Monday, September 12, 2011


Since it was been such a long time since my last entry I was unsure how to effectively portray my experiences thus far in Abu Dhabi.  As I was driving home listening to the underappreciated music of Hanson I was overcome by gratitude and decided that focusing on that would be an accurate portrayal of my experiences.
              I was in the Fairmont from the time I arrived until a week ago.  My time there had to unfortunately come to an end.  The hospitality I have received since arriving in the UAE has been remarkable.  My days in the Fairmont usually followed the same luxurious schedule.  I would wake up go to the breakfast buffet, shop a little for my new apartment, come back to a clean room, take an afternoon nap, go to the pool for drinks and lunch and socialize in the evenings.  I did do a few days of training mixed in there. 

I will miss the Fairmont

                The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), a sector of the Abu Dhabi government,  has provided us with exceptional accommodations and respect.  It was made apparent to be how much they treasure education and their teachers.  Since arrive I have felt as though my career as a teacher matters and my role here is extremely important.  It makes me feel great to be appreciated and respected as a teacher in the UAE. 

My New Home!
I had to move out of the Fairmont because my apartment was ready and I had purchased the majority of the furniture I needed to survive.  I moved into my apartment and have been trying to settle in.  Starting from scratch in a brand new home is pretty hard but the place is coming together.  I have been able to purchase nice pieces of furniture, appliances and electronics for my apartment due to the generosity of my employer.   It was enjoyable to be able to purchase a decent couch, TV and mattress and not have to worry about how I am going to pay for them or if I should charge them to my credit card.  I even had enough money left over to buy more things!  I am extremely fortunate to be able to take part in this experience and to be fully aware of the experience.  The apartment I live in is exceptional and something I could NEVER afford on my own back home.  I am very lucky to be able to have an exquisite apartment to make my home here.  My sister, niece, nephew and brother in law came in town for a week to visit and help me get moved in.  It was a much needed visit for both of us and I am so glad I got to see them.  It is reassuring to know that they are a car ride away from me here.

  I started back to work last week but will not have students until this Sunday.  My work week is Sunday thru Thursday here.  I will be teaching KG1 (PreK) which should be interesting.  I am excited for the challenge.  My school is brand new with a smart board, document camera, projector, computer, slate and response clickers in every classroom.  I am lucky to be at a school with all of these resources. All of the schools in Abu Dhabi will eventually become state of the art schools but it is a process.  All of the resources I need will be provided and the school is beautiful.  I have a principal who is from Georgia and is very passionate about her job.  My Arabic co-teacher is exceptional and speaks perfect English.  I am excited to work with her and learning to let go of all the control of a classroom and share my classroom with another teacher.  I am somewhat controlling so this is a much needed experience for me.  It is very beneficial for me to have to rely on someone else to help me communicate with my students.  I am learning how to be less independent here and allowing myself to rely on others for more things in my life.  The school has a nursery for teachers who have children under three years old to stay during the day.  What a concept! Not punishing a teacher for having children! J  My classroom will have no more than 20 students in it.  My day starts at 7:50am and ends at 2:00pm.  I am given an hour and a half to plan.  I will not have to bring the majority of my work home with me because I am provided ample time to get most of it done at work! 

One of the three pod areas

The value that Abu Dhabi has placed on education and their teachers is admirable.  I am part of developing and opening a brand new school which is exciting in its self.  I am able to be a part of developing the procedures, mission statement, the vision, values, school colors, etc.  My opinions are taken into account and are valued.  I admire the determination Abu Dhabi has in inventing in their education system and the understanding they have that education should be the foundation of a country.  During an assembly we had I was listening to the head of the council speak and he discussed a study that looked at teachers feeling appreciated.  The study stated that when teachers feel appreciated they perform at a higher level as opposed to being unappreciated and not performing at their potential.  ADEC has made it a priority to make sure the teachers they hire feel appreciated.  My attitude towards beginning this school year is extremely positive.  I want to go to work and do my best because of the hospitality and gratitude the education council has shown towards me.  I am determined to make a difference here.
  I am looking forward to working in a multilingual school with many different cultures being represented.  I am ecstatic about working in a school where my ideas are important and are encouraged.  Back home I was always trying to do something else and be something else with regards to my career and I never understood why I wasn’t content where I was.  After being here, I have realized that I need to be in a career or a place where my career is respected and treasured.  I need some validation from others; not a lot.  I am an intrinsically motivated person but it is nice to feel appreciated every once and awhile.  Occasionally, you want people to validate your competency and the prestige of your career.  I have told myself that when I move back to the states I will not be able to teach in the public school system.  Teachers work too hard, put too much emotion into their jobs to not be appreciated at a higher level.  Teachers should feel as though their career path is a prestigious career and one that is respected by the rest of a society.  I want to love my job and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will love my job here.  I think I am off to a good start but I haven’t had any children in my room so we will see how I feel in a week.
 Not all my days are amazing there are bad days where I question my decision but there are more days where I am confident in my decision.  I am proud of myself for having enough courage to take on an opportunity like this. I do miss my friends and family a lot! I am building a support system here and am thankful to have met some beautiful people here.  I am excited to discover more about who I am and my potential as an educator.  I have learnt my lesson and will not wait so long to blog next time because this one took way too long! I am growing already! 

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