On being in Kuwait, and just being

Well it sure has been a while!  School began September 6th, and life has been moving at a neck-breaking pace ever since.

There’s so much I’d like to say about the weather, the culture, the food, the people, the teaching, the parents, my students, the school, but it’s 10:30 on a Thursday (the Middle-eastern Friday) night and I’m too tired to go into all that.  I just wanted to touch base and say that I’m still here, doing relatively well.

This picture alone could inspire a blog post.

To be honest, I knew that the first year of full-time teaching would be tough, but I’ve been amazed at how much work it really is.  On top of tending to the needs of each student, planning lessons, and grading papers, the school gives us plenty of things to turn in (mostly just in the beginning of the school-year, but since this is the time that us newbies are already having to adjust and adapt in major ways, it’s a difficult time to have to do SO much).  I regularly wake up before 5 am and reach school around 6:00.  After my girlies leave at 2:30, I’m often working on school-related material until late into the evening, with only a break for the drive home, dinner, and, eventually, sleep.  I realized this last week that I was sacrificing my own well-being for this job, and that sanity and health are something one should never give up for anything!  My goal for this upcoming week is to attain more balance; actually start exercising, making sure I’m eating three nutritious meals a day, getting at least six hours of sleep a night (and never waking up at 2 am to finish something- EVER!), keeping my apartment tidy.  I’ve quickly realized that when I don’t tend to all of my needs and, instead, push myself in one area (work), I burn out and end up ineffective in even that one area.

On a brighter note, I’m happy to say that the people I’ve met here are just wonderful.  The new teachers, my fellow fifth grade teachers, my principal, and other teachers in my building.  They have all been so supportive.  I’m looking forward to the day when I have teaching under control enough to even branch out and meet people outside of my school life.  I’m thinking sailing club and Arabic classes would be fun places to start.

Bowling to celebrate one of the newbies’ birthday!

Lastly, I enjoy my fifty-nine students and they love me.  As the year goes on, I’m sure their honeymoon phase will fade, but so far, they’ve been pretty great.

I was having a hard time learning all of my students’ names, so I made this picture frame out of leftover matting from a frame I bought, then had them write their names on a small dry erase slate, hold it up; stick their face in the frame; and smile for the camera. The pictures are too cute, and super helpful (I can use them like flash cards on my laptop). I plan on emailing or printing and giving them to the students’ parents at the end of the year.

I’ll try and update more when I can.  Know that I am enjoying myself, even though living and teaching here is a challenge.  Kuwait is a pretty good place to be holed up in for a first year of teaching; there aren’t many exciting things calling my name, keeping me from doing what I need to do: get that dreaded first year of teaching not only under-my-belt, but conquered!  Maybe even enjoy my job and life in the process 🙂

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5 thoughts on “On being in Kuwait, and just being

  1. Hi, Tricia. I hope this message finds you in good health and continuing to enjoy life!!! I love reading about your travels! You are such an inspiration! I often tell students about you. One student just returned from a transformational experience in Cuba. She was telling me that she is interested in teaching outside of the US. I immediately thought of you and about putting her in touch with you. I think you are an excellent person for her to communicate with. I told her I would find out how she can contact you via e-mail. Then I thought, if you are agreeable, you can introduce yourself to her. She is Mary Heinen, an excellenter person and student. Her e-address is mary.heinen@washburn.edu. Take Care!!!!

  2. Yvette, you are so sweet. I hardly think of myself as an inspiration, but if I can guide another Washburn student and help her teach overseas, I’ll gladly do so. I just emailed her. Thanks!

  3. I love getting your posts – learing about you and learning abou something and somewhere that I never experienced. I am hearing your same thoughts from many other first year teachers here in the states – they just never imagined the work that actually goes into teaching. Take my word that it will get better – near the end of this year and definitely next year. Please keep in touch and know someone back here is thinking of you. Dr. Coester

  4. Lee Anne (in response to your email comment, I am happy to know you on a first-name basis!), thanks for the encouragement. I see teachers who have worked at this school for a few years, and it seems so much easier for them! I know it will be easier for me as the year progresses. Thanks for thinking of me 🙂 I definitely tap into my Dr. Coester examples when I’m planning lessons, so I think of you too!

  5. It DOES get easier! Even though my second year of teaching was in a different school from my first and with different grade levels, I already felt better since I already had one year of experience. And now that I’m in my third year, I’m even more confident! 🙂 I totally laughed in agreement with your comment: “never waking up at 2 am to finish something- EVER!” Several times I’ve debated on whether to sleep “early” (before 11 pm) and get up insanely earlier to get work done, or to stay up late to get work done. I remember one time I taught with only two hours of sleep—NOT good. I’ve never done that again! It will get better and better. Hang in there! You have the support of so many people, and we all know you will do freakin’ awesome! 🙂

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