September 2, 2013
Yesterday was a banner day for both the number of readers and the number of followers to my blog. And they all stopped by via a blog party we had all been invited to: http://suzie81.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/its-the-end-of-the-summer-lets-party/
In addition to being an end of summer party, it was a B.Y.O.B. party as well (Bring Your Own Blog post). Party attendees were to choose a post from their blog to share with the rest of the group. I chose a post directly related to my teaching experiences in the Middle East. Now, although my dear Readers who have been following my blog since the beginning of this year, know that I have since returned to the states, I know my new followers do not.
It is here that I must ask my faithful followers to bear with me. I decided that I would re-post some of my musings that I had made available through my previous web site. Since I dismantled the aforementioned web site, my posts are no longer available to my new followers. I guess I could just skip blogging about my time in the Middle East and continue posting about my current position in a traditional American public school . However, I think in retail marketing, that is what is called “Bait and Switch”.
So, without further ado…Thoughts From A Broad
The following post was the beginning of my journey. It is dated February 10, 2013 and it is truly my very first impression of the girls that I would be teaching.
It is my first day teaching at an all girls’ high school. The school day begins with an assembly. The students are chattering excitedly. The first day back to school after the weekend brings talks of new adventures and new gossip. The buzz in the auditorium is energetic and infectious. The smiles, the laughter and the playfulness can hardly be contained as the speaker calls for attention. At last, quiet, somewhat.
Looking around, I see pictures of leaders and famous countrymen and bulletin boards festooned in the country’s colors. Stapled to the bulletin boards are student essays on teen pop stars: Taylor Swift, One Direction, Alicia Keys and even Linkin Park and Nickelback. Of course, these come complete with pictures from the internet.
Continuing to scan the crowd, dear Readers, I observe that each student finds a way to express her individuality. Given the fact that the students must wear uniforms, the individuality is most often expressed in their shoes. I would describe their shoes as utilitarian with a dash of panache. For example, black Converse with bright, neon pink laces, plain black tennis shoes with extremely long laces, deliberately untied, and…Well, you get the idea. Working with teenage girls, and having had two of my own, I can easily spot the non-conformists, the over-achievers, the socially shy, and yes, even the bleeding heart liberals. I know that I will come face-to-face with each and every one of these young ladies throughout the course of my day and I’m not even scared, just a bit nervous. Most people I’ve spoken with about teaching have said that they would run away from a classroom full of teenage girls; not me. But then again, I’m not most people.
Teenage girls’ lives are “such stuff as dreams are made on”.
“I want to be a surgeon,”
“I want to be a movie producer,”
“I want to be an engineer,”
“I want to be a nuclear physicist,”
“Miss, she’s a nerd,”
“I want to own my own beauty shop,”
And my own personal favorite, “Miss, I want to change the world and volunteer to work for peace.” Woah! This is heady stuff.
At the end of the day dear Readers, “it’s a truth universally aknowledged” that a teenage girl is a teenage girl is a teenage girl. My first day teaching high school at an all girls’ school in the Middle East could have been my first day teaching high school at an all girls’ high school in the United States.
Here are the differences: pictures of leaders and the country’s colors. Instead of George Washington, Barrack Obama and red, white and blue, it’s Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Rashid and red, white, black and green.
And the similarities: everything else.
Yes dear Readers, that’s right, everything else. Teenage girls around the world chatter, they gossip, they seek to belong and they seek to be individuals. They love pop music, pop stars and popcorn.
Teenage girls the world over have dreams; dreams they will strive to achieve, dreams they will hold close, dreams to leave this world a better place. And sadly, dreams they will never realize,
“But Miss, my parents won’t approve me being a movie producer, so I’m gonna study what they want for me and become a dentist.”
Hmmm, so this is where dreams go to die. And so it begins. Peace. ~v.