Wednesday, 24 October 2012

OMG, Our science teacher has twitter.

Well, there are reasons why my blog has been silent lately.  Oh, it's not that I haven't had the desire to write, but I've been faced with the overwhelming desire to sleep.  I found a wall, hit it and haven't been able to get up for a while.

There's a point in every new teachers' life when he or she takes stock of his or her situation and realizes that they're living in a utopia.  No, not the Thomas More version with gem filled rivers that's more akin to John Lenon's Imagine than reality, but the true meaning of the word... no place.  Once I started doing my marking on the bus ride, the pyramids vanished from my consciousness and I entered a world of sleep, teach, eat prep, sleep ... (repeat daily).  It's so easy to lose yourself through the process of ensuring that you have the best possible lessons for your students that you end up spending all your waking hours focused on teaching.

And I have to admit that the new teacher chasm is incredibly enticing.  Oh, there are occasional grumbles, but overall, my students are awesome.  At least once a week, there'll be a class that goes exactly according to plan.  I see the growth in my students' knowledge and skills, and end up with a covert ear-to-ear smile.  Oh, that's not something that I could communicate to them ... I'm not sure that anyone but parents and teachers could ever experience that vicarious joy.  But, there does come a time when you have to realize that only by finding some measure of balance in your life can you continue to experience those moments.  Well, it's a 5 day holiday, and tonight is my designated sleep and relax night.

I haven't taken any real time off in a while, so I decided at school to take a peek at my g-mail.  Lo and behold, Twitter sent me one of those "here are some people you might know" e-mails, and one of my students was listed there.  Either inspired by fatigue or a very mischievous pre-holiday mood, I couldn't resist taking a peek.  Before I continue, as a 21st century teacher, I do recognize the caveats and protocols involved in social media, so I know how to deal appropriately and openly with my students through this medium.  So I was creeping through some of their profiles (modern day term for covert viewing - sounds far more malevolent than it really is) and noticed a reference to me.  Well, I couldn't help myself, I had to reply.  I knew it had to happen, and as word spread through the Twitterverse that I actually had a twitter account, eventually, someone tweeted the title above.  To safeguard my students' privacy (and due to my lack of time), I don't intend to view their profiles very often ... but a little reminder to them of the internet's "you never know who's viewing your messages" reality can't hurt.

Well, I've probably missed a number of pass-on-able things but in the interest of sharing some of the joys of living in Egypt ...

The second feast (Eid) is the major one and lasts for 5 days.  I've been warned that Friday morning will be filled with the bleating of sheep and that travel by foot thereafter will make me feel like I've stumbled upon one of Dexter's crime scenes.

I saw traffic signals for the first time but I still don't understand how traffic flows so smoothly.

There was something strange on the bus' windshield today.  It might have been vanishing stone chips ... or some kind of water.  I believe it is called something like ... rain.  I blinked and it was done.

Breakfast on the road is $0.15.  In areas of bumper-to-bumper traffic, people wander along the highway selling bread, date buns and other breakfast options.  They're yummy.

Prices vary depending on location and mother tongue.  I stopped visiting my local convenience store as they charge 1 LE more per item than the kiosk that is a 3 minute walk away.  The kiosk doesn't adjust prices based on nationality but my local store does.  My $5 purchase at the local convenience store ends up costing $4 at the local supermarket.  Of course, they never did deliver it, but I'm sure it'll happen sometime and once they know where I live ... can the ultimate in laziness (calling in my grocery order for delivery) be far away?

Miscellaneous prices:

  • Gasoline:  $0.30 / litre
  • Fantastic Mexican meal that is too large for 1 sitting:  $9 with tip
  • Mars bars:  $0.60 
  • 1.5 Litre bottle of water:  $0.50
  • Yoghurt cups:  $0.30 each
  • Pepsi:  $0.75 / litre or $1.20 for 2 litres
Finally, the best part of today was my chance to make some of the Heritage employees smile.  The janitor who cleans my room and never stops working.  The security guard on our floor always says hi to me from halfway down the hall whenever he spots me.  I recognize that I couldn't do my job without them and they've done everything they can to make me feel welcome at Heritage.  So, to celebrate Eid, I passed them along a small gift.  Two dinners for me is the same as 5 days' salary for them - a small price to pay for the kindness they've showed me so far.

Well, time to leave the keyboard for a while and relax.  Sleep is not far away (I barely avoided it on the bus ride home).  Oh, it's a working holiday, which may not seem too exciting until you consider that the 40 to 50 hours I spend planning now will result in a month's worth of night's off in November.  Or ... I might even head out and enjoy myself ... naw, that still seems way too far fetched.

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