And She Went On to Become the “Most Famous Teacher in Doha”

 “Has anyone been to America lately? Any Americans in here?” Maz Jobrani asks the audience of nearly 3,000 during the Doha Comedy Festival.  A few people cheer.  I may have cheered the loudest.

“What’s your name?” He asks and it takes a few seconds to realize he is asking ME!

“Nancy!” I shout and he and everyone in the hall hears me!

“Do you live here? How long have you been here?”

Now I do – 4 weeks!”

“So, what are you doing here?”

“I’m a teacher!” The crowd starts to cheer.

“Teacher?”  a few people scream and it appears as if I have fans!  Maz is A-Maz-ed, “I’ve never seen so many people applaud for a teacher.  Nancy!  You’re famous!  You’ve only been here a week and you have fans?” more applauding and I’m in stitches.

“Nancy, what are people going to think when you go back to the US?”

  • Yes, it is hot
  • No, it is not dangerous
  • Yes, I can go anywhere freely
  • No, I do not need to cover my head
  • Yes, it is recommended that you dress modestly
  • No, it is not hard to find things to do
  • Yes, I think I’m going to like it here!


We arrived as the sun was setting, sending a final blast of hot air, comparable only to the air hitting your face as you open a broiling hot oven, over Hamad International Airport.

Our arrival was anything but glamorous.  We stumbled off the plane, down a flight of stairs, onto a crowded bus, past Disney-like lines at customs and confusion at baggage claim with 12 pieces of luggage.  Finally, we were welcomed with open arms by a lead teacher and the director of my new school.   I was sweaty, maybe a bit overwhelmed and full of excitement.  By the time we left the airport it was dark out and just as hot as when we left the plane.


I haven’t had a lot of free time over the last 2 months.  I have a lot of work to do being in a new school, in a new country with a new MYP curriculum.  I have met a lot of great new neighbors and co-workers and I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know them better.  For an introvert such as myself, it has been tough being so social, but I am so grateful to the people who pull me out of my shell and invite me into their lives!

Stressors: 

  • Getting my license so I can drive is quite a chore.  All sorts of extra steps have now put a delay of over 2 months!  I then hired a driver and he quit after 2 weeks because the drive is so early and so long! I’m now taking Über and begging for rides from co-workers!
  • To get a nanny or not?  It’s the thing to do here but I’m not so comfortable hiring someone for cheap to do all my housework and watch my kids. So far we’ve gone with a part-time helper pay her very well. 

Stress-relief:

  • Our amazing club house where we go swimming in the evenings is surrounded by palm trees, a playground and a restaurant!

 

  • Brunch like I’ve never experienced before!  Spice Market with KBell, Jen S., and our “Trophy Husbands” turned out to be the best 4 hours I’ve ever spent in a restaurant!

 

  • Eid Celebrations at Katara Cultural Village:  Shows, gifts for the kids and fireworks!
  • My apartment is spacious and comfortable, which is necessary after a long day.  And help with cleaning the place is a text message away!
  • My next door neighbor is like an angel – she has helped with so many adjustments and she has little kids too!  So she gets it!
  • LadyZ is in PreK and she loves it!  The school is truly a gem!


I’m going to let pictures speak for themselves for a while – who knows when I’ll have enough time to write!  Besides, I’m a newbie, so I don’t know what I’m saying yet anyhow.  Just know that I’m so glad I have this opportunity!


PS: To the audience at the Doha Comedy Festival 2017, thanks for making me feel welcome in this beautiful city! Maz, let’s talk again real soon!

 

Advertisements

A Year in D.C.

I’m not quite sure that the cemetery they decided to rest your ashes in is actually in the center of Queens.  But standing in front of the majestic mauseoleum, I can see the Manhattan skyline. I see rows of graves on a pleasant incline, a few grand trees offering shade.  On one side of the cemetery is a Queens stuck in the past and on the other side is Queens embracing the future.  The two of you, in the center of it all.  I know you didn’t come all this way to stop here.  I know you would tell me to live.  Breathe deep and then run.  Go and don’t be afraid.

It’s coming up on a year since we left New York.  The decision to leave our life in a hectic city and try out a new, slightly less, hectic city has had it’s highs and lows.  I’m amazed at how a huge disappointment led to a year of learning, exploration, and what feels something like “Chasing the Sun” here in North Virginia/D.C.   I’ll admit, it is not the calm, wooded scene I thought we were looking for.  In fact, a few weeks after we moved here, we were visiting family in North Carolina, enjoying the silence, and hubby says, “I think we made a mistake.”

