Sunday, March 14, 2010

Professional Development, Emirati Style

Two weeks ago at work, a bus monitor came in during my lesson and started passing out notices to my students. As you would imagine, the notices were written in Arabic, and as you know, I don't read or speak this language. The bus monitors, bless them, don't happen to speak English. This interesting dynamic between message/messenger/receiver typically results in frequent misunderstandings. In this instance, it meant that I had no clue what the notice was about. (Really, I didn't worry too much about it.)

However, I was quite surprised to show up to work the next day and discover that the students were going home at 10:30 am. No, 10:00. No, really 11:00. (I don't think anyone knew what time they were actually supposed to be dismissed.) Regardless, the students went home early.

The reason? Well, it turns out that all was explained in the notice from the day before. Students were dismissed early so that teachers could attend a seminar. (Or, as they like to call them here, "a PD".) The art teacher was giving "a PD" on using color analysis to determine the personality of students. Something like that.

When I stepped into the art room for "a PD," I had to smile to myself. It was definitely different from what I would find at home. The lights were dim, the air was so thick with oud that you could hardly breathe, there were goodie bags and folders at each desk, and a dramatic powerpoint slideshow set to an instrumental version of "Amazing Grace" was playing in the background. (Just a bit of pre-seminar entertainment.)

I'll spare you the details of the "PD," but it wasn't about colors and personalities at all. It was 2 hours of analyzing drawings to determine the mental and emotional health of each child artist. Since most of it was in Arabic, I didn't catch too much. I do remember learning that when children draw round noses on people, it means they consider the person to be "dog-like;" a smile with teeth means that the child wants to bite others; and that if the child draws her family, but she doesn't draw them holding hands, it means there is trouble at home. The last hour quickly turned into a "look at this picture and guess what I'm thinking game" between the art teacher and her local colleagues.

Although the presentation could have been intriguing, I was more interested in the goodie bag. It had the standard chocolate/pen/perfume combo. Not bad, not bad. This one also had a little extra somethingsomething: cell phone bling. Check this out!

What do you think?
Does creepy come to mind?! Plus, compared to my cell phone, it's huge! Anyway, don't you think seeing this little lady dangle from my cell phone was definitely worth all of the missed teaching time?
Yep. Me too.



Wendy said...

That is truly hilarious. I think the little cell phone bling girl is absolutely you -- pink and blue hair and all. So good to talk to you. {{hugs x 6}}

Sarah said...

So jealous! that dangling lady is amazing!!

Brie said...

I am laughing so hard. oh my goodness Molly. I think you should rock it.

joanne said...

But the pink hair and red boots are soo Molly!