Saturday, October 26, 2013

Getting Information

Boring title...I know. But, when information is all you want, it becomes HUGE when it actually happens! Although we were thoroughly enjoying our time to get acquainted with each other and our new surroundings, we were all quite interested in knowing more about our teaching placements and were relieved to finally get some information. Most of us did not know what grade or subject we would be assigned to teach, and none of us knew WHERE we would be living and teaching. Some people were relieved, some were puzzled, some were in complete shock and tears upon learning these things at our first big meeting.

Although I was completely prepared, and even maybe hopeful, to be placed out in the desert area called "the western region", I have to admit that I am very happy to have been placed in the Abu Dhabi area. Finding our schools was an adventure! We were heading in the right direction, towards Al Falah, the community that my school is located in. It's outside of town a bit, in the farming area.
Then things started getting interesting...
With Elise driving (brave soul!), me navigating, and Ethlyn providing moral support and entertaining commentary, we entered the coordinates (addresses do not exist here) for my school and we drove nearly an hour out into desert that got increasingly more desolate as we went. At the final destination, Garmin Jane told us to "navigate off road." We were at a Du cell phone tower surrounded by sand
- JUST sand - no homes, no shops, no palm trees, no people. 
Thankfully, we figured out how to use GoogleMaps and we able to find my actual school 
...a half hour back towards where we began! 

Finally, the work begins! Now that we'd all found our schools, it was time to get down to business at the ADEC 2013-14 Teacher Orientation at Sorbonne University on Al Reem Island, just outside of downtown Abu Dhabi. We were bused there from our hotels. Now we could see what this school system is all about. After we all rose for the entrance of Dr. Mugheer Khamis al Khaili, Director General of Abu dhabi Education Council,  he spoke about the need to educate today's youth of Abu Dhabi in English because the oil money will not continue forever and they must be able to function and work in a world whose one common language is English (at least that's the gist of what I got out of it). After that it was much like every other back-to-school large group gathering I've been to over the years...yawn.

An unlikely bunch of friends...
Elise form Massachusettes, Masooma from Manchester, UK, 
Me from Oregon, Ethlyn from NY, and Kim from Florida.
Not sure how we all found each other, but glad we did!

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