Friday, January 18, 2013

Religion in a Muslim Country

It is common for some of my students to pray in the back of the class in the early afternoon.  They do so quietly, but devoutly, and the attention they pay to their faith is inspiring. This week, one of my students asked me what religion I was, and another answered, "Christian." I just smiled. We aren't supposed to talk about any religion outside of Islam in school.

Later this week, I was walking my students to the computer lab and we passed another classroom. My students made me stop so we could look in. The classroom had paper snowflakes taped to the window (odd in the desert), fake snow sprinkled on each desk with a small treat, and a fully decorated Christmas tree with gifts placed under it in the corner of the room.

"It is Christmas, Miss."

I looked into the classroom in shock. They translated from the class' Arabic teacher. They were studying major holidays in other cultures and religions and their relation to Islam. I really wanted to sit in on that lesson....

Meanwhile, as a family, we have found a church that reminds us of home and have been attending weekly. It is the same church that Belle and I went to last year that was closed by the town... Instead of meeting in a church, it now meets at a golf club at the other end of town. It is a nice way to begin our weekends, and fulfilling to my spirit to be part of a faith community.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Where's the snooze button?

I'm now teaching grade 12. It is a different pressure due to my students' exams mattering more than their ECART and the number of exams increasing. Luckily, I work with an awesome grade level team and they did a lot of this term's planning while I was being a full time mom.

It is weird to come into a class mid year because you feel a bit like a sub and it is a harder time to build rapport with your classes. I think it is because they've already established class norms and now I'm tasked with changing them to fit my expectations on how the class should function or adapting my management style to align with their expectations. Add to this the stress of formal observations and you'll understand why I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment. And I'm sure it has nothing to do with leaving my baby all day either....

Zofia & Rob are working on developing new routines, and Belle is working hard on her homeschool curriculum. We are all adjusting to an alarm clock and this weekend went very fast.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Back to school

Tomorrow, I go back to work. It has been a nice extended maternity leave (it ran into the December vacation), but I still haven't finished Zofia's paperwork. The process changed at the end of November, and required an extra step. By the time I received the now required approval to apply for her visa, her required medical card had expired. So, now I must wait to receive her new card with our new insurer to finish the process. Craziness, but typical.
 I had a lovely lunch with one of my favorite co-workers, who eased my mind about all the back to school planning I really didn't do. I've been so busy spending time getting used to being a family of four and celebrating holidays - and trying to catch up on sleep....  I work with a great team, and thanks to their efforts, I should be back in the groove fairly quickly, albeit while getting to know my new students. I don't know my schedule yet, but I'm happy that I will be on nursing hours so I can spend more time with the baby.
Right now, I'm going to go back to cuddling her because tomorrow at this time, I'm probably going to be with a room full of students, missing her.