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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Giant Update!

First of all, I'm so sorry for not updating this blog more frequently! Can I use the excuse that I am a brand-new teacher and moved across the world recently? Yeah? Okay, thanks :)

All kidding aside, there have been so many moments where I have thought to myself, "this would be a great blog post!" I've shared snapshots of these moments on twitter (@emmaindubai). Here are some of these moments, in a super summarized form:

- I made it through my first 10-day school cycle (isn't a 10-day cycle the strangest concept?)!

- I had my one month anniversary on Sept. 15 - one month since I moved across the world!

- It's still incredibly hot here. I did an outside lunch supervision yesterday and it felt like 50 degrees. I was pretty sweaty by the time it was over. Fortunately, I didn't have any classes after!

- My first time trying to give homework, I legitimately said, "If it's okay with you, I'm going to ask
for this due tomorrow"... Of course it will be okay with them! I'm the teacher! Haha, I realized what I did and just enforced the fact that it was due tomorrow, and they all did it!

- My grade 8 students had such a good time making up and performing their body percussion pieces

- My grade 7 music students never fail to brighten my day and make me laugh. We went through the entire process of trying and choosing a band instrument. I was very stressed when almost half my class wanted to play the flute, and I really struggled to come up with a winning combination of my beginning band - but I think I found it! The strangest thing for me was that these kids aren't clamouring to play the trumpet - only one girl really did, and that's because I told her she was awesome at it (she is). I couldn't believe how many wanted to play the flute! I truly feel as though I presented the instruments in a similar way, although more kids struggled with the trumpets. Maybe it's a cultural difference - kids in North America want to be loud, and kids here want the smaller, "prettier" instrument? Who knows.

- IB Drama - I have agreed to supervise/advise an IB Drama play that 2 IB HL (higher level) drama boys will be producing. As part of their IB drama mark, the students must produce, direct, set design, etc. a play. I met the 2 boys I will be advising the other day. They seem really nice and I think they'll be good to work with. One is from Pakistan and one is from Honduras - yet again another reminder with how international my school is :) I'm slightly worried about the time committment for this program, as it will mostly be after school and weekend supervision/advising and I want to still have a social life, but I think it will be fun. Their play will be in December.

- I will be writing a separate post soon about the fact that our grade 9 and 10 music classes are basically following the same format as described in Lucy Green's Music, Informal Learning, and the School, a book we studied in university. It's really, really neat.

- Twitter: I am having WAY more fun on twitter now that I have unlocked my account, started blogging, starting reading blogs, am following more educators, have more followers, am actually tweeting to people, and have expanded my PLN in general. I was even asked to speak to a college class about teaching overseas over twitter! I'll definitely keep you updated if that ends up happening at some point in the next few months :)

- I'm also involved in 2 music teacher groups on facebook - a general one, which is mainly elementary music posts, and an IB Music Teachers group. I'm finding these PLNs very useful!

- I'm also having a lot of fun outside of school. I actually can't believe how much I did last weekend, and how much money and time I spent in and on cabs. Activities included: hot yoga, Thai dinner, ice cream, a long brunch, a restaurant for ladies' night, an apartment warming party, a beach bar, and going for fancy drinks way down in the Marina with a stunning view of the Burj Al Arab.

This might be my favourite photo of Dubai thus far! :)

- Exercise: I have gone to Bikram hot yoga three times with fellow teachers from school. I enjoy it, but I don't love it. I don't like the idea that the classes are all identical, following the same poses in the same order. I like variety! I am also upset that someone of my favourite poses aren't included in the set. I do like it for clearing my mind, and I certainly have never sweated that much in my life. I think I'm going to try and keep going at least once a week. It's also quite far away from my apartment - so it's expensive to take the class and pay for a cab home (I get a ride there).

- Exercise, II: One of our gym teachers runs a circuit training program for teachers over school. It started up again this week, and I really like it. I'm still feeling sore in my legs and back, two days later. I love that this happens right at school (and actually right in my building!), and it's over by 5:00 or 5:30. It's also totally reasonably priced, and he's totally willing to help you when you need. It's also pretty hilarious to work out with colleagues! I'm going to try and do 2 days of circuit training every week.

- My roommate and I hired a cleaning lady for the first time! This is a really common here, and most teachers have some type of hired help, whether it is to clean, cook, iron, nanny, etc. The lady we hired actually works with my roommate as a classroom helper, so we felt like hiring her was a great choice. She's also a single mom, and cleans on the weekend to make a bit of extra money. She brought a friend with her, and they thoroughly cleaned our apartment over four hours! It was fantastic, and definitely way cleaner than when we moved in. We're going to get her to come every 2 weeks, and it really is an incredile bargain!

- I'm going to Oman next weekend on a Dhow cruise! The outdoor education teacher from our sister school sent out some emails yesterday that really excited me. Part of it was this trip to Oman! I'm looking forward to meeting new people, being on a Dhow, visiting a new country, and snorkleing and generally relaxing on the beach, although it's still supposed to be hot.

- Also included on this email was information about becoming certified as a PADI open water diver. I'm fairly certain I am going to do the beginner's course, which includes lessons on theory, pool dives, and real dives! Diving is always something that I thought I would like to do, but I've never really had a chance. Several of my colleagues are divers, and it seems like such a great hobby.

- Eid break - we have one week off in October, and my friend and I are trying to plan a trip. We were originally thinking Sri Lanka, then India, and we still have no idea. So much of the world is our oyster, and it's kind of overwhelming (such a first-world problem, I know). Hopefully we'll book flights somewhere soon! I'm excited to get out of the HEAT of Dubai and go somewhere for relaxation, sight-seeing, ethnic food, and general exploring :)

I think that's almost everything that I wanted to update... in general, everything is going really well! School is stressful but fun, and I'm also having a good time outside of school!

I hope everyone back home is doing well. I have internet so I can skype or FaceTime people, especially during my evenings (mid-morning - lunch time, Manitoba time). Let me know if you wish to skype, or just continue to keep in touch via email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. :)

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