Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Life of a Teacher

I've almost been in the UAE two weeks and I'm still loving it! I've adjusted to the heat (well, as much as anyone could), I've met awesome teacher friends, and I've had the chance to explore more of the city. We are on our second week of teacher workdays and the returning teachers are back so it has been a crazy and hectic week! 

Our work week in Abu Dhabi is from Sunday to Thursday, which is something I don't know if I'll ever get used to. Sunday is probably my favorite day of the week but here it just isn't the same because it's like a Monday! I'll have to get used to relaxing on Saturdays and treating them like the Sunday I'm accustomed to back home. The nice thing is that today, Tuesday, is my hump day! 

This week at school has been packed full of meetings. Staff meetings, Elementary meetings, GEMS meetings, PLC meetings, and on top of it all... our first day of school is SUNDAY! I'm freaking out a little. Earlier in the week, I felt extremely overwhelmed because I felt so unprepared to have 25 7-year olds walk into my room in a few days. Luckily, I was able to find a teacher supply store here in Abu Dhabi where I was able to buy some of the supplies and classroom decorations that I'm used to. Now, the room is starting to look more like a place where children can learn and have fun. Once the classroom is set up (hopefully by Thursday since the new students have their orientation!), I'll post the before/after pictures. 

On another note... let me tell you a little more about what I've been up to the past week. 

  • Shopping. The malls are huge and extravagant and nothing like malls in the US. The one that we go to a lot (because it is fairly close to our apartment) is Al Wahda Mall. It has hundreds of shops, restaurants, and a cinema in it. While this mall doesn't have an ice rink or a kid's roller coaster like the Marina Mall, I think it has the best shops in it. There are a few other malls in Abu Dhabi as well but I haven't had a chance to explore those yet. There is also an IKEA, which the teachers visited last week to work on decorating our apartments.
  • Medical exams, Emirates IDs, and First Aid/CPR class. These were all things required by the school to obtain our residency visas. While the process was fairly painless (aside from the part that literally did cause pain - the blood draw), it was very time consuming. Luckily, the school was great and provided us time and transportation to complete these items during the work day. They also prepared all of our documents so all we had to do was show up and follow directions. Simple enough! 
  • Dinner and drinks. We have found some great places to eat. We have also found great places to get drinks, which is a little more difficult in the UAE. There are pubs/restaurants at the hotels that serve alcohol so we have tried a few out. Last night, we went out for one of the girl's birthday to a place called Trader Vic's. It was a delicious Polynesian-style restaurant. We all had a great time chatting and eating dinner together! We have also found places with "ladies night" specials where ladies can drink wine and cocktails for free. It has been a great time going out with the girls!
  • Taxis. Honestly, I'm getting a little tired of taking taxis everywhere. However, I would be scared to death driving on these roads with these drivers so I probably just need to suck it up and keep getting taxis. The only problem (besides the fact that it costs money every time and sometimes they are crazy drivers) is that there are not frequent taxis to our island. Since it is so new (started being developed in 2010), taxis don't come out here often so we always have to call the taxi service. Then, it is really complicated to explain how to get to our building, especially if the driver hasn't been on Reem Island that much. We are hoping that the drivers are starting to get more familiar with our location so it will be easier in the future. 
I'm sure there is so much more I could talk about but I need to get to bed! I'm finally over the jet lag but waking up at 5:30 every morning is hard to get used to! I'll leave you with another picture of my tower... I love it.


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