Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm sorry, I was looking for the staff meeting?

First of all, I would like to say that I love my school. The Ahliyyah School for Girls is a great place to work. The girls are fabulous and eager, and my fellow teachers are all supportive and cooperative.

That being said, the meetings we have are sometimes… not exactly what we Americans expect, to say the least.

A couple days before school started, we were all called over to the Bishop’s School, the boy’s school that partners us, for a meeting with the general director. The buses picked us up at 10 a.m. and carted us over.

I had been up for a while. I was tired. I was hungry. I was not in the mood for a staff meeting in Arabic hastily translated into English by the person next to me. So I was this side of cranky already.

The director started out in a typical meeting style – welcoming us, thanking people, introductions all around, extra. Then she powered up the Powerpoint, and we got to work. Note: I was only receiving about half of the information presented because of the translation, but she seemed to be talking about the usual teacher values, commitments and strategies. Then she started showing the movies.

We went through three or four 5-10 minute long movie clips that seemingly barely illustrated the point she was trying to make. At this point, I was ready to eat my own arm off. And we had gotten to 11 a.m.

We got through the movie clips and finished the talking portion of the meeting. Great! Time for lunch, right? Um, no. Thus began a forty-five minute long session of inspiring poetry readings in Arabic, songs in both Arabic and English and piano playing for our entertainment. And entertaining it would have been except for the fact that I was now chewing on a plastic bottle in hungry desperation and dreaming of bashing the piano with a baseball bat, then heading home to take a nap.

They even sang some Elvis. After this, American staff meetings are going to seem all kinds of tame.

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