Saturday, September 24, 2005

Swiftly Go My Days

A little update for school. I am loving where I am right now. Teaching is good, life is good. I have had to work very hard these first couple of weeks, but it is starting to ease up a little. I have a little more free time than other teachers so I have taken it upon myself to be checking on "MY" classes all the time. I follow my ninth grade to every class that I can to make sure that they get there on time. It is begining to work, only one person was late to class this week as opposed to about ten last week.

It is hard for these students to understand the concept of personal responsibility. Holding that to be true, you can imagine how hard some other aspects of school are for them. If they are late it is not their fault, if they are talking in class it is not their fault. I had a class that was left in my room unattended for an entire period. They kicked a soccer ball around and put marks on my walls and went through my desk. Needless to say when I got in from PE and saw that my room had been torn up I was angry. I had the entire class stay for detention. They had to write an apology letter. They did, however no one claimed responsibility and only one person bothered to tell me the truth. So they stayed with me everyday until they told me the truth and admitted what they did. They just could not understand that even though the administration messed up and left them alone that it was their responsibility not to tear up my room. "But, they left us alone, what were we going to do?" uhmmmm how about not kick a soccer ball around the room? Sheesh!

I have been holding detention in my room everyday during lunch for two reasons. One reason is that there is not room enough for all of the detention students anywhere else. The other is that most of them are mine anyways and I want to show them that when they misbehave I will be following them every step of the way. Not only am I the teacher, but I am the one you answer to when you make a mistake. I have been really hard on "MY" classes, but in the same respect I have explained to them and shown them why I have done this. I need them to understand that they are "MY" class even when they are not in my class room. I work hard to teach them and have them do the right thing. When you work hard at something it has worth to you. Therefore all my students have worth to me and are "MY" classes and when they misbehave in other classes it still affects me. I am here for them all of the time, be it good or bad. Most of the kids are starting to get it.

Ramadan starts in about a week. Every school day will be shortened to get out at 2 instead of 3. That will be kinda nice, but the class periods will be so short then that it will be difficult to get much done. Looks like it will turn out to be more of a project month than anything else. In case anyone one is wondering Ramadan is about a month long and is a time when all Muslims are expected to fast from sun up to sun down, if they are not old enough, not pregnant, not sick,.... you get the idea, then they don't have to or make it up at some other time. Fasting means, no food, no water, no cigarettes, nothing. So most people wake up early and eat a bucket full of food and than fast all day. Around three or four most people are getting home from work or school and take a nap until nine or so. Then they will stay up eating and such until the early morning hours. Then they sleep for a few more hours and then get up to eat and then go to work/school again. It is a crazy month. I think I am going to try and keep with the custom. I almost do it now anyways. I eat a very little bit in the morning and then don't have anything but water until about four at night. If I can stretch that out a little then I will be within the limits.
Arabic classes are going well. I am learning new things everyday and picking up little bits of conversation which is nice, but i am still not at the level to hold a conversation with anyone. We get off for October 6th because of the anniversary of the "victory" over Israel. I think my roomate and I are going up to Alexandria to stay the weekend with a teacher freind. I'll take lots of pictures.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I have been having a little trouble with Spam on the blog. Therefore I am enacting word verification. This means that when you leave a comment it will ask you to type in some word. This is to thwart auto spam dealies. It shouldn't be too hard. thanks

Mayumi and I

This picture was taken right after a Felucca ride and about half a second before Yumi pointed at her brain through her nose.

Playing Futbol In Sandals Is Stupid

The other week I was playing futbol (soccer) with the kids in my ninth grade class. We were playing on a cement surface and after consideration i decided to play despite the fact that I was wearing sandals. Part of my toenail is what I payed for that decision. It didn't really hurt too much and it was worth it to play with the kids and get to know them.



Here in Cairo and in most of the rest of the Mediteranean and Middle East, it is common to smoke a sheisha while having coffee, drinks, or before and after dinner. It is a nice way for freinds to gather around a common object and enjoy themselves. How does it work? Well, let me explain. The shiesha, or as we call it in the states, Hukia, is basically a large water pipe. You will see the man in the picture putting large coals on top. These coals are placed on a screen that is right above a chamber that holds tobacco. The tobacco has many sweet flavors like apple, cherry, mango, and so on. The coals heat the tobacco but never actually touch it. The smoke then enters the lower chamber and is filtered by the water in the bottom of the chamber. Most sheishas have only one tube coming off of them, but some have more. It is very smooth and sweet smoke, but i have heard that they are far worse for you than cigarettes.

The Other Day On the Way To School

On the way to school this past week we were slowed down along the highway. The truck in the photo had jumped the median and gotten stuck halfway across.

Monday, September 12, 2005

School Days

I have now been teaching, for real, for about a week and i am starting to get a feel for the classes that I have. Most of my kids are good, academically and behavioral. Some you can see the evil in their eyes. I haven't had too many problems yet. I have kicked out three kids and have given four detentions. Detentions are bad for me because there is not a room to put them in at the moment. So if I want to give one then it has to be in my room which means that i have to give up my lunch. I have a desk and white erase boards and a set of class books. The kids still do not have books of their own or lockers.

One of the most etntertaining things is teaching PE. Yesterday I played basketball against some of the eleventh graders. I was actually one of the better players. It felt very strange. I also play futbol and throw the frisbee around. That is all that I have done so far. In a few weeks we will start a unit for American football. It is really funny because a female teacher and I are the head teachers for around 300 students. Everything is up to us.

Life here is still going well. I joined a course at the local community center taking arabic. I am hoping that, according to the five year plan, once I am back in the states wherever i go to grad school will accept arabic as a form of Mediteranean Studies instead of having to take Greek or Latin. Either way it will be nice to have so that one day I can snap on a kid in class and do it in arabic. I haven't been doing much lately, just preparing to teach and going out around town. Hope things are going well in the states.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised...

However, it will be posted on my blog. Today was the first official day. Although most of it was spent doing nothing. I only got to meet with one of my classes, ninth graders. They were pretty cool except for one kid who will be having frequent high volume chats with me. Not much else to say. Hopefully monday i will have met with some of the other students in my tenths grades. On a lighter note, one of the administrators told me to watch out because some of the senior girls having been talking about me. ;)