I have now survived one week and one day of classes at the Ahliyyah School for Girls. It’s been a lot of fun so far. My girls are mostly all very eager to learn and highly inquisitive. They have minor talking problems, as in they can’t shut up, but what fifth grade girl doesn’t? My main teacher, Leen, in addition to being a super awesome person is a fantastic instructor, and I am learning lots from her.
On the first day of class, I introduced myself, and we played some getting-to-know-you games, just like in the U.S. And as Americans, we usually like to start off the school year on a happy, fun-filled notes. I expected my first lesson in Jordan to be the same. That was before I saw the first lesson in the girls’ fiction books.
Nuclear Disaster! the title reads. The caption? “Ann Burden is sixteen. Following a nuclear explosion, she believes she is the last person alive on earth.” The story came equipped with a delightful picture of an explosion leveling a city. Cheery.
NOT ONLY did we read the excerpt from Ann’s fictional account on the first day of school (which included lines such as “Bodies. Just dead bodies,” “I went into a couple of houses, the Johnsons’, the Peters’ – they were all in there, all dead.”), but we also showed them pictures of an atomic bomb explosion and some dead bodies, which I thought was perhaps a little graphic for 10 year olds. They seemed to take it well.
Before discussing death and destruction on the first day of class, we also talked about nuclear weapons in terms of politics and power struggles. Huh. It turns out fifth graders in Jordan actually know something about current events AND politics, unlike many American college students I know.
Fortunately Unit 2 looks a little more cheerful. We get to read some Tolkien! Score. (P.S. They spelled Tolkien's name wrong in the textbook.) Of course it is the scene where the hobbits are lost and scared in the eerie forest...
Welcome back to school, kids!