But it hasn’t been.  Not for either of us.  I gained a whole new perspective in education by working with a forward-thinking school.  It was the jolt to my teaching system that I needed.  Privileged or poor, middle schoolers are in an “all about me” stage.  I got them to see the value in their unique talents and how it makes a positive difference in the world.  

My husband left his accounting job in New York and delved into filmmaking.  Once a hobby, it is now a blossoming career.  He filmed an event recently and I asked him, “Did you enjoy it?” and he quickly responded, “I would have done it for free!”  He filmed Rita Moreno at the Kennedy Center and completed a film program at George Washington University!  Makes that ping-pong table at his old office look really pathetic.  A recent comedian commented that Immigrants have 4 career choices – Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer or Accountant.  I get why he thought being an accountant was a good idea…ok, no I don’t.  Accounting sounds boring as hell.

And the kids?  My 4 year old is studying art techniques and swimming full time.  The 2 year old has perfected his station as Daddy’s best buddy, Mommy’s sweet angel and his Big Sister’s worst nightmare.  He studies trains and dinosaurs at length and can list creatures of the Jurassic better than he can recite his ABC’s.  They’re fine even if, for a while, they kept asking when are we going home? And why does it take so long to get to Gabby and Sophia’s house now?

As I write this, I’m not sure if we are staying or going.  We hope to be going, but still no confirmation.  Staying will be expensive – it’s no cheaper to live here than it was in New York.  In fact, it is more expensive as our kids need private education until they’re both 5!  The cost of pre-school here is somewhere up there with the cost of college tuition.  But staying would mean more learning for me and more career development for him.  Our kids…I’m not worried about keeping them home a bit longer.  I can’t see my 2 year old sitting in a classroom anyhow.

Grandma, Grandpa, I can’t say I will visit you here often because, I know you’re not here.  You’re somewhere beyond the sun, soaking in the rays, hand in hand. You’re looking at me half smiling and half laughing because you already know what will happen.  Your children all left at some point.  Two joined the Navy.  Two went home to Ecuador.  The two girls off and married.  Each and everyone came back, eventually.  Even the one uncle, the one who headed off to Texas and seemed to never come back – he’s back now.  Now! Even though you’re gone.  And I don’t think he’s leaving again.  It’s not even about New York.  Screw New York.  it’s about you.  We all just want to be near you.  Someday, I will be back too.

So what has life been like in a new city?  What’s it like to pick up and leave New York after  30+ years of living there?  The series of posts to follow will give you an idea of the ups and downs of moving your family to a new city, DC, and life outside of New York.  

Grandma, Grandpa, and Mom in the 1970’s.

I’ll be channeling Sara Bareilles as we go as she seems to be singing my soul right now.

https://youtu.be/hNkmQmh3zww?list=RDhNkmQmh3zww

Chasing the Sun – Sara Bareilles

It’s a really old city

Stuck between the dead and the living

So I thought to myself,

Sitting on a graveyard shelf

As the echo of heartbeats,

From the ground below my feet

Filled a cemetery

In the center of Queens…

You said, remember that life is

Not meant to be wasted

We can always be chasing the sun!

So fill up your lungs and just run

But always be chasing the sun!

All we can do is try

And live like we’re still alive

All we can do is try

And live like we’re still alive


***Update***

Confirmed to depart for my 1st teaching job abroad on August 3rd!

Top News Story Today: Arab Countries Cut Ties to Qatar

Each morning, I start my day with NPR news on the car radio.  Today, as if on a loop, the headlines all began with “Qatar.”  Today, as I am driving down to Richmond, VA to visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia to finalize more papers for working abroad, I learn that there is “tension brewing from the countries surrounding Qatar” – the country I am headed for.  Today, June 5, 2017, the same day all my authenticated paperwork arrives from the Qatar Consulate of New York…I am wondering if I will be needing all these papers at all….

My weekend started out great, thanks to Kennesha at American Teacher in Qatar.  She gave me a lot of encouraging advice and tips on life as a teacher in Qatar.  What stands out most?  Don’t listen to what they say in the news. I have a great appreciation for the free press, however, true Journalism exposes truths; money and greed twist it.  

