Mississippi – 2015

The last place that I visited during my trip was Mississippi. My mother lives in a tiny town with her husband. It’s pretty and quiet.

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There is always a thunderstorm when I visit and every night as the sunsets the sky is completely and spectacularly different.

Grilling, s’mores, fourth of july sparklers, sewing, shopping sprees and funny mud masks.

It’s a beautiful thing how its possible to visit the same place and even do some of the same things, but have them feel so different.

الحمدلله


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KSU Class 37585

KSU Class 37585 – English 135 A – January to May 2015


[THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MUSIC]

I just want to say thank you to all of the girls in class 37585. You made me smile and laugh. You made me feel like my job is important. You made my difficult semester easier.

Afnan – Alia – Amal – Ayesha – Dalal – Ghadah – Ghusoon – Hanady – Loulou – Maha – Nouf – Reem – Seba – Shaima

May God bless you all and grant you endless success.

الحمدلله


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KSU PD Week 2015

Back in March the students at KSU had a week off, while the teachers continued to go in to work for PD presentations and workshops. I’ll be honest and say that I would have preferred to have a week off, but I did enjoy the presentations and workshops that the university provided for us. It was kind of like we had swapped places with the students for a week and instead of teaching class we had the chance to attend class.

On the last day of the PD week there was a beautiful buffet lunch provided for us in the science building cafeteria. Soon after we were surprised with the announcement that we could go home early.


[THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MUSIC]

PD training is definitely a fantastic benefit of working at KSU and I’m thankful that I’ve had the chance to work in an environment that allows me to better myself as a teacher.

الحمدلله


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This is hard…

This semester is hard. I’m not really sure if it is the circumstances or just me, but so far it has been a challenge.

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[7:30 am and my students are like…]

I have a beginner class with 45 students on the attendance list. 1/3 of them are repeating the semester and come to class with their already completed textbooks, which they allow others to copy from. There are at least 2 that can’t read or write their own names and a small handful who belong in a slightly higher level class. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how I want them to learn, but I’m usually not so sure how to actually facilitate that learning.

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[When I turn around after writing on the board..]

I enter the class before 7:30 am with a smile hoping that somehow the day will be different. So far everyday has been the same. I try to teach them. For a week I take it slow constantly repeating and practicing the language points, but nothing seems to stick.

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[When students pretend they are working]

Two days ago I asked one of the assessment coordinators to send an Arabic speaker to the class to explain the process of an ongoing project that needs to be completed with this class because after a week of my own explanations (English and Arabic) the students still didn’t have a clue. I didn’t feel so bad when I heard them talking with one another after my colleague left the room. They were still asking questions like “What do we need to do?” and “What is this project about?”

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[When I ask the students to complete a task…]

At this point I guess I just need to laugh it off and just continue doing the best that I can. I’ll get through this semester and God willing these students will have learned something from this class.

“To teach is to learn twice”

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The good this is that I know I can do this. I know I can manage. I know that I’ll be a better teacher after this semester. ان شاء الله

Thanks be to God for this challenge. Thanks be to God for this reminder. Thanks be to God for this lesson. Thanks be to God for every situation.

الحمدلله على كل حال


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Whiteboard Creativity

I gave a PD presentation on whiteboard creativity for my colleagues at the university last week. A big thank you to all who provided support and kind words.


[THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MUSIC]

الحمد لله‎


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Something I’m not…

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All of my close friends and family members know this about me. I’m the person who wakes up in the morning and typically needs about an hour to “wake up”. Before that hour you probably won’t get a coherent or generally pleasant conversation out of me or a truly genuine smile for that matter. I’m not trying to say that I’m awful, but really…I’m just not a morning person.
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Recently I’ve realized that some people (morning people) don’t really understand this. It’s not that I’m in a bad mood or that I “woke up on the wrong side of the bed”. It’s just that my body is awake and upright, but my brain is still laying down dreaming. Unfortunately, there is not enough coffee in the world that could transform me into a morning person, it just takes a little time.

I’m just thinking back to the summers breaks when I used to work at my family’s diner. They weren’t the earliest of mornings, but I remember walking in the door and saying to my mom and grandmother, “don’t talk to me yet.” That probably seems incredibly rude, but they knew and understood exactly what I meant. I should really thank them a lot for being so patient with me those days.
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Can you guess who the bottom half of this picture is? Hahaha. I’m only joking, but sometimes I feel like this is how others view me. I’m quiet, slightly distant and a bit uncommunicative, but I swear I still I love you all.

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Just be patient with me and all of the other non-morning people out there. As soon as we “wake up” we’ll be back to our normal selves. It could be an hour or it could be after noon, but we’ll get there.

الحمد لله‎


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ٍRainy day in Riyadh

It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does you realize how much you miss the rain. I’m someone who typically loves a dark rainy day to sit and relax inside, but I also remember days upon days of summer without an afternoon of sunshine. Living in a place where the sun always shines and the ground is always dry means that everyone waits patiently for rain and when it comes, it is welcomed.


[THIS VIDEO CONTAINS MUSIC]

Almost everyone is in a good mood when it rains here. I didn’t understand that before I lived in a place like this, but now I think I’m just the same.

الحمد لله‎


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A Beautiful Surprise

One of my students went to Makkah to do Umrah and when she returned I came to my office to find a surprise waiting for me on my desk.

She left a little gold bag. There was a little note she had written on the back of a small picture of the Kaaba. Inside the bag was a Quran with a pink cover. I didn’t notice under later that she had my name pressed into the back cover. It is such a special gift and something that I will really cherish.

الحمد لله‎

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