Monday, March 14, 2011

It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log (The Fabs)

Woh!! Last night was parent night and I was buzzing for hours after it. I normally am but this was my first teacher/parent night in the Middle East and it was a blast.

We started during school with the mothers meeting at 11am (fathers were down for 5pm meeting after school). I'd been told to expect maybe 4 or 5 ladies and 16 turned up.

I gave the ladies a brief run down on what the advisors are doing to improve things in the school and then took a few questions. All the men then left the room (so the ladies could divest themselves of their niqabs) for them to have chocolates and drinks. This was followed by the arrival of the teachers for teacher/parent conferences.

The men's group in the evening was huge! Again, common practice was that about 4 or 5 men would come and I was also told my 5pm time for the meeting meant few would come on time. We ended up with 30 plus (I stopped counting at 26). It was easy to count as each new arrival would say Salaam Alaykum and we would say back Alaykum Salaam! This number is without precedent. My Principal was thrilled!

I did my same introductory speech and then took a lot of questions (some had firm beliefs on how things should be taught). We finished with a brief meet-the-teacher chat but most had seemingly just come to hear me or raise issues with me. A hugely instructive evening!!

Love and peace - Wozza

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When you don't need an answer there'll be days like this (Van Morrison)

Here's a selection of snapshots from the life of a consultant in foreign climes. Starting with awards presented at morning assembly.

Same meeting as previous post/different views (thanks to my colleague Brett Sloan!)

Translator Hicham and me in my office - dressed in red and black in solidarity with the people of Christchurch.

Finally - these two photos were taken during a heads of department meeting in the Principal's office.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You can't read my poker face (Lady Gaga)

We had an interesting meeting at a girls' school yesterday - Um al Emerate to be specific. The 'we' refers to a collection of Al Ain schools. The meeting is part of an on-going scheme to get our Principals to meet and discuss topics of interest.

The photos show the men (and in the first one Ali Painter) but the Emirati women, as per custom, were not photographed.

It was a lively debate and largely in Arabic. Play spot the kiwi! You need to be looking for a Brett, a Colin, a Bruce, a Graeme, and a Rob!