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The UAE staffroom may appear to be more casual than what you are accustomed to. However, it is still imperative that you practise good manners and be ever so careful to dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s.  Here are a few dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind.

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Greet everyone you meet on campus.

This is simply good manners and a sign of acknowledgment and respect. It also helps to smile while greeting as this helps to lighten the mood. Be sure to also enquire about your colleagues’ families, especially if you know that they have children. Greetings matter because people matter and everyone is important.

Follow the procedures that are in place.

They are there for a reason. If there is something for which you need clarification, follow the chain of protocol to attain this. Try not to rely too much on the experiences of others, because each person’s personality, experience and perspective are different.

Be flexible.

This is important especially in instances where a substitute is needed and in emergency situations. Unscheduled changes are a part of daily working life in the UAE staffroom. If or when possible assist other teachers when they are in need. Remember, there will be situations in which you will also need a helping hand.

Be a team player.

Share resources and ideas, especially with educators who are at the same grade level. You might be surprised at all the new things you will learn once you begin to share more.

Offer to share your goodies with other educators/colleagues who are present.

This builds camaraderie and will lead to good opportunities for you. You will also be the recipient of some goodies at some point in time too!

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Avoid gossiping at all cost. Friendly work banter and gossip are two different things. The former usually focuses on ideas, strategies and productive issues. The latter is usually people-centric and tends to put negatives in the spotlight in an unflattering way.

Be insensitive about differing cultural practices.

We are working in an international setting, therefore diversity will abound. Ignorance is not a good excuse for being critical about different ideas or practices. Try to learn about your colleagues’ culture(s) so as to not offend them with words or actions. Collegiality and professionalism exists where there is respect for diversity.

Tamper with others’ property.

If you want/need something that belongs to a colleague, ask his/her permission to use it.

Overcrowd the space with too many things.

Showing respect for other people’s personal space lets them know that you desire the same for yours.

Disturb those around you while using technology.

Keep your telephone conversations private. Lower your voice or find some place private to talk. Ensure that headphones are used if you decide to listen to music.

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For additional Class Time articles, check out Issue One of the magazine.