Sunday, 19 May 2013

Oh the Wonderful Things Mr Brown can do!

On Tuesday and Wednesday after weeks of waiting and worrying (for teachers), the students finally did the performances for the mothers. I played camera man on Tuesday, taking videos of the girls, although I kept having to cut whenever someone walked through the shot. The principal had told the mothers that they weren't allowed to take any photos or videos, because women don't want their skimpily clad selves caught on camera. And of course what I mean by skimpily clad is wearing something like a long sleeved shirt and ankle length skirt. One woman was about to enter the auditorium (late for your child's end of year play, how Saudi of you) when she caught sight of me filming and jumped back out the way, hastily putting on her headscarf and covering her entire face with a veil.
This is fine by me if it's really how these ladies feel- each to their own and all that, but I found it slightly contradictory when they then all wanted to take photos of me. Seriously, after the boys performance I felt like a celebrity. Everyone took my photo with their kids, and sometimes with themselves, and by the end I was standing with about twelve boys infront of an army of abaya wearing paparazzi. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't care who had a photo of me, but in a place where men never get to see women it makes me a bit uncomfortable wondering who's hands these pictures might fall into. Better not to dwell on that one I think.

I was proud of the boys and what they achieved in their little performance. Sure, it wasn't Oscar winning, but I thought they did really well at speaking in English on stage and in speaking in front of all those people. I was planning to upload it for your entertainment and delight, but after 24 hours of computer torture the exercise has been deemed impossible.
Sorry folks!
One day I hope to not be such a computer spaz.
Anyway, last week I told the students that I'm leaving at the end of the year (big fat yippee!). In the boys class this caused a wave of shock and horror. Here are some snippets of conversations we had re: my departure.

Student: You not in Grade 3 teacher?
Me: No
Student: (look of pure confusion) Why?
Me: I'm going to go somewhere else. Maybe Dubai.
Student: No problem, I come Dubai.
Me: Or maybe Spain.
4 students: No problem, we come Spain!

We made some folders for them to put their English work in. They decorated them with crayons and pictures and glitter, which the boys enjoyed more than I expected.
One boy came up to me and said:
"Teacher, how spelling 'teacher Rachel is the best teacher?'"
Trying not to crack a smile I replied:
"Well, Teacher and Rachel are both on the board, you work the rest out."
He nodded and went back to his desk. About five minutes later he came back:
"Teacher, how spelling best?"

He's written teacher Rachel is the best teacher on the inside of his folder. The next day another boy opened it and read it out loud, to which the first boy got all embarrassed and slammed his folder shut. Ah so sweet.

My vain hope for these lovely eight year old Saudi boys is that they will grow into good people, not disrespectful bigheaded teenagers who drive around wearing thobes (the white dress and red and white tea towel, for want of a less racist description), thinking they're the biggest, best men in the world, swerving about the street like maniacs and shouting insults at foreigners.
But alas, I fear for most of them their path is already set. Still, a girl can dream can't she?

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