Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What can we expect?

Unfortunately, I spend most of this blog complaining about the students and general environment of Saudi Arabia which does deserve the ridicule it receives. However, a few episodes yesterday did show perhaps we as teachers are not completely blameless.
Most of the teachers live in a single apartment complex and we trudge off to work together taking a company provided mini-bus. As can be expected people tend to sit in the same place and with the same people from day to day with some slight variations as there are a few seats which are less comfortable the last people on the bus are forced to sit there. Yesterday, a recently hired teacher was apparently unaware that certain other teachers believe they have a birthright to their particular seats. So while there were some lovely seats still available and roughly a quarter of the teachers still waiting to get on the bus this teacher decided to throw a tantrum and complained bitterly that his seat had been stolen, it was his seat, he sits there EVERYDAY! Impressively the new teacher didn't back down and remained in his claimed territory, a victory for egalitarianism then. As those teachers both inside and outside grew impatient and the catcalls for the teacher to sit down he finally gave up on HIS seat and sat elsewhere.
I am not immune to acts of immaturity either as it was a Wednesday (the last day of the work week) I had very little enthusiasm for teaching my final hour so I struck a deal with my students they could leave and I would mark them present as long as they remained quiet in the halls and didn't rat me out to the administration. When I triumphantly returned to my office looking to bask in an extra hour of free time I saw a team leader was already in the office speaking to a colleague I beat a hasty retreat and hid in the bathroom until he had moved along.
Now I am not sure how much of our own personal failings, unseriousness, and general immaturity rubs off on our students. Personally I don't see the connection between my letting students go early and another student thinking it's appropriate to start singing in Arabic while we are doing a reading lesson but perhaps he has just decided to let his inner-child to come more often than I.

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