Friday 29th September 2006
I’m so, soooo sorry I haven’t written for ages, I have been so unbelievably busy since getting back to Kuwait that I have barely had time to even read my emails, let alone write any!
As usual the school is a complete mess, we’re four weeks into term and still haven’t got a proper timetable for classes, a number of staff either didn’t show up or came back, collected their summer pay and then disappeared, so we’ve been very short staffed as well.
I’ve discovered that teaching Year 2 is very different to Year 3, as I taught Year 3 at the end of the year, when most of them were 8, whereas at the start of Year 2 they are mostly 6, which is way harder!! Six-year olds need to have EVERY minute of the day planned and busy, or else total mayhem breaks out!
So most of my free lessons, break times and evenings are spent planning and preparing for the weeks’ activities, and attempting to anticipate problems (I had a full lesson planned and prepared, got all the kids colouring and cutting out worksheets to glue into their books after a detailed explanation of scissor safety, and suddenly found myself with two children who had no idea how to use scissors. One boy was trying to hold the paper still in his teeth while using both hands to hold the scissors!)
So, even after my careful preparation, things still inevitably seem to go wrong and leave me unsure of what to do next!
Being back at school is much like fresher’s week at uni, in that everyone gets every bug the children bring back from their holidays, and they spread like wildfire. Most of the staff (including myself) have already had a stomach bug not dissimilar to amoebic dysentery, followed immediately by a cold (I’m convinced I caught mine off a student who insists on coughing directly into my face at least once a day before I have a chance to tell him to cover his mouth!!).
Illness aside, tensions at school are mounting, as Madame (our school director) decided to have an enormous rant at the Primary department during our Saturday staff meeting, telling us all that we’re not doing our jobs, and are too lazy etc. She then decided we needed to have staff meetings every afternoon on top of our morning meetings three times a week, we are to do compulsory tutoring three times a week after school as well as our usual after-school club, and took away two of our free periods as well. So, now there’s even less time for planning and marking etc, which is why I’ve taken so long to write I’m afraid!
One little boy in my class gave me quite a scare the other day too. His name is Mohammed (I have 4 Mohammed’s in my class this year!), and he’s quite a boisterous little cheeky chap, although he’s physically very small. He was hit by a car earlier in the week, thankfully not badly injured, although he’s so small and the cars here are so enormous that he would only come up to the wheel rim on most of them. He only cut his hand and had some scrapes, and I can totally picture him running into the road to get his ball without looking.
Anyway, he came back to school, and had gone to the bathroom. He was gone for ages, but then we were in the middle of a times tables test, so I wasn’t surprised he was trying to avoid it. As he was coming back from the loo, the fire alarm went off, so he hurried back and we all trooped outside. In the car park, he was showing off something to the other boys, and when I asked to see it he hid it from me. So I reached into his pocket and guess what I found? A cigarette lighter.
So then I’m thinking hang on, he was in the bathroom for ages, he had a lighter, he’s six, the school uses lots of paper towels in the bathroom, then the fire alarm went off….OH MY GOD HE’S SET THE SCHOOL ON FIRE!!!!!
I freaked out completely, and rushed off to find Debbie (our head of Primary) to tell her. Debbie was very calm about it all, and didn’t seem bothered at all. I explained patiently that I thought Mohammed had set fire to something in the bathroom, and she looked at me and said “Maya, didn’t anyone tell you we were having a fire drill today?”
Turns out everyone except me had known about it, and it was all just a very bizarre coincidence!!
Anyhoo, I’m also taking Arabic lessons in the evenings three times a week at a Berlitz center we found here that is really good, and I already know 14 letters of the alphabet, which I am well chuffed about!!
I’d better leave it there, but I hope you are all well and happy, and looking after yourselves,
Lots of love
Busy bee Maya