Thursday, February 23, 2012

...a visit with the boss

Our school had a surprise visitor yesterday.  Dr. Mugheer, the Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council and his entourage stopped by for a tour. (Director General is pretty much the same as our Secretary of Education.)  He visited several classrooms, mine among them.  My grade 11 girls were excited--I have never seen them get to their seats so quickly! Dr. Mugheer visited with the girls for a few minutes about upcoming changes and asked about issues they face at school. Their number one concern was the lack of substantial food in the canteen for their afternoon break.  They told him that by the time 8th period rolls around, they are too hungry and tired to focus.  He promised that the issue would be addressed.

While Dr. Mugheer was with the girls, I was talking with a linguist and a reporter about my word wall at the front of the room.  They were concerned that the Arabic translation wasn't quite right on some of the words.  They didn't understand that "close enough" was what we were going for in Arabic--it's the English that I am focusing on. I soon realized that they really weren't interested in a conversation, and decided that, while lovely, educated people, they are not teachers.

My conversation with Dr. Mugheer was much more pleasant.  He is soft-spoken and seems to be a kind man.  He gave me a condensed version of his discussion with the girls, and asked me how things were going.  I told him the truth--it is going well, the girls are learning, and they are a delight to work with.

Needless to say, we didn't get much accomplished after he left.  It's unusual to have men in the building, so to have such an important one, along with five or six others right in our very own classroom, had the girls all a-twitter for quite some time.

Oh, and at the beginning of the year I was told to wear a scarf around my neck at all times in case someone important came to visit.  But--as a non-muslim woman I am not expected to cover my head.  So the "wear a scarf at all times" rule is a puzzle. 

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