Friday, September 15, 2006

El Hazard in KG-land

I’ve somehow managed to make it through my first week of teaching KG 1. (Pre-school. For whatever reason they call it KG 1 and what really is Kindergarten is called KG2).

The first day was pretty much uneventful. The other teacher who was supposed to be coordinating the KG 1 English lesson plans quit the same day I came, so things were kinda do as you please in my class and hers. I had my kids do some coloring assignments and fix puzzles. They were pretty happy with the exception of three kids who cried in the second English period. In the morning we have the first two hours with one set of 14 kids. They all go for break and then the KG 1 English classes switch with the KG 1 Arabic class. The second set that has Arabic first in the morning is supposed to be 18 kids, we usually get 15 though, the rest are absent. They will probably come by next week. The only spot on my first day was when the assistants and bathroom ladies were no where to be found and this one kid was holding himself. I really didn’t want to have to take him to the bathroom. It’s been years since I last took a boy to the bathroom. Anywayz, as the teacher I’m responsible – if the assistants or bathroom ladies can’t be found. So I took him. All I can say was I got a 2 on a scale of 10 for that one. Somehow more (….) ended up on the floor than in the toilet but at least his uniform pants and underwear were saved! Hope I never end up in that situation again!

The second day, went pretty much the same. The first set for English is usually pretty good, albeit some of them are little devils but at least they don’t cry. The second set after break usually has 2 or 3 cry-ers. One of the crying ones, Darwish, threw up after crying his eyes out. He had calmed down a bit and was quietly letting tears stream down his face. When I looked up at him again he had vomit all down the front of his shirt, on his pants, the little kiddie sofa he was sitting on and on the play rug and floor. Y3…. The bathroom ladies are responsible for cleaning the kids up when things like that happen- thankfully. There was one girl who was really screaming her head off and throwing a complete tantrum –complete with jumping, kicking and stamping her feet. She kept wanting to go back to the Arabic class. Of course she couldn’t. Every time we turned our backs for a second we hear her screaming get further and further away as she made her way to the door that connects both classrooms with a small hall and bathroom. I couldn’t very well make sure she didn’t run to the other class and keep up with the other 14 kids so I had to do it….. took her “Shanta” (Arabic word for bag) hostage, placed it on top of the file cabinet well out of her reach. Probably the most traumatizing thing that ever happened to her but it had to be done. In the end it kept her in my classroom! She certainly wasn’t going to go running off to the Arabic class without her precious shanta. She carried on stamping, screaming and beating her head. She told me she hated me (between her screaming and crying) I told her that’s fine, she could hate me all she wanted but she wasn’t getting that bag till she shut up and stopped trying to run to the other class. She decided to get rational for a bit and came to me tugging at my clothes. She said : Please Miss, give me my shanta. I asked her what she was going to do after she got her shanta. She was really truthful and said she was going to go to the other class. Of course I couldn’t allow that so she didn’t get that bag. She screamed for the remaining hour of the class….

On the night of the second day I decided to print off a couple of preschool songs to sing with the kids and made a semi lesson plan. That third day we had a lot of fun. Even the girl, Noura, who had been screaming about her bag on the second day settled down and colored a nice picture with my assistant teacher. Only trouble for that day was when one boy decided to bite another boy while they were fighting over a pencil sharpener. The day went lots quicker though and I realized firstly that it makes a difference when you go in there knowing what you are going to do for the day. I was pretty hesitant to take a job as KG teacher cuz I’ve always heard that it’s awful. I guess if you think of it in the long run you might go crazy but I’ve been taking it a day at a time, once I’m there I focus on bearing it half hour period at a time and then before I know it it’s 12 and the kids slowly get less as the bus people come and collect the bus kids one by one and the parents come and start to get their kids. By 12:30 my classroom is usually empty. The teachers aren’t really responsible for cleaning the classrooms but the cleaners are so blinking slow in getting to my class it’s not even funny. It kills me to leave it so I clean it myself. Usually by 1 I have my classroom in order again before I drop down either on a table (since they don’t give the KG teachers in that school a proper desk and chair, they claim if they did the teacher wouldn’t interact with the kids enough.) or if my knee isn’t bothering me, one of the kiddie chairs. We get to leave the school at 2. I have no idea why since the kids finish at 12 and they say if we don’t feel like being bothered with them till the bus ppl/ parents collect them we can drop them in the TV room. I prefer to watch my kids until whoever comes for them myself.

By the fourth day things were pretty much set. The kids now understood that they had two classes and two teachers and that they have a set amount of time with each. One boy, Ahmad, decided that he didn’t want to go to the Arabic class at all that day and that he wanted to stay with the English teacher (guess I was a bit flattered). I found one of my favorite childhood books on the KG bookshelf: The Very Hungry Caterpillar. So I read it to them in English and Arabic. They loved it. One of the boys, Mansoor, who previously didn’t want to step foot in my classroom kept wandering back in when he was supposed to be in Arabic class. I think they are all enjoying English class more. Truthfully by the end of the day, despite the fact that one kid was still crying until he crapped on himself and had a neat pile of sheemot sitting right under his pants leg, I was starting to enjoy being a KG teacher. Before it was just merely the job that would fund my project. Of course I had all intention of doing my job well especially since I had to prove to a few ppl that I could be an excellent KG teacher but I wasn’t planning on enjoying it. As long as I don’t have to clean up their sheemot or vomit I’ll definitely survive inshalla. I think I might even consider being a KG teacher next year as well.. (of course maybe not in that school cuz I really hate that owner but since his crack hired me I can write that down in my resume and have a good chance in another school).
Oh and I forgot to add that by the end of that forth day, Noura tugged on my clothes to tell me something. It was a secret I guess since she had to whisper it into my ear. She said that her "Babati" (her father) was going to come and get her but she was going to come back to my class everyday. She's actually a really good kid when she's not screaming like a demon child. Her english is good as well even though I know it's her second language, maybe her maids speak english...

Wow, this must be my longest post.


Dragon said...

How the blue hell does a kid cry to the extent that a 'neat pile of sheemot' forms under his pants leg??? The smell must have been atrocious. Were the other kids looking and pointing? Did you snap a pic of this event??

El Hazard said...

Hell no I ain't snap a pic of such a thing - how unprofessional would that be?! Besides I don't even take my phone out to snap pics of the really cute kids, why would I do so for a neat pile of sheemot?

In KG of course commotion like that would make them all look and gather. As the teacher I had to break it up but as soon as I turned my back I saw two of them in the bathroom door just staring down the poor naked -still crying- kid.

The smell was pretty bad, but his throw up was worse..

Dragon said...

You could've just acted like you were comforting him and then took the pic discreetly. Hope he had a change of clothes. Poor baby prolly wished he was home and not have to go through that.