Monday, January 14, 2013
From my UAE Journal: December 9, 2012
December 9, 2012
Tara (the other English teacher) and I had grade ten and eleven exams today for our girls. I was mortified by the ones I graded. But what could anyone expect when the principal has allowed the girls to be pulled out of class the past two weeks to prepare for National Day preparations, 8th and 9th periods were consistently canceled because the teachers and students don't want to stay that late, and the principal canceled school periodically so she could throw luncheons? Plus the high school girls are so far below the expectations of ADEC, and it's not the fault of my students. I am the first Western teacher my tenth graders have ever had. My students don't use prepositions, do not use articles ("the", "a", "an"..), do not use pronouns, and use verbs in the wrong tense every time. And ADEC gives my students a written essay as a test of their English usage abilities? They would have been better served, and given a clearer overview of students' abilities, by testing English vocabulary ONLY. My students can't write an essay, for God's sake.
And today the principal wanted Tara to find out what the 12th grade exam prompt is going to be for tomorrow's test, and then wanted Tara to coach the students on how to write an essay geared towards the prompt. In the states this would be called "cheating" and that principal would never work another day in her life in the education field. Here? "No problem, Miss".
There is no accountability. No sense of responsibility. No planning. I have bitched and complained about that very issue in dealing with the internet company, bank, and ADEC since I arrived. Now I see that it is endemic to the culture. As long as that mentality exists the Western education pedagogies will never take hold. The Western education system (in theory at least) is built upon accountability, planning, professionalism, best practices. These aspects are totally outside the range of the Emiratis who are in charge of implementing education policies for ADEC.
Five days until I board the plane for home and I am getting anxious. Anxious that something doesn't happen to dad in the next few days. Anxious to see my husband. Anxious to get the hell out of the Middle East. What a ride it has been, but I'm getting off the Merry-Go-Round. Good money or not, it's not worth what all I have had to sacrifice. Blessings and good thoughts to the teachers who are staying. They have balls of gold. Mine are only aluminum. But each case is vastly different depending upon which school you are placed in, which city/region you are placed in, what grade you teach, whether you are accompanied by family or not, and what is going on within the family that you left behind. So many factors. Seven thousand miles is just too far for me to take a chance of not being there with my dad when he dies. If I received a phone call and he passed away before I could get home, I'd never forgive myself.
I'm going to be one broke ass former teacher for awhile., But, it'll all work out somehow. I could always start a defensive driving school for Americans moving to the Middle East.
Posted by Liti