It finally happened

Whelp I had that I’m a crappie parent moment today. I spent 90% of my day regretting my decision. 

Maybe I didn’t think this all the way through. Maybe I am being selfish. Maybe this is gonna cause my child more damage than I can comprehend. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken this job. Maybe I me being too doggone positive and need to cut my losses. Maybe this ain’t such a bright idea. 

One of her teachers…an American at that…made me feel like a complete failure and I’m ignoring the signs of my child being miserable. I stood there as I listened to her talk about how my child didn’t want to do the work and says she’s frustrated and confused about the work. She shouldn’t be confused because English is her first language. So I go check on her. She’s doing work and seems fine. Then I just happen to walk by and she’s in the hallway crying her eyes out saying she wants to go back to the states. The teacher had pretty much planted this idea I  her head that she misses being in the states and now I got an upset child. Now I’m popping mad. I take my kid and calm down. I breath and start thinking about my options.

1. Quit my job (not happening)

2. Homeschool her (maybe)

3. Send her back to the states and I stay here (even less likely to happen)

So my hunt to homeschool becomes a more serious hunt. I’m not gonna have my child be emotional and there was not a problem. It’s been 12 days at school a month in new countrymen 

I have done a damn good job at trying to keep things normal for her. I will not allow you to question my decision because what….I’m a single parent or you just don’t understand it. 

See here’s my thing. I am providing an experience for my child that people can only dream of doing. I took deep thought and prayer before making this decisoin. I even talked with her about it to gauge her feelings on it. 

Does she miss some comforts of the states? Yes mostly material things like her lego dimensions. (They don’t sell them here) 

Does she miss her granny? Yep but she gets to call her and as soon as granny figures out how to video chat…BAM

She’s been to a new school every year since she was 4. I’ve told her we’ll stay put until she finishes 5th grade and then we’ll decide where to go next if we leave here. 

People get on my nerves and I will not allow that negativity into my space or my child. 

Consider this your one and only strike. There’s no 3 strikes and you’re out with me when it comes to my child. 

The negatives….so far

Okay I’m in a mood. Feeling kinda homesick so yep this update will be rather depressing and it’s gonna give you the downside to it all.

First off the WHOLE country is disorganized. Nothing makes sense. It’s like common sense is nonexistent. Inshallah takes on whole new meaning. Okay maybe not the WHOLE country but you would think a business or organization would be more organized. 

Example: 1. Let’s look at how they drive…disorganized the impatience is strong. Left lane, not driving fast enough, let’s flash you and still pass on the shoulder. 

2. Now this maybe just my place of employment but here goes. What was told at 7am may not hold true at 730am.

3. Just because it’s in Stock today grab it because it may not be there tomorrow….next week forget about it. And I’m not talking seasonal items either. I’m talking regular everyday stuff like soap well a particular brand of soap. 

4. What is up with kleenex tissue used for everything. 

5. Okay my list is no longer about disorganization 

6. Back to this kleenex thing. It’s considered napkins. No boo that’s for your nose. 

7. The toilet tissue is whack. Like finding good quality is driving me insane.

8. Paper towels….yep whack kleenex and toilet tissue quality. 

9. Let’s take a moment to discuss the filth….trash…yep every where things like a trash system….pretty sure it doesn’t exist. I have not seen a garbage truck yet. I’ve seen dumpsters and piles of trash but no garbage truck 

10. The heat is disrespectful 

11. Females tampons do not exist and if you find its like the small travel size box. 

12. Shop and eat that’s all they do and it’s excessive. Like every mall has at minimum 3 floors. I went in one that had 6. 

13. No smoking laws do not really exist 

14. Child Safety seat laws…nope

15. Speed cameras everywhere right along with traffic cams. 

16. Homesickness is a real thing. 

Now with all this and I’m sure I can list more. I don’t want to harp or focus on the negative. My purpose is greater than a list of things that get on my nerves. It’s not enough for me to pack up and go home. I’m still enjoying my time here. I still like my job. I still like my kids. I still like my parents. I still like my TA. I still wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. 

Some positives

1. I don’t bring any work home….cane we take a moment and pause in that comment alone. Let me explain the importance of this one. I am a teacher and being a teacher is stressful. I would take so much stuff home and not even look at it. I am more rested. I get to work at 700am. I don’t see my kids until 730am. They go home at 100pm. I go home at 300pm on the dot. I’m home at 315pm..I have time to cook and take a nap wash and dry at least one load of clothes. 

2. I get to save 90% of my paycheck. (Hey I gotta eat)

3. I get to travel.

4. I get to experience another culture and country firsthand. 

5. I am living what some would consider the American dream but I’m not in America

6. I DO NOT BRING ANY WORK HOME! 

7. I work with some helpful coworkers. We share the work load (Lesson planning and strategies to implement)

8. I feel the stress leaving my body…it’s pretty much left my body. 

9. I am walking in a greater purpose. I am happy. I am free. 

10. Yes there are things I would like to change but heck no one said it was Utopia that’s heaven and pretty sure I ain’t left Earth yet. 

