I haven't written much about my school yet! I don't want to publicly publish the name of my school, but I'll just say it's an International American School here in Dubai. It might not be that hard to figure out what school I'm teaching at, but that's okay!
I just finished my fourth full day of orientation. It's going really well, although they are throwing a lot of information at us very quickly. I could honestly write multiple blog posts based on what we have covered in the past four days, but I'll try to keep it more brief! I want this blog to be educationally based while also keeping family and friends updated back home.
We went on a school tour on our first day of orientation and all I can say is "WOW!" The facilities of this school are stunning. I'll have to post pictures at later date! My office and classrooms are in a brand-new building - it isn't quite ready yet, but I'm very excited to be in there. I also can't believe how many employees this school has - for example, there are 72 teachers in the Secondary school, which has about 560 students. There are also numerous other staff employed by the school, including bus drivers, security guards, finance and accounts men, an attendance officer, an admissions officer, ladies who sell the school uniform, 6 full-time IT gentlemen, 3 nurses and a full-time doctor, and many, many others. I think the school must have somewhere around 500 employees in total. There are still tons of workers around the school getting the last minute preparation and repairs done before school starts in just over a week.
Besides the sheer number of staff that appear to work at this school, I am incredibly surprised with how nice and supportive everyone is. We have met numerous staff members and leaders who seem to be more than willing to go above and beyond their duties to help the new teachers. The administration team is amazing, and I love how I can definitely see that both my principal and assistant principal were master teachers before they became administrators.
There is also quite a developed hierarchy in the school. For example, each department in Secondary has a Department Head, or a Curriculum Leader. There are also numerous co-ordinators for various programs throughout the school. I am reassured to know that there are several systems in place for me to get help when I need it, which I definitely will! I am really looking forward to my Curriculum Leader getting here next week. I can't wait to talk to her in person, and start to delve in to the music curriculum and begin planning for the upcoming year! My co-teacher will also arrive next week, and I'm looking forward to meeting him. We skyped during my interview for this position and have communicated through emails since then, but I'm looking forward to meeting and talking with him in person!
Overall, my first impressions of the school are that while it's very fancy, there is definitely a lot of substance to back up the potential facade. The school is very passionate about curriculum, assessment, etc. I'll post more in the future about these specific topics, but I'm now off to yet another mall to try and buy a SIM card for my phone for the umpteenth time! Wish me luck! :)