Virginia Capitol
Monday morning, I hit the road nice and early for a nearly 2 hour drive to Richmond. I enjoy 5 minutes of Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. His soft voice and soothing poems usually prepare me for a day of English Teaching. After he bids farewell with, “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch,” I listen on to the news headlines. I feel like I can trust NPR as being a reliable, fair media source.  My ears perk at the mention of “Qatar” and then my thoughts begin to race as I hear the words over and over: “Several countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar… ” What does this mean?

It’s too early to tell, but am I looking at yet another dream deferred?

“It seemed like reaching for the moon” – Barbara Johns

“Unfortunately…”

Rejection is never easy and you’ve got to believe that there’s another path you’re meant to be on.  Still, it’s not easy hearing “No.”

I was a mere 18 years old when I was fired from my first “real”job as a secretary at Bonnette Associates*.  The office was located on quaint, tree-lined Seventh Street in Garden City, NY. As one of four secretaries, my job duties included typing letters, making photocopies and getting Paul’s coffee.  I was also expected to get Ms. Cauffer’s husband coffee when he visited the office.  Fitting in also meant playing “cheerleader” at their annual golf events and dressing up as a bear for their winter costume party.  So, when Ms. Cauffer said, “I don’t think you’re a right fit for this company,” the day she fired me, she couldn’t have been more correct.  This didn’t make it any easier to accept.  I actually loved the other secretaries and associates I worked with.  I loved going to lunch at the Newport Grill or Orchid.  I loved that we had a snack room with pretzels and mustard.  I was 18.  So for the next few hours, after cleaning out my desk, I cried to my sister as she worked a shift folding shirts at the Gap, in Roosevelt Field.  And then I booked a trip to Florida to visit family and get some perspective.

As tough as it was to deal with this rejection, if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have ended up finding a job with Bell Labs and working with 3 amazing women in the advertising department.  Each of them had gone to college and landed a job they loved.  While I was once again a secretary, the company atmosphere was a lot different.  My boss, Cathy, VP of Advertising, did not expect me to fetch her coffee.  When we had clients come in for meetings, I was introduced as the Media and Promotions Assistant rather than secretary # 4.  I was invited to review promotional products and my opinion actually mattered!  Sorry to the artist whose song “Peaches” didn’t make it into our commercial!

At our 6 month review, Cathy brought me into her office to go over my work.  She complimented my organization, my initiative and my intelligence.  Her words have stuck with me all this time.  “Go to college.  You’re too smart for this.”

I enrolled in a writing program at LIU 3 months later and the rest is education history!

So, when I received the email from the recruiter for Qatar schools saying, “Unfortunately, the school has decided to move forward with another candidate…” my heart ached and my head swirled and my eyes burned.  I didn’t find the need to flat out sob, but that was due to having my husband and babies around to make me feel better.

I jumped on the computer as soon as I had a moment to start applying to other jobs abroad. I found a few schools looking for teachers directly and sent out my resume and registered with a few more sites to keep my options flowing.

Less than 24 hours after that email, I got a few text messages from fellow candidates I met in the New York City interview for Abu Dhabi.  “I got an email!” “I’m moving forward!” “Contracts will be sent out within the next few weeks!”  I updated my email screen a dozen times until my email came.  I took a deep breath, read the words and sighed in relief.  I’m on to the next round with Abu Dhabi!  I have no contract, so this is not set in stone, but it’s a very good sign!

Rejection just means there’s another path you’re meant to be on!

*Company names have been changed for privacy

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m A Peach”

“What team do you play for?”

“I’m a Peach, sir.” 

“Really? Because I can’t understand why you would…..are you crying?  Are you crying? There’s no crying in baseball! There’s no crying in baseball!”

– A League of Their Own

Well. I’m a Teach-er, not a Peach, sir. And there’s plenty of crying in teaching. I remember at the end of my first year of teaching, last day of school, the tears came rolling down as I drove home.  I didn’t cry the entire year despite getting placed as a literacy teacher instead of a regularly appointed English teacher. Despite traveling to 11 different classrooms on 4 different floors across 2 separate wings of the school, instead of having my own classroom. Despite having a student (Alexandria-never forget THAT name) behave so badly that she had to be removed from the class permanently to sit with the dean. I remember my mentor calling me the “Rookie of the year” and me thinking “you’re damn right I am.”  And suddenly the tears began to pour. 

I’ve seen plenty of teachers cry throughout their first year. The feeling of “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “I don’t know what to expect” is overwhelming. It’s no wonder so many quit within the 1st few years! It takes a certain type of person to teach!  You might call this type of person “crazy.”

