Friday, May 29, 2009

Contract Countdown

Contract Countdown
Last week we went to the Emir's Cup match, the second soccer match we've ever been to. It still left me wondering what there is in identifying with a team or club or what the fascination is with watching mass sport but, as the clip I posted showed, the entertainment of crowd watching as well as the show put on before the game made the experience worthwhile.

Enjoying the evening at The Emir's Cup Final
May has come to an end with the end of the contract now becoming a reality as June reveals itself with 50c day time temperatures and somewhat lower 30c evenings.

These last weeks of May have been spent developing new course structures for the English Department to meet the decisions that the Grade 10 classes will all be taught using the Advanced Curriculum Standards and the Grade 11 and 12 classes will be either Advanced or Foundation but with different time allocations... Foundation for 3 periods a week and Advanced for 5 periods a week..... which means that the teachers must plan for more extensive programmes at advanced while providing a language rich intensive programme at foundation.

The decisions have also meant that the new course structure needs new material to ensure delivery so a great deal of time has gone into creating a new resource base for the Department that will encourage the students to speak and write in English rather than rote learn words in isolation.

The planning and writing up of the Unit outlines and suggested content, identifying resources and work-shopping the lesson planning has dominated the month and will consume what remains of the contract.

When I look back on my own Head of Department days and how I had to squeeze time between teaching classes, HoD meetings, Staff meetings, book orders and resource maintenance to put time into writing and rewriting Department schemes, manuals and administration systems I cant help but wonder how I managed it.

At least, as an Teacher Advisor, I can devote full days to ensuring that the school and Department are left with a clear idea of what the Curriculum Standards demand and how to get there along with directions on where to find the necessary resources without the added stress of dealing with classes, chasing up lost texts and ensuring the other end of year administration details are completed.

The School Library
Mind you, coming to the end of the contract hasn't just meant that I've been neglecting the Arabic Department and the Library as both of these areas have required time and advice. I was rapt to find that the Library had taken delivery of the books we'd ordered in April and that the Librarian could nowsay that there was a reasonable section of the Resource Centre that were English language texts - fiction and non-fiction - that were the Library's and not class-sets for the English Department.

We're also concentrating our efforts on providing PD on the requirements of the Teachers' Professional Standards Board so that the staff are aware of the processes they have to go through leading up to their registration as qualified teachers by 2011.

So with these programmes to complete by the 30th June we will be kept busy right through until the end of the contract.

We are all waiting to hear about the Cohort VI contract round both here and in Abu Dabai will determine our decsions for 2009-10. We may know sometime in June how many of us will be required in the schools for the next academic year.

Joy's Water Colour Group
Outside of the end of contract preparation we are busy organising ourselves for the return home. Joy has finished her water colour painting group classes with, I think, a lot of happy artists taking home their own paintings of local scenes of camels, beaches and the other places they've enjoyed.

Anna Voisey & horse
She has also completed several commissioned pieces and has her work for the "Summer in Doha" exhibition ready to deliver to the Souq Waqif galleries as well as packing the suitcases ready to take home.

Lesley's Grandchildren on Camels

We've booked our personal flights for travel other than the immediate return home which will see us jetting off to the UK for six days in England and Wales to see Jacqui and her family in the wilds of Swansea and,maybe, a trip to Tredegar where we lived for eight months when we were last in the UK. With luck and time we may manage to catch up with some other relatives and friends as well.

Joy's work chosen for the Souq Waqif Exhibition
From the UK we fly to Jordan for a seven day tour that will take us from Amman to Jerash and the Dead Sea to Madaba, Mount Nebo and Kerak to Petra, Wadi Rumm and back to Amman before heading onto Dubai and the flight home.
If all goes to plan we should stumble off the plane into the wet and chill of a NZ winter on the 16th. ( An experience I can't say I'm looking forward to after being spoilt in the perpetual warmth of the Gulf and the UK summer.)

At least, before we stumble into Winter, there is the prospect of exploring those places we've read about both in history and in fiction as we rode with Lawerence of Arabia, explorers and those fictional others through the deserts to stumble on the ruins of past civilisations carved and hidden in the cliffs of Jordan.

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