11. My child is happy and the moment that changes I will adjust accordingly. 

12. The food is so much more healthier and given in the correct portion (I do miss bacaon and crabs)

13. I still have technology and TV  (praise God) 

Overall I’m happy and life is good. God got us and we got our hands in God hands. I have no regrets. 

First week of school…done

Quick recap of this past week.

I started out with 19 kids on role. 16 showed up. By Thursday it was down to 18 on role. On Thursday the day before the holiday break I had 11 kids. Praise Jesus!

Okay my kids. I love them to death which I always do. I have one that taps Mt nerves which I always do. He doesn’t tap my nerves because he’s bad, he just doesn’t have any boundaries….meaning no one has told his behind no. I have one talker which I think he will be my favorite. I have 7 girls and 11 boys. (I’ll let you know how I feel about this later in the school year.)

About 90% will walk up to me and speak in Arabic. I smile and say English. My TA will tell them I don’t understand but bless their hearts they still come talking to me in Arabic. I love it. 

They are 3 and 4 years old. So I have blank slates. 

I have more breaks than I know what to do with. Like my American mind is boggled. My work hours are 700am to 300pm. I do not have to be with my kids for specials (30 minutes) Arabic (30 minutes) Islam  (30 minutes) Quran (30 minutes once a week) plus I don’t have to with them during recess (30 minutes) but because it’s still new I stay with them. My kids leave at 100pm. So I’m free from about 130pm (once they are all gone) to 300pm (when I pack up and go home). So if we’ve been adding all this up that gives me roughly 4 hours( one day) and 3 and half hours (4 days) to plan, regroup, relax, eat, regroup and plan. The times are spread out throughout the day so my day is not overwhelming. There’s a nanny that clean up after snack and lunch and monitors them in the bathroom. 

So when the BS occurs because it does I remind myself..

1. If I wanted to stress I could have stayed in the US

2. I have a TA and a nanny…delegate 

3. I only really have to teach about 2 to 3 hours a day

4. I have no expenses outside of groceries 

WINNING! 

Could I complain….yep because much school is new and highly unorganized but I shut my door and my room will be a well oiled machine. I know what I’m doing. I know where the kids need to be by the end of the year. I take it one day at a time and honestly I take my TE home for show. (Real life) 

I get home by 330pm. I have time to cook dinner and wash a load of clothes. I can chill out, watch TV and if the time matches make a few phone calls to the US. 

At 300pm today we began our first holiday break for a week. I ain’t mad. I am happy for the break. When the kids come back we gotta start over and tighten up some things. 

Elise is still happy and enjoying things. 

Tomorrow I will get a mani/pedi. 

I was invited to church. Gonna see what it’s all about. 

I’ll head to the mall again just to walk around and get out. 

I have an entire week off to relax. 

Trying to figure out my Christmas plans. I’ve only got a week and don’t really want to go to the states in that small amount of time. I’ll do something quick and close like the UAE. In January we get two weeks off for the mid year we’ll go to Disney Paris. 

Life is good. 

First day of School

Okay so here’s the thing, teachers arrive at 7am students arrive at 7am….as a teacher you should already see the problem. If not let me help you. You cannot greet your students if you have not had time to prepare mentally. If I walk into my classroom I don’t need to see my babies at 7am. The plan on paper: kids go to the indoor playground until 730am. The reality on the first day: door are open before teachers are ready. Our bus pulled up at 650am and kids were already pouring into the building. Thank God I ate before I came. I still had to walk Elise to her room. So teachers are scrambling into the building rushing to their rooms. I’m like oh no this can’t be like this everyday. 

Quick side note: big fuss was made about making sure you are in your rooms to start the day and greet your kids at the door. Parents shouldn’t see you lingering in the halls grabbing coffee or water. Well um in order for that happen there has to better organization in the morning. Kids are gonna need to be in place from day 1. Don’t change it up on day 2. It’s confusing. 

Anyways get Elise in her classroom hustle back downstairs because I knew I had one child and parent waiting on me. By the time I get back to room I’ve got 3 kids and it’s 658am. Good grief. My TA comes in. Kids start pouring in. Only one cried and tried to run. But wait another comes in and he cries. I’ve got the first crier. My TA has the second crier. She calms the 2nd kid down. I’m still trying with the first kid. Oh my. She takes the second kid and calms him down temporarily. He will cry on and off all day. I put on a Mario brain break.

Back story as to why: I sat by one kid and he goes on and on about Mario. So I ask him if he can do the Mario dance. He says yes. I put it on and we dance. We end up dancing twice to Mario. The second time we danced I asked him to include get the other kids. 