So I feel a bit “crazy” for putting all this effort into something that is going to be as challenging as that 1st year. Our dining room table is stacked with papers, documents, lesson plans and portfolio pieces I’ve decided didn’t make the cut. The rest of the house is in disarray because I’ve been so focused on the interviews that I have no time to put all the playdough in a secure location. Two suitcases were discarded for a small carry-on when I saw the $25 baggage fee for AA. “Mommy, can I come to work with you?” Baby Z asked before I left for JFK. “I wish, but your plane ticket is no longer free.”

I flew down to Atlanta, home of the Georgia Peaches, on Sunday and checked into the Omni Downtown (Rockford Peaches were from Illinois BTW and I didn’t see a peach anywhere in Georgia. I was so hoping to meet one, namely, on the dessert menus).  The Omni was a quick walk across Centennial Park and Atlanta’s “London Eye” to the hotel where interviews for Qatar would take place. I was looking forward to doing some sight seeing, eating southern food and sushi, and getting lots of extra sleep.  

If you’re ever in Atlanta, may I recommend the following:

1. Download and use UBER. It is very affordable  compared to UBER New York. Somehow, I did not feel comfortable on their MARTA trains at all and I ride the A Train in New York. 

2. Enjoy a ride on their cute little streetcar. And then realize you could’ve walked to all the stops within 30 minutes. Ah well, it’s only a dollar and it gets you to Dr. King’s birth home in no time at all. 

3. Go to Eight Sushi Lounge for amazing Nigri and a delightful, welcoming staff. I really wanted to eat there everyday, but I had to get something southern. 

4. I went to Gus’s World Famous for fried chicken and it was ok. I went to The Food Shoppe for shrimp and grits and they were delicious! I only need add a dash of hot sauce to enhance the experience.  The chef offered me a sample of chicken and Mac – perfection!  At Ted’s Montana Grill, the wait staff does a great job of describing each homemade dish but, I didn’t find it to be anymore tasty than a box of frozen apps from Friday’s. 

5. Do all your fun sight seeing before going on your job interview. Because after is a sea of great unknowns. 

I went into the interview feeling confident and assured. I met with the director of schools and we had a great conversation on education, life in various cities and my family!  He asked to see pictures of the kids. He seemed delighted and asked me to interview with a second person, the director of the ELL program. I was thrilled!  After an hour or so, I met my second interviewer and my confidence dropped. His questions were a lot tougher. How do you identify a student with a learning disability vs. a language barrier? How do you assess a students progress when they can’t be measured by state exams? What assessments are given to your students and what do they look like? If a student is identified with a learning disability, what recommendations do you make to their resource team and what adjustments do you make to ensure learning is taking place in your classroom?

These were questions that I had answers to, but I wasn’t articulating them as clearly as I would’ve liked. As I flipped through my portfolio I got the sense he was not incredibly impressed. And as I walked out of the room, I didn’t get a “I look forward to having you work with us” vibe. 

I thanked the recruiter and headed back to the hotel. The drab gray sky and overly chilly weather (and flurries) fit my mood perfectly.  I tried to nap but woke after only 20 minutes. Then I got a text from an amazing teacher and fellow candidate I met while waiting to interview. As it turns out, we are actually neighbors in Queens, NY!  We met for lunch and drinks and I began to feel much better. “If it’s meant for you then it will be.” 

So as I sit on this plane bound for home, I tense up, not knowing what to expect and question if I really know what I’m doing. I am grateful for the opportunity to review what 13 years of teaching looks like. I’ve defined my teaching philosophy, solidified my resume and gathered valuable artifacts that show who I am as an educator. The interviews are over and now we wait.  There’s nothing to cry over just yet. 

Interview Invitations

If you could move anywhere, where would you go?  Would you want the change of seasons?  Do you love the heat year round? Can you handle only a month or two of summer?  If you could move anywhere and not have to worry about the weather, where would that be?

This past weekend we had “Blizzard-like Conditions” here in New York and along the mid-eastern sea-board.  A “Coastal Flood Watch” was in effect and Mayor Deblasio issued a travel advisory.  “Stay home and off the roads!” I’m pretty traumatized after Sandy.  Any flood warning gets me packing an emergency-go-bag.  We didn’t just lose a house – we lost our car, too!  A one-year-old Toyota 4Runner that we bought after Hurricane Irene drowned our Sonata.  “This will keep us safe in a flood,” we thought!  Luckily, when Sandy hit, we weren’t home.  Our car was. When we got to it 5 days later, the cup-holders and coin catchers were still filled with sea water.

