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Where in the World is The Indignant Teacher???

October 28, 2013

I am in Dubai…in the middle of the Middle East – United Arab Emirates, to be exact. Communication with the western world has been difficult, at best, and this is not in any way helping the homesickness!! Thankfully, my husband has decided to extend his “vacation” here, which has made a world of difference..Not quite sure where to begin this post…

 
Life here over the other side of the world is much more difficult than I’d anticipated; I’ll say that much. Part of the problem has to do with my struggles to communicate with my family and friends…I feel totally disconnected. I am not able to obtain any internet/phone service until my work visa has been processed, and, while the shutdown is finally over, it has impacted my ability to obtain the visa.
 
I was hired as the SEN (special educational needs) coordinator at Dar Al Marefa private school in Mirdif, Dubai, but have yet to fill that position. When we arrived, I was told that they fired a first grade teacher and was asked to fill in until they hired a replacement. Of course I had no choice but to say yes, so I have been teaching in that capacity since arriving. Having 6 and 7 year old sons myself, teaching (and living) the world of a first grader is not ideal, but, hey, what choice do I have, really?
 
Okay, so before I get into it, I’ll ask that any of you who feel the need to criticize my writing of this post just shut the hell up. I’m overwhelmed, stressed, and, as I said, homesick. I miss my parents terribly, as well as my sister and brother. Yes, I am now 40 years old, but moving to a place like this makes a person miss their loved ones more than words can say! So unless you’ve been there yourself, do me a favor and save it.
 
Anyway…onto life at school…
 
Interestingly enough, the big focus here is making sure we are internationally competitive. Apparently it’s like this all over the world, and I am starting to wonder why. The problems here are so similar to those in America…how can we compete with other countries and so forth – it’s ridiculous to me! I have an idea…how about we just LET THE TEACHERS TEACH??? Even here, we are putting SO much pressure on the kids to become internationally excellent that we’re missing the big picture of actually TEACHING!!
 
Last week, we had a training on a new program that we will soon be using for math (or ‘maths’, as they call it here). The program is called ilearnmath.com, and the training was offered over the internet by a woman in Ireland. One of the teachers asked about the standards the program was correlated with…assuming it was international ones. When the Irish woman responded with, “No, it’s based on the Common Core from America”, I nearly vomited. Evidently, there is no escaping Bill Gates and his oligarchy (tyranny?)…even on the other side of the world!!
 
The resources we have at my school, though, are utterly AMAZING!!! The technology…phenomenal! My own boys absolutely LOVE school, and so when I get bummed out and think about booking the tickets home to America, I think about them, and the opportunities they have here, They are learning Arabic as a Second Language, and come home every day telling me what they have learned. Each one of them has said they wish they were at school on our “off” time, and that is not something I’ve ever heard from any one of them in Boston.
 
Keeping this short for now; hopefully I’ll be able to steal someone’s wireless long enough to post this!! I miss America; I miss Maah and Bop, Kiki, and Bud…and I miss my alter-ego, The Indignant Teacher!!!
 
Bostonians – Please remember to vote next Tuesday…John Connolly, I wish you the best of luck, but DO RIGHT for education!!! PLEASE turn to Diane Ravitch for policy advice…
 
Anyway, sorry for being all over the place with this one!!! I just felt the need to touch base, but will certainly write more when I am able. Go Red Sox!!! I wish I could watch a game 🙂 TTFN!! 
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8 Comments
  1. Bumping Heads permalink

    So happy the boys are kicking school. I called # 611 ~~ and AT&T set my IPhone to talk long distance. 28 cents a minute. You should set up your phone too. Oops you do need WiFi.
    We miss you all terribly & I’m thinking of Cancelling Turkey a Day. Find out your Address. We found Kieran’s $62.00. All Woo-Woos scratching came from being allergic to fleas. So even 2 fleas will make him chew his tail off.
    Be brave & strong….keep plodding through the minutia, and when you feel lonely, remember we love you more because you’re so far away.
    Keep writing, Indignant Teacher! Make changes so that you and I can go back teaching with ideas, challenges and making sure our kids love their environment. All our love, Mom, Dad & the family!
    Namaste

  2. Gerri permalink

    Jill, I am sure you are finding comfort with the boys being so happy with school. Glad to hear that!! Give them a high five from me on the Arabic…that is pretty impressive! hope you get to transition into the position you want but in the meantime I at least hope you can enjoy your experiences.
    Lots of luck and keep posting when you can!
    Gerri

  3. Jill,
    Sorry you are so homesick! Hope to see you over the holidays or whenever you return for a visit!! Much love and well wishes from an indignant parent… who is definitely NOT voting for Connolly!

  4. Amika Kemmler-Ernst permalink

    I have taught in other parts of the world (Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, and Italy) and totally understand the feeling of being cut off from loved ones. Hopefully you will connect with people in Dubai… colleagues, of course, but I also recommend you also check out the university for “kindred spirits” essential to maintaining your sense of yourself in an alien culture. Re: mayoral race, neither knows much about education but I think Marty Walsh is the better candidate… excellent progressive credentials, support from leaders in our “minority” communities, and says he will work with teachers and our union. Enuff! Glad your children are enjoying their school days and I hope you will, too! Amika 🙂

  5. Nicole permalink

    Hahah so glad to hear you all are doing well and that the boys are thriving. We call math maths too at the British School! How are you liking the IB programme?

  6. I’m curious to learn more about your experiences in Dubai. I am a special ed. teacher in Indiana, but my boyfriend’s parents live in Dubai (due to their jobs). They want me to teach there, but I’m not sure what to expect. I’m going for my first visit in 34 days!

  7. Hey welcome to the Middle East. I’m in Kuwait, teaching first grade, and we have a lot to talk about. I’m in Dubai quite often, and am familiar with Oman as well because I taught university there. Please contact me if I may ever be of any use to you here; we all support each other.

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