one of the teachers grind peanut butter by hand, so I bought some and will have to pay them at the party.  

This afternoon I went with 2 other teachers by taxi to a big mall that has a large grocery store. I spent KD20, which is about $100. I tried to use my credit card, but it was denied so I’ll have to contact them again about my being over here. There are still a few things I need to buy, but mostly I’m pretty well set. There are lots of unusual things in the stores here, particularly fruits and veggies (I still don’t know what some of them are). Of course, pork is unavailable, but lamb is everywhere.

Photography is forbidden in many places including the grocery store and the beach. I snapped a photo of the gulf from the Hilton, but they don’t want you to take pictures of the Muslims in their clothes or swimming costumes. I don’t know how to spell the names of all the clothes, but I am learning many of them. We seem them all the time and some of them work for the school to teach religion and Arabic.  It will take me awhile to remember all the names as they are so different to me.

I talked today with the principal and the literacy coach about my role here. They confirmed and have changed my title to Reader’s Theater teacher.  They are dedicated to making this a success and I am too. I can incorporate some movement and voice as warm-ups and I get to do read alouds (YAY!!!) and then have them act it out (for the younger grades) and the older ones will do the warm-ups, may still have a read aloud and then do some reading themselves from scripts. Apparently the population of the school is about 90-95% Arab, but the children were born in a different country and have that passport. So, on paper it is quite diverse and in reality it is largely Arab. That means English is a 2nd (at least) language and it is forbidden to speak it at school except in Arabic class!