Sunday, 11 August 2013

Mrs Teacup in Arabia

Hello, Mrs Teacup here. Yes, its me, I'm back. Wanted to share a fascinating part of my life with you. I said before, I am Mrs Teacup. English, very very English. A teacher and a very English one. Fully qualified. Working with early years, little ones, preschool, sometimes reception, sometimes gifted children, sometimes children with special needs. Love what I do, passionate about education. Worked all over the world. Four continents. Well, three prior to this trip. A blonde pale face curvy western woman venturing into the closed enchallons of the Arabic world. A world where I would always be conspicuous and never be integrated.

In Arabia they called my class kindergarten. Thirty, four year olds, primarily Arabic speaking Arabic with English as an additional language; yes, not even as a second  language, was one the challenges I was yet to face. I had come to teach the British Curriculum in an International School, but communication with these little people was going to be my biggest obstacle. Just my accent and name was a problem. Although as time went on I was staggered to learn that the Arabic families fought and protested to be in my class, all due to my very English accent. Nothing to do with my ability as a teacher.

It was a spur of the moment decision to work and teach overseas. It was Google and the TES who assisted and gave me the confidence. On a bright and sunny Monday morning with nothing better to do, Mrs T surfed the net looking for the next exciting interlude in her life. I had no idea where I would end up but nothing could prepare me for the teaching assignment ahead. With the daughter grown and enjoying a life of her own, what was I going to do next. Within one month of application Mrs Teacup, PG Tips and all, I arrived at one of the largest airports in the world, DBX, to begin one of the most challenging chapters of my life.

Surrounded by dishdashes and the male species, Mrs T made her way to the overseas immigration entry desk. Scared alone vulnerable and lost, entry papers in hand, this conspicuous very English and western lady made her way through the very scary male dominated immigration of Dubai, DBX, largest airport in world and begin a fascinating journey, into the bowels of Arabia. An interlude never to be forgotten and never to be taken for granted. Nothing could have prepared me for what lie ahead.

So...... many hours later and after intense interrogation, I stepped out from the air conditioned flamboyant blingey airport terminal building into a dusty humid wall of heat and sweat. I had never felt heat like it anywhere else in the world and it hit you like a sledgehammer. One large suitcase in tow, I was ushered by a gesticulating man and taken alone (just me and the Arabic speaking driver) by a crappy uncomfortable rickety school bus in forty degree humidity, with no air conditioning, two hours directly north of Dubai to a small rural village, close to the Omani border in the middle of the night. This was to be my education; I was to become alone and lonely in a very different world.

To be continued.....

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