“Congratulations!  You have been invited to interview with Qatar Schools in Atlanta, GA.”

“I am indeed only looking for real, experienced educators – which is why I think you could be a good fit…if you have time, I would like to arrange a Skype interview with you this week?”

“Thank you for your continued interest in a teaching position with Abu Dhabi schools. We are pleased to provide you with the venue for your upcoming interview in New York”

Aside from Abu Dhabi and Qatar, I also submitted an inquiry to a school in China.  The recruiter got back to me quickly and stated I was more than qualified and could I set up a Skype Interview?  China?  While the salary and benefits pale in comparison to Qatar and Abu Dhabi, how amazing would it be to spend a year in China? In less than two weeks, I will have interviewed with three different countries with three different benefits packages.  I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but which would/should I choose? All offer an exciting change.  I’m over the moon at the prospects!  But let’s knock me back down to earth and remember these are just interviews, not offers.

My Supervising AP wrote me a letter of recommendation and without going into specifics, I told him it was for a few amazing teacher opportunities coming up this summer.  “It’s a long-shot, but I need to get a fresh perspective.”  A completely true statement.  Teaching in the same school for 13 years is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s like when you outlive everyone.  My mentors are gone.  My teaching buddies are gone or on their way out.  We all say we’ll keep in touch, but we never really do.

The blessing is that I have had the privilege of teaching some of the most amazing students in all of New York. Although the students change every two years, I am confident that my classes will (mostly) be a pleasure to teach.  No lie.  My kids are absolutely awesome!  We serve a large population of newcomers from every region of the world.  Whether it’s Bangladesh, Ecuador, Dominican Republic or Yemen, the students come with respect for teachers and respect for their own education.  It is a respect I don’t easily find in American students.  While my American students are a pleasure as well, they have a bit of a lack of appreciation for free education.

Next blessing is tenure.  That’s not an easy thing to give up.  And seniority in my building – It’s the type of job security most people dream of.  If I could afford to live in New York on this salary, I wouldn’t consider ever leaving!

The “blizzard” was the second snow of the winter season and quite a significant pile-up.  Baby Z demanded to go outside after breakfast on Saturday, so we bundled her up in layers of clothing, snow suit, boots, hat, gloves, scarf and a smile.  5 minutes later she was in tears, begging to come inside!  “Not as fun as Elsa made it seem, huh?”

Being snowed in for the weekend really forced me to relax and enjoy being home.  Hubby went out to shovel twice.  I brewed coffee and fixed breakfast.  Baby Z delighted in a dollar-store-find of “slime putty” and play doh for her Frozen figurines.  Baby D tugged on my leg, bothered his sister, and napped frequently.  We all got in a nap at some point!  How sad that Monday came so quickly! I think my little Elsa and I will miss the snow.  Looking at it, anyway.

 

The Beginning of a Huge Pile of Paperwork

I just enjoyed a 3-day weekend thanks to the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday.  Two years ago we went down to DC to see the new monument and tribute in the capitol.  I loved the quotes chosen that epitomize who he is and what he stands for.

This time around, however, I headed out with the babies to Riverhead, Long Island for a fun weekend with cousins.  My sisters and I have two children each.  6 kids, 3 moms and pure madness!  Initially, I sauntered into our hotel room at Hyatt Place, impressed by the size and comfy appearance of the beds.  I briefly sank into one bed and pictured a weekend of relaxation and peace.  Then all the kids walked in!  My Baby Z is 3 and Baby D is 1.  Gab and Belle are 9 and 7, Sof is 5, Allie is just turned 1 and not-born-yet-niece Olivia was no trouble at all!

I picked this hotel because there is an indoor pool, next door to the aquarium and near the shopping outlets.  I guess the thing I forgot about going to the pool is how tired you feel after swimming for longer than 15 minutes (We swam for a good hour actually).  I also forgot how hard it is to get in a nap without hubby around!  Last, I realized what FOMO means – “Fear Of Missing Out.”  NO ONE was getting any sleep when there were so many fun things to do!

The great thing about having kids is that everything is made new.  I take them to museums and events quite often because I just love to see their faces light up.  I love how excited they get over seemingly insignificant things!  Long Island Aquarium had a touch tank going and you would think we were the size of plankton with the way Baby Z reacted to the tiny crab and starfish at her finger tips!  “Mommy, let’s get out of here!” She cried when it was her turn to touch the crab.

