You are seated on your comfortable couch with the shades drawn and the only noise to be heard is the soft hum of the air conditioner. Stacks of paper are towering on the desk nearby with marks on every sheet. A smile comes across your face, and you breathe a sigh of contentment. It’s the end of your first semester and you have accomplished many things with your students. For some teachers this might have seemed impossible but you did it. You completed your first semester of teaching abroad and the feeling is surreal.
I am beyond words when it comes to describing the feeling that came over me at the end of the first semester. I still have a journey ahead, but as I reflect on the progress some of my students made, the feeling is remarkable.
I have embraced the culture here. I had the opportunity to take my daughter to work with me during the National Day Celebrations. She loved it. National Day was celebrated on December 2nd and commemorates the federal unification of the seven emirates. The seven emirates include; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Kamiah, Ajman and Umm- al Quwain. In 1971 the seven emirates joined to form the United Arab Emirates, and was headed by HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE. Celebrations were held all over the country. The roads, houses and buildings were decorated. The décor was immaculate, elaborate and beautiful. Pictures do not do it justice…you would need to see it for yourself.
The second term is here, and I am evaluating the changes I would like to make in order to ensure I have an organised and steady flow. For instance, this term, I have decided to keep a handwritten grade book, as well as an electronic one. This helps to transition grades better towards the end of the semester for grade reporting. Also, I plan to integrate weekly award systems for my students to earn certificates for their grades, conduct, and utilising proper social skills with their peers. I want to promote intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
The new year has begun and I am excited for the opportunities that are ahead!