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 Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's up, good people! Or should I say assalamu alikum! Long time, no blog right? I'm sorry. I've been here for almost 3 months. I thought I'd be writing and blogging consistently by now, but clearly not. Honestly, I haven't had much energy to do a lot of things, reading and writing included. Who knew teaching 25 three/four year olds could be so draining! The fact that English is not their 1st language (Arabic is) also makes things...interesting. I have an Arabic co-teacher but  she's pregnant and sometimes in and out.

I'm enjoying this experience, but the challenges we (the LTs...Licensed Teachers) face... Teaching here is definitely NOT for the faint of heart. If you're considering a move overseas to teach, think long and hard before you make your final decision. This emirate (Abu Dhabi) is in the midst of an educational reform, so of course things are gonna be challenging. Some like the reform...some do not. It's been met with enthusiasm as well as resistance. I can only speak from my experience, it's NOT easy. At all. It can be stressful. And draining. And sometimes, it leaves you wondering why in the hell did you do this. 

I have to be honest. Some of my students have very challenging behavior. I mean, what can I expect when they're allowed to do whatever they want at home and have no boundaries. Then add to that the fact that I have KG1 (like preschool), so they've never been in school. Rules and routines are new to them. AND, I don't even speak their language. So yeah, it's been draining. And we're only in school til 12:30. I feel more drained in the four hours here than I've ever had in 7.5 hours of school back home. 

Despite the challenging behavior, I absolutely adore my kids. They're my babies. And they're getting used to me. They see me as their teacher...not some random woman in their class who speaks an alien language. I'm either "Miss Raenice" "Abla Raenice" "Abla" or "Mualima". And I have a few who've grown attached to me. Like literally. They hold on to my dress or leg - or whatever they can grab - for dear life. And boy do they tug on my heartstrings. Just this week, I got a great big hug from one of mine who, at first, didn't want to come to school. And today, one of my boys gave me a flower he made during the celebration we had at school.

Flower from one of my babies
And I can't forget about the things I'm doing here that I haven't been able to afford to do back home. I mean, I was up front, clos and personal at the Janet Jackson concert - which was awesome, by the way. JANET JACKSON! And I'm going to Dubai this weekend. I live in a high-rise apartment for free. I'm not living paycheck to paycheck any more. And in March, I'm going to Morocco. And that's just a few things.

So I'm enjoying myself, challenges and all. I look at any challenge I face and remind myself that God is molding me for something big. I don't know what it is. I can't see it. I don't even know when it's coming. But I know He's preparing me. So I'm taking it all in stride. And my kids make it all worth it. Especially when I see the growth in them when it comes to their English vocabulary.

Do I recommend moving to Abu Dhabi to teach? If you can't handle constant change, not knowing things, a totally different culture, kids with challenging behavior, being far away from family, etc, then my answer is no. This move is not for you. BUT, if you're strong enough to handle these challenges, then my answer is a resounding YES. This can be one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have!

2 comments:

Karen Strong November 4, 2011 at 10:38 PM  

I know your experiences can sometimes be draining but what an opportunity to have. Looking forward to hearing about yor future trips!

Rae November 5, 2011 at 4:13 PM  

Thanks, Karen. It's an amazing experience, I must say.

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This blog is all about my adventures while living in Abu Dhabi. Come along with me for what will be an awesome experience. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

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