I've made it through the first week of teaching at my new job! The last time I got to a Thursday on the job was back in September when I was informed that my class was going to be closing. Three days and BUZZ! You're all done with those kids! Alhumdulillah, that didn't happen this time.
I'm teaching English for 5th, 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th.
I verge on nervousness about my job performance. Sure, I'm an old pro...but it's been a while since I've taught the big kids. It's also been a while since I've had this much mandatory reading.
I've got to get through the rest of The Wheel on the School written with a lot of honesty by Meindert DeJong. It's an enjoyable chapter book. I'd recommend it as a nightly bedtime story for first grade and up. Shora is a quaint Dutch village without storks and the school children are spurred on to solve that. The pictures are by Maurice Sendak. The only problem with reading it to Mr. Boo at bedtime is that I'm not hitting my deadline. I have to finish in order to write up comprehension questions before Winter Break.
Can you believe (subhanallah) how great it is to have two weeks of work and then two weeks off? Really, that's a blessing! I can get my big toe in and then figure out how to dive in after perhaps better digesting what I've bitten off.
Alhumdulillah, I'm enjoying my time. I'm able to read texts and construct lessons around them that are on a level which really stretch me. I feel I'm growing in new ways. I have had some success in teaching and no known goof-ups (yet).
Mr. Boo re-started second grade this week. He is very freely telling anyone who asks that, "I don't really like it." AMERICAN HONESTY! Yes, I wish he'd work on his Egyptian cordiality a bit more.
He actually wanted to run away during his intensive Arabic lesson. He's fine in English and Math (alhumdulillah) but Arabic was lagging behind. I hadn't been able to study that with him. So, this school gives extra lessons in a smaller setting until he catches up. I teach an intensive English class which does the same thing. I think it's a great method of handling struggling students.
One of the biggest blessings is that I finally have a place to pray at work. This has never happened before in Egypt; not at the international language school and not at the Islamic school. No....NOT at the Islamic school. When I toured that school, I had been promised a designated prayer place which never materialized. Men and boys, along with very young children, could pray en masse on the lawn but women and girls had to ferret out a random pray spot around the "Islamic" school.
Now? I can go into the little carpeted station at the end of the hall, shut the door, kick off my shoes, and pray. It is a glorious feeling. Alhumdulillah. It means that I've found a home. Thank God!
While I pray, I ask God, the same God who gave me the job in the first place, to give me strength. Obviously, Allah knows the strength I'll need to get through the challenges of a new workplace. Allah knows my weaknesses. If I ask for humble help in my prayer then I can feel strong enough to continue inshahallah.
I need to continue. By the Grace of God, I will.
After writing this, I checked my Twitter feed before turning off the computer. I half expected to find some bad news from Egypt; of protests, polling, and dissent. Instead, I discovered sad news from an American school. Though I know no one in Conneticut, my grief as a mom and a teacher rose up inside me. I looked through the photos which the principal, Dawn Hochsprung had once posted. She's gone now. The photos remain. If you want to see an idyllic school where children study with their teacher underneath a big tree, then take a moment to cherish what was. And then, because we are people of faith, please send another prayer for those children, their families, America and the world.
May God reward the heroic actions of those teachers and school leaders who fought for goodness until the end. May God increase the faith of the parents in that small community and in the country. May God guide us to the righteous way so that we may protect those who need us the most; the children.