I don’t know if I’m doing this parenting thing right by going out so much.  We have very few days of just sitting around the house.  I’ve heard you’re supposed to “let them be bored.”  But all I get out of staying home is more messes to clean up after and more requests to watch movies and youtube videos.  So we go out A LOT.

In the midst of all our weekend fun, I get an email from the recruiter saying “Congratulations!  You have been invited to interview in New York!”  YES! “Please upload pdf files of the following documents within the next 24 hours in order to schedule your interview.”

24 hours?!?  I’m 90 miles from home!  I quickly dial Souley, who is fortunately home.  With only one car and chilly weather, he wasn’t going anywhere this weekend.  He scanned and compiled the email within an hour.  We needed to send copies of my resume, medical form and passport.  Then wait some more for the date and location…

So I have to give props to my husband, Souley, who is so supportive of this whole process.  There are so many documents to fill out, scan, mail, copy, notarize, and eventually, authenticate.  He keeps it all together for me.  I may be a teacher with many years of experience with paperwork, but it has NOT made me like it more.  In fact, before becoming a teacher, I was a secretary for a few years.  I didn’t enjoy standing by the copy machine or running all around the exec offices for signatures.  Thankfully, I landed a job with a great boss, who after 3 months of working as her assistant said, “You shouldn’t be a secretary.  You should go to college.  You’re smarter than this.”  I firmly believe she wasn’t just trying to get me to move on but rather encourage me to reach my full potential.  I started at LIU the following September.

Our last night out East, it snowed significantly. Actually,  I don’t know if it even reached an inch, but it made for a pretty view.  Baby Z begged to play in the snow, but it was definitely below zero out there.  We headed home Monday afternoon and I see an email from Teachaway with an interview date.  “February 2, 2016”  Only two weeks away!

Things to do:

  • Get reference letters from my AP’s
  • Finish putting together my teaching portfolio
  • Fill out the Introductory Statement
  • Take passport photos for the visa

 

 

 

 

The Application Process

Is just speaking English enough to teach English? No.

After completing my Teachaway.com profile, I started scanning jobs.  Most of them called for a TESOL/TEFL license.  Although I’ve worked with ESL students for over 12 years, I don’t have an ESL teaching license.  I teach middle school English Language Arts.  So I switched my search to TESOL programs.  I was about to drop $6,800 USD (that we don’t have) on a course through  Columbia University, when I got an email to set up a pre-screen phone interview.  It was for a Licensed English teacher position in Abu Dhabi.  That was quick!

“Hi Nancy, is this a good time to talk?” the recruiter sounded doubtful, with good reason, considering all the background noise.

“Yes of course!” I replied as I scooted my way past nearly 300 of my colleagues at Woodhaven Manor.  Actually, I was in the middle of a Union Dinner!

I rushed out to the lobby and realized I was still going to be surrounded by dozens of teachers.  I began to describe in detail why I would be a great candidate for teaching abroad.  It went extremely well…and I did get the feeling that  it was more a formality than a real assessment of my abilities.  But I was onto round two!  I was beaming as I returned to dinner and imagined a tax-free salary, accommodations provided and a bonus at the end of the contract.

When I got home, I immediately searched for videos and blogs related to teaching in the UAE .  Most were great tales of travel during breaks, living it up in hotels, and rants about lunatic drivers.  It all sounded thrilling!  Souley and I searched for videos featuring teacher apartments.  We focused on the ones with spacious balconies, deep bathtubs and large closets.  We tried to ignore the ones mentioning creepy, crawly creatures and roommates.

But only a few touched on actually teaching…which helped doubt settle in.  Was it that tough out there?  Would it be worth the perks?  I love teaching.  I actually love my students.  Most of them are new to this country and have a strong desire to learn and succeed.  And Admin?  It’s a love/hate relationship.  I love their support.  I love that we’ve worked together for so long.  I love when they leave me alone.  I’d hate for it to be any worse?

So, I started looking at more jobs posted on Teachaway and I submitted an application to teach in Qatar.  The benefits seem to really outweigh the obscurity.  Within a week, I had passed another phone interview.

So now it’s two weeks later and I’m waiting…checking email…checking teachaway.com…double checking my references and resume and adding as many documents as I can…waiting to be invited to interview for Abu Dhabi or Qatar…hoping…waiting….