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Location: Kansas, United States

Monday, December 26, 2005

Teaching in Yemen

Tonight I felt goose bumps for the first time this fall and that made me happy. I have to say though that it is almost midnight and I was in the shower with cool water. From what I have been told, I will not have to worry about goose bumps outdoors, ever, though according to the director, I may want a jacket in January but maybe not.I like my work, but I can not be enthusiastic right now because it is our "Friday" - Wednesday, actually, because our work week is Saturday to Wednesday.

I work for two schools: AMIDEAST a non governmental organization that has been in the Middle East for over 50 years, and Aden University. At Aden University, I am teaching writing to second year students who are in the English language degree program. I have students who are relatively fluent and students who really struggle, all in the same class. I have 4 classes, each with about 30 students and I am teaching writing, so don’t think I am having an easy time. Teaching English as a second language (ESL) is complex, and teaching writing to ESL students is even more complex. Fortunately, I love it. Actually, the work gives me terrible headaches and produces an inner tension that is quite overwhelming, but I like the work because when class is over, it feels sooooo good.

Most of the young women in my classes are veiled all I see is their eyes. I like to know my students by name but the classes are large and I don’t think I will be able to learn to identify the women. I do recognize some of my veiled students here at AMIDEAST but there are only a few in each class.

I also like my neighborhood. Khormaksar is one of the more stable districts in the city. A few blocks away is one of the president’s houses that he may, or may not, use when he is in town. That makes the district even safer because there is a large police presence all the time. Not that I ever feel in danger. I feel quite safe here and have never felt even a little nervous or fearful, except when I am in a vehicle. The people in the neighborhood are very gracious to us.

We have a strip of shops nearby where we buy most of our groceries. The clerks are still trying to teach us Arabic numbers. Tonight my bill was 465 and the clerk wouldn’t give me my change until I pronounced the amount correctly. I was having a little trouble (make that a LOT of trouble) and he handed me a piece of paper and a pen and made me write the words. Four or five people were standing line and it made not the least difference to him. I got the words out for the amount due then had to say the amount of my change. Ahhh. This is the kindness we deal with wherever we go. There are two neighborhood restaurants where we usually eat and the waiters are similarly kind.


Blogger Abu Jamillah said...

What cirtification do you teach with in order to work for the Aden University? How about AMIDEAST? I heard the CELTA cirtificate is highly valued over there

8:43 PM  
Blogger Inaie said...

WOW! I am fascinated by the Middle East and I am planning on going to Yemen in the near future - just for a visit. My husband also teaches and his job has taken us to Dubai in 2005 and to Bahrain now. I love it! Would love to know a bit more about Yemen and life there.

11:41 AM  

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