May 18, 2015

Silver Linings

Long, long ago...Ok, five months ago, I used to search the internet high and low for blogs, Facebook pages, and anything else that would give me the experience of those who took up the expat life and moved overseas, specially to the U.A.E. I would find a few gems but they always seemed to end abruptly. I would wonder, what is keeping these bloggers from writing, from an occasional post or update? I know now. Life here in the U.A.E. just gets hectic and really exhausting when you are teaching or trying to help run a school. Your downtime is monopolized by naps, sitting in silence, or sometimes wine. A lot of times, wine.

Since returning from our Thailand trip, it seems the last month has been a complete blur. One of my counterparts went on maternity so my work load increased, which I have been thankful for. It really aided in me seeing the big picture at my school. My job here is not like my job was back home. Here my actual purpose varies from day to day. I do not have the in-stone job description like I did back in my former position. While the flexibility in this is anticipated, it can also be hard to adapt to day to day since things change here day to day, literally. In my case hour by hour or minute-to-minute. My days are spent finding teachers to cover other teachers classes that did not come into work for whatever reason. Then the next few hours are consumed begging those teachers to puuu-lease go to cover that class since many refuse. It irks me to no end but I get it somedays. It is the same problem as back home; many people come to work day to day no matter what and they are left to pick up the slack that is left by those who may not attend work regularly for whatever reason. Yes, we have legitimate employees who have very valid reasons to be absent, but then we have some that I raise my eyebrow at and then move along, covering their classes anyway. I have never understand people that just tell their supervisors no or what they will and won't do. I have had that conversation several times and it always gets me the 'Lady, you are crazy' look. That conversation starts with, 'First, you are going to stop telling me what you will and won't do'.  If it is in your job description (such as teaching your assigned classes), then lets save the conversation and get it done. At the beginning and end of each day, I feel for the students. This gives zero consistency to teaching, or zero teaching really. My bottom line is teachers attendance directly impacts students achievement. A new concept? Nope. I am also trying to lead and guide some in my building on how to look at the big picture, a foreign notion, when making decisions that impact multiple facets of the school. It is slow moving but I get my glimmers every now and again. I can see that there is some impact from my work and my constant drilling of this but it is taking time, some very sweet time. Enter the girl with no patience whatsoever and you have a hell of a learning experience.

I will say that the vast majority of my teachers have extended open doors and welcome me into their classrooms, ask for my assistance and ideas, and are extremely receptive to my feedback, suggestions and even constructive criticism. I absolutely love being in their classrooms. I guess I really will always be a teacher at heart.

So while I am slap worn out, tired, and mentally exhausted (not from strenuous activity), I am pressing on here in the Middle East looking for my silver linings where ever I can find them. I am thankful to have made a great snarky pal here so we exchange out of your experiences daily via the trusty Whatsapp because honestly, no one back home would believe some of these things. I tell ya that my book one day will be fantastic. Maybe I will begin writing it soon, inshallah.