Life in the Middle East: Part 1

As most of you probably know, I’ve been back in the US for over a month now, but I’m planning to go back to the Middle East in just a couple of weeks. I’m really looking forward to going back! I love being home and spending time with friends and family, but seeing my friends again over there will be great, plus I’ll be able to get back into a routine.

I realized I never wrote a post about what my life was like when I was there. That is partly because my computer broke while I was there, so I was without my laptop most of the time. Hopefully I’ll be able to give more updates when I go back.

This is going to be a two-part post. This part will be about the school and job itself and what my days at work looked like. The second part will be about the country, culture, and religion.

So far, I’ve really enjoyed working at my school. It’s a private school, which means the kids that go there have parents who are wealthy. The school uses the British curriculum (which means I don’t always know what they’re talking about when they talk about exams and other things), so the school is separated into 3 sections: Kindergarten, Primary, and Secondary.

The Kindergarten (KG) section includes a nursery, KG1, KG2, and Grade 1. KG1 and KG2 are two separate grades, and I also find it odd that Grade 1 is part of the Kindergarten section. I mostly work in the Kindergarten section, so I was with each class. I was told I could do anything I wanted with them, so each week I’d choose a theme and find materials for the lessons. Kindergartners are finished with school at noon, so then I’d move to the Primary section.

The Primary section consists of grades 2-6. I would teach 2 classes in the afternoon from 12:30-2. I did a lot of reading comprehension and writing with those classes. All of the other subjects (math, science, PE, etc.) are also taught in English, so pretty much everyone in the school can speak English.

The Secondary section is grades 7-12. I don’t know much about this section because I’m never there. I’m sure it’s lovely.

My day begins at 7:30 am, in Kindergarten where they have their assembly. The assembly is usually with the music teacher, and he plays songs that we sing and dance to. I believe, though I’m not positive, that they recite the Quran after singing, then sing the national song (I’m not quite sure what they’re reciting and singing since it’s all in Arabic). After that, the classes begin, and I travel to each classroom, instead of having my own. As of now, it will be a little different this year than it was last year, and the library will serve as my classroom. I’ll also be doing a lot of small group activities with each class, so I’ve been preparing things all summer. There’s not a whole lot of resources you can find over there, so I’ve been buying and making things here to bring back with me, and I’ve been able to find a lot more things than I thought I would.

Another thing I started at the end of the year was teaching an adult English class. Most of the staff at the school can speak English, but many of them want to improve their grammar. There’s even a few people who are beginners but work at the school as Arabic teachers or support staff, but they want to learn English. I’m really hoping to continue this class when I come back.

The school doesn’t have sports teams, but the students really like playing soccer, so we do have a soccer field. We also have a library, a theater, and a gym.

Soon I’ll post part 2 of this post, where I’ll talk more about the country and what I’ve observed.

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