My first week of teaching in Doha!

I can’t speak for all schools in Qatar but if the first week was any indication of what this school year will be like for this teacher, I am in for a treat.

I woke up this morning with my feelings all over the place.  I woke up this morning missing home.  I wanted to call my sister but it was 3:00am in the states and she would be asleep necessary for work in a few hours.  It might have been 10am and the weekend for me but not back home.  I tried to call my other sister that works overnight but no answer, probably busy at work.

I woke up this morning wanting a lobster and egg omelet.  The kind my husband used to make for me at home for breakfast while my little Zoey would be sprawled out on the cool tile floor, panting, waiting for something to drop so she could gobble it up.  I haven’t eaten eggs in over 2 months or any other animal product other than seafood and the thought of eating an egg makes me cringe.  Then I thought about Ackee and Salt fish.  Ackee, when cooked, looks alot like eggs but it’s actually a fruit from West Africa that is more prevalent in Jamaica.  I had a Jamaican best friend when I was a kid and her grandmother used to cook Ackee; that was my first encounter with Jamaica.  Maybe I am just missing my island.  The island of Jamaica.  I call it mine because I love it so much.

I woke up this morning missing HOME.  Why?  I wanted to leave home for so long.  I hated home.  Is there something missing from here that I can do to make it feel more like home, the parts I miss, or should it feel different since I didn’t like it there?

img_2162Good thing Darryl is still here because he does a great job of trying to make me feel better.  Here is the breakfast he made for me.  It is very colorful, like the Caribbean.  But even he will be leaving me soon to return home.  His medical exam is finally scheduled for Sunday.  Once that is done, it won’t be long ’till we have his RP and his passport will be returned.   Right after that he will be back to work and school and it will be just me and the boys.  I received Zarien’s RP yesterday.  Since he is younger than 14, he doesn’t have to get a medical exam done or fingerprinted so his RP was complete.

My students started this week and the first week is a wrap.  I can’t speak for all schools in Qatar but if the first week was any indication of what this school year will be like for this teacher, I am in for a treat. Week 1 was really good.  I like my students.  Some are really funny.  There are about 3 high flyers so far but nothing major.  My class list has 19 students but two have not shown up yet.  One has dropped as of yesterday; I wonder if I will get any replacements or will I have 17 students for the school year.  Smile!  They seem to be very respectful and some are well traveled.  One little girl loves Target (in America she says). Some have been to Turkey, London, America and Germany.

The typical things that teachers worry about,  I don’t deal with here.  I have a helper who sits in the hallway and goes behind the children as they go to the bathroom.  She sharpens pencils, and cleans my room.  She die cuts letters for me and cuts out laminates.  She makes Reading A-Z books for me.  She carries and moves things for me, organizes and sorts things for me.  Well maybe not for me, maybe for the kids.  There is a copy room, where two gentlemen copy, enlarge, laminate and give out supplies on demand and big jobs in time.  There are housekeepers who walk around and just clean all day.  There is an IT room, where two gentlemen set up printers, and show you/me how to use a smart board, work your/my computer and help with all other IT concerns.  There is a printer in a classroom where I can print to, when I want, and pick up small print jobs (in color).  There is a library with two librarians, and lots of books.  The routine books that I read in the beginning of the year, they have them.  I went in, asked for three book titles, and walked out with all three.  The majority of the things I ordered and said you need in a previous post, you don’t even need.  They were right when they said, there is an abundance of supplies and resources in our school.  And most times other teachers are giving stuff away or you can borrow from them.  I stressed for nothing.  I spent a lot of money on ordering stuff, mostly shipping, that I don’t need but I am not sending it back.  I will use it or save it.  But take it from me, SAVE YOUR MONEY.  If you are still wondering what to bring, bring decorative stuff, like if you want a class theme or something and some give away trinkets for the kids (maybe some things that say America or something from your home country with a logo).  That’s it.  We have a Reading A-Z, a Brainpop jr. and IXL online account.  There are probably more accounts that I don’t know about.  There are 3 other first grade home room teachers.  They are all helpful and nice. They are from Jamaica, Lebanon and Canada.  Also part of the first grade team is 2 Arabic teachers, and a math teacher from America.  I teach one English class for an hour a day, 1 Science class per week for one hour, and 2 Walk To Read (a scripted phonics and reading program, completed in small groups) lessons a day- 1 with a first grade group and the other with a Kindergarten group.  On average I teach no more than 3 hours straight or 3 hours in a day excluding the 1 hour lunch and recess time that I cover 4 days a week.  Pretty sweet right. An example of my typical schedule: 7- Meet kids in room, 7-8 prep (kids at math in room), 8 pick up kids and take to PE 8-9 prep, 9-10 Walk to read with a group of first graders, 10-11 cover lunch in class and recess in class (red day, too hot to go out), 11-12 Walk to read with a group of kindergarteners, 12-1 prep (Arabic in class), 1-2 Teach English, 2- wait for parents to pick up kids, 2:15 take kids to the late pick up area and meet with my grade group for a meeting or PD or work in room, 3 out the door.  This past week I didn’t teach for more than 2 hours a day because kindergarten had not started their scripted program yet.  I had to test my kids this week to find their level for WTR while the kindergarten teacher I will be working with covered my class.  Next week I will be covering for her while she does the same and she will be covering for me while I complete Aimsweb.  Aimsweb is new for me as well but I am anxious to learn it since that is how so many schools are assessing now. We are not required to hand in long scripted lesson plans or sub plans.  We collaborate for the big ideas and hand that in. Then we come up with our own learning experiences for our kids. My sub plan was just a description of what to do with my kids when I’m out.  I was given permission to leave early Sunday to take my son and husband to their medical appointments.  That is why I needed a sub plan for whomever will cover my last English period.  Compared to what I am used to, working as a teacher in Philadelphia, this is AMAZING!  I hope it stays this way.  I work 6:45-3:00pm.  The students are gone by 2:15pm.  Other than waking up at 5 am with the sun IMG_2147.JPGevery day, I LOVE IT.  This is how teaching should be.  Let’s see how I feel after a few months.  I still have to run one after school activity, once a school year, once a week for 6 weeks and join a committee.  I’m thinking of a gardening after school activity and I’ve joined the social club (for new teachers that will be joining for next year).  (Maybe I will start a healthy cooking after school activity).  I just thought of that.

Zarien likes his new school Qatar Academy Doha and Zamir does not.  Talk about role reversal.  Hopefully he will adjust. Hopefully we all will.

Author: phillygirl77

I've lived my whole life in Philadelphia. Daughter of a teacher, I later became one myself. When I heard about teaching overseas, I jumped feet first. Finally told yes, my two boys and I prepared for our new life abroad. Join us on our journey in Qatar!

One thought on “My first week of teaching in Doha!”

  1. It really sounds like an amazing first week. Thank you for your honesty in your blog, sharing the good, the bad, and sometime difficult aspects of this type of move is invaluable. Here’s to an amazing school year.


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