Weekends (Sort of…)

It’s a sunny Saturday in Beirut. The weekend is probably my favorite part of living in this city. Don’t get me wrong I love my students and I enjoy teaching, however, the structure of the school often frustrates me and not having my own classroom is becoming more and more of an inconvenience that I am not going to be able to handle for more than 2 yrs. Classes in the morning are 50mintues long and in the afternoon they are only 45minutes long. The problem is, by the time I am able to get the students to focus and on task, 5 minutes have already passed. Then at the end of the period I have to leave 5 minutes in order to ensure these kids know what their homework is and what we will be doing in the next lesson or two. Additionally, the 6th graders are supposed to be dismissed 5minutes early before any break. So, when I have a 50 minute period, most of the time I really only have a 35 or 40 minute period. These kids own their classrooms. I have no control over how it is set up – all classrooms are in rows: my least favourite arrangement for any classroom.

I love collaboration in the classroom. Desks in rows make this very difficult. Not only, do I dislike the desks being in rows, I also don’t have a whiteboard or chalkboard. Yes, I have a smart board, but there are times when you want to write something down (i.e. Homework), so that the kids can refer to it later. I do my best to keep my Moodle Page updated so that it can assist in reminding students what is coming up and what they need to finish for each day, but if the students aren’t checking the Moodle Page then there is very little that I can do.

Moodle. I have almost always had a Website for students and parents to check. Using Moodle has been an easy switch, but they recently updated the system, and in doing so, have limited my creative ability. The fonts are less varied, the type and color are less dynamic and I am constrained to a smaller selection of media possibilities. How is this an updated system?

Lastly, the curriculum, it’s not a bad curriculum; the problem is that there are no set standards for the curriculum. So, I have been using the British Columbia IRP’s for my planning. This works for the most part, except that these students really are still learning English as a second language. It’s like English Immersion, so the standards are a bit high for them. In some ways, I suppose this is okay since it encourages them to work hard and they have been growing in their abilities with both written work and in comprehension, however, I don’t always know what is required of these kids on a broader school wide scale.

This brings me back to the weekend. I work fairly efficiently, which has enabled me to spend most of my weekends relaxing and travelling. I love the fact that I can role out of bed at 9:30am, have my coffee and toast, browse the internet and then go out for another coffee or have a nap without worrying about getting any work done. I love the fact that this morning I went grocery shopping and it was an event. I love that I am sitting in a café updating my blog drinking coffee. I love the idea that next weekend I am going to Istanbul. And, I love that I have the financial flexibility to live and enjoy life. Teaching overseas is great.

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~ by Ryan on January 31, 2015.

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