Friday, September 14, 2007

Back to the Blog: Life in Qatar

I think I have had 'bloggers block'! August 23 was my last blog post. I wish I had the time to blog everyday. I wish I had the time to read more blogs and respond and connect....sadly life is very hectic here in Qatar.

I have now reached the end of the first full week of teaching. I have now seen all of my 12 individual classes, spread across 5 different year levels (Grade 6-10). I have also started to get a handle on what the administrative part of my job here at Qatar Academy is. Essentially the two parts of my job don't quite correlate as the energy and time I need for the former (being in class and with so many different young people and curriculum needs) negates the energy I have left for the latter. It is early days yet, don't get me wrong, I am so excited to be here and part of this international school and there is SO MUCH potential but there is so much to do! Do I have the patience and energy to do it? I invite you to keep reading this blog and find out ;-).

For a start out of 1300 students and way over 100 teachers I have not found anyone else who blogs, or uses wikis, or any other Web 2.0 tools. Admittedly I do not know everyone yet. However, I keep hearing about the value of word processing and the joys of PowerPoint and cringe inside. From what my new students tell me the approach to IT has been quite conservative. There is plenty of hardware around and licensed software but I do not detect innovation, I do not yet detect any feeling for a 21st learning environment that values the use of IT tools. There is the start of a mobile computing program......some students bring in laptops and connect to the fairly new WLAN, BUT many teachers do not want laptops in their classes and talk about them being a 'distraction'........I have been there and done this before. I will blog about this again later. For now, life is getting into order and professionally the year will be a challenge that I very much looking forward to.

Here are some images of our first few weeks in Qatar.

The front entrance to the senior school at Qatar Academy

Our apartment is in this building at Education City Community Housing (ECCH)

A glimpse of the surrounding gardens and layout at ECCH

More photos of Qatar can be found on my Flickr account. Here is a Flickr slideshow of all Qatar photos so far.

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Jim Gates said...

LOVED the pictures on Flickr. It looks like such an amazing place and I truly admire your adventurous spirit that takes you to these places.

It's interesting that the teachers still feel that the computers are distractions. I guess still not enough teachers have been taught using the 21st century techniques for them to know what it looks like. And THEY don't even have NCLB to worry about.

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about feeling the "been there, done this" vibe... It always surprises me to get to a new school and find that they haven't had someone in my position in the past, or that the person in my position hasn't been very innovative, so it's almost as if there was no one really there.

I always imagine that if I've been doing this job for seven years (since I started teaching), then every school must have had someone doing this job for at least the past seven years. Sadly, I'm starting to realize that that's definitely not always the case...

Ghassan G. said...

It's not easy to introduce E-learning , Web 2.0 tools and mobile computing into the classroom. Often, the teacher feels "insecure" if his own vital space (the classroom hour) is suddenly opened for "intruders" (laptops, new methods of teaching, etc..).

In my trainings for instructors, i take the newbie-tech teacher into a virtual tour: i try to show him/her the benefits of such tools through a sample course on an LMS (ie. Moodle, WebCt, Blackboard,...)

When he sees the potential, the fear disappear and he's ready to move forward!

I always keep this leitmotiv in my mind in my training approach: "I don't care what you know...If I don't know that you care" and so far, the online experience of my trainees amazed me.

So, "patience" need lot of patience, Judy!