The morning went smoothly enough. 

The afternoon was just as smoothly. 

I can already tell you they do not know their letters or sounds. Some know their colors. I had them color a picture. All my colors colored very neatly and in the lines. My boys well they are boys. I had three not even color. 

I’ve got one boy that I already know needs to be close to an adult. 

Let me just go ahead and say I LOVE MY TA! She don’t play and she jumps right in when needed. I don’t even have to tell her and she’s there. 

Tomorrow will be better than today. I was able to get a feel for the kids and they got a feel for me. I’ll learn the schedule and it’ll be better. 

Overall the first day was success with 14 students present and 5 absent. I don’t feel dog tired like I usually do on the first day. I didn’t have a lot of jitters. I went with the flow and I did not stress. Inshallah. I still wouldn’t mind a drink but no liquor in Kuwait. I don’t know how I feel about that just yet. 

I just want to go home and watch Power. 

I can honestly say I still have a smile on my face. 

Classroom Prep

Okay so for the past week and half I’ve been setting up my EMPTY classroom. When I say empty I mean I am brand new KG 1 classroom with nothing but some table and chairs inside 4 four walls. Oh and shelves. 

I was told oh don’t bring anything, it’ll all be provided for you. (Insert major side eye.)

Any who time moves on. So I’m sitting here with no money in a foreign country needing to setup an EMPTY classroom. 

I’m frustrated. I’m irritated. I’m close to pissed. 

Between the meetings…..which are still boring and practically  useless. I’m twiddling my thumbs. Didn’t meet my TA during the first week. 

Sunday comes. I got teachers in and out my room looking but not giving any help. Someone says I get 60KD (roughly 200 US dollars) Any teacher will tell you that won’t go far. I had to hunt and sacrifice my left arm and two liters of blood to get that 60KD. Walked 3 floors and had to get 3 signatures. DUDE! I’m beyond irritated now. My friend was oh so sweet and nice enough to take me to the store. 

Teacher supplies and what have you are NOT the same or in abundance. It was depressing. I got a calendar, sentence strips, expo markers, and door decorations….grand total 25KD. Okay Melissa stop and breath….you’ve got no manipulative, games, toys, puzzles…nothing what can I get just to start with…..where can I buy it and not blow through this money.

I ended up at a sisha place that night. I was stressed and wanted to cry. I needed to be an adult and not worry about nothing. My friend has twin daughter’s and a nanny that watched Elise for me. While we had a girls night out. Yep I paid for that later. Sleep deprivation is a real thing. 

New day. Let’s try this again. I am printing off so much stuff it’s ridiculous. I may not have materials in my room but doggone it my students are gonna feel welcomed. Finally it’s looking like a classroom. Finally I’m feeling better. Finally people are actually donating materials. Don’t come for me because I ain’t come for you. My TA and I are working it out the best we can. I have the room ready for open house. We did it.

Now of course after I labeled and printed everything I get two new kids. In addition two parents tell me their child’s name is spelled wrong. Cool minor issues. 

Open house comes. I never expected a huge turnout. That’s just life. Parents don’t come to stuff like open house,.back to school night, parent teacher conferences….that’s just life. So when I see about 10 parents show up I’m amazed and happy. 

Now let me take a moment to explain something 1. One of my coworkers comes in and says she told her friend about me because I took nothing and made into something and I was very creative. Why thank you. Get out. 2.one of my parents wanted to change classrooms because I didn’t have any toys out, excuse me a lot of toys…..time all the way out…..like she straight went to my VP and went to another classroom comparing. The VP told her no go talk to the teacher. Each room will look different. You are paying for an education not room decorations. So home girl comes back and talks to myself and my TA. Leaves the room and goes to the VP and sings praises…..why thank you. Get out. I have my eye on you. 

See its things like that that makes you want to scream and beam with pride at the same time. 

I don’t take my job, my career lightly. I take great pride in what I do. I don’t like my room to busy with decorations and if I put all my stuff out the kids will be  bored by Christmas. I am more concerned about creating a warm and inviting classroom than having a busy classroom with toys on the shelf. I gotta train the kids to use them toys and clean up. Nope I know what I’m doing. 

Overall I am excited and ready for the students in Sunday. Overall the parents I met are great and supportive. 

At the end of the day they are parents. I am a teacher. They are trusting me with their child. Kids are kids. I just happen to be in a different country. 

My motto this year: Don’t come for me unless I come for you. Don’t come for me because I didn’t come for you. These two sayings will be used frequently this year I just know it. 
Update: one of my coworkers took me and others to the store and I spent 40KD for manipulatives. I now have a room with manipulatives. I’ll make games along the way. The school ran out of laminating paper. Oh well. There comes a point in your life as a teacher where you refuse to buy stuff that school provides. Guess who ain’t buying not one laminating sheet? So my games will be made when we have laminating sheets.