Day to day entries

Where to next year…

It’s that time again in the international teaching world where the decision is made to stay or start looking for a new school. This year I decided to move on and look for a new school. My first thoughts were that I wanted to go east – Asia area. The farthest east I’ve been is Bali. The Middle East has been good to me. I started my international teaching career in Egypt and I’m pretty sure that if I can teach/live there I can go almost anywhere. While in Egypt I saw many sights, met a ton of great people and learned too much to even start listing. Moving to Bahrain was a welcomed change due to the fact that it is very western here which made it easy to live. I’ve gained a great deal of athletic director experience, in addition to getting the chance to try new ideas in my classes. In the end though, my time in the Middle East has come to an end and it’s time for me to move on.

I’ll spare you the details of the job search, nothing exciting happened. There were interviews, there were second and third interviews, there was the e-mail stating you were not selected which led to more interviews and then the right job came along. The job that came along I originally overlooked or didn’t pursue in the beginning but that’s how things work out and I’m excited. I’m excited to move to Asia, I’m happy with my school choice and with the opportunities that lie ahead.

Drumroll…….I’m headed to Jeju Island. It’s located at the southern tip of South Korea, apparently I like living on islands. It’s a brand new school called St. Johnsbury Academy (SJA Jeju). I will be teaching PE/Health most likely to multiple grade levels to start and once the school and the program grows I will settle in to a certain grade level.

We have a delayed start because the school will not be complete, yes it’s literally a brand new school opening in October 2017. Since we have a delayed start we do not have to report until October 1st which gives me a bit of an extended summer vacation, no I’m not mad about that. To compensate for those missed days there are a handful of half days on Saturday that will we will have to work in order to meet our contact days. As of now my thought is to arrive at the end of September to start my visa application and get familiar with the area.

A lot of people have asked me how big Jeju is, great question and I finally looked it up. Bahrain is 295.5 square miles and Jeju Island is 714 square miles so almost two and half times bigger than Bahrain. Jeju is sometimes referred to as the Hawaii of Korea due to its volcanic sights and lava tubes. In addition, there are multiple beaches, trails, natural wonders and rural landscapes. I guess I can be the judge of that later since I just went to Hawaii last summer.jeju-map

South Korea also experiences all of the seasons so that will also be a welcomed change from just hot and dry, although I do like the climate in the Middle East.

In the end, I’m totally happy with my choice and look forward to what lies ahead. I have to say that choosing to teach internationally has been a great choice and I’m grateful for the opportunities it continues to give me.

Later skaters

-B

Back to Bahrain and back to school

The end of the summer means it’s time to get back to work a.k.a. school. I’m still glad to have the excited feeling of a new school year. As I teacher I hope that feeling never goes away because then it might be time to find a new profession. This year I was coming in with a good attitude and a bunch of new ideas that I was going to try with my classes.

I came back early to Bahrain to help some friends out by flying their dogs to them. That entire experience was super stressful. I give props to those people who travel with kids, pets and even those who travel with both. This experience proved to me that I do not want to own either, kids or pets, it’s all too much. In the end though I got through it and delivered two alive dogs to their owners who are all now happily living a new life in a new country.

Once returning to Bahrain I had one day to get everything in order. The following day we started our teacher institute week. It was fun to meet the new staff especially my two new P.E. guys. The first week was basically meetings on top of meetings but there was a small amount of time to work in our classrooms. That Saturday I headed to school to finish up my to-do list. To say I feel on top of it this year would be an understatement. It’s been a great start to the year. The new addition of another P.E. teacher has been amazing and the new P.E. guys are great to work with. Due to the addition of another P.E. teacher we now have more flexibility with our classes. We decided to split up the classes between the three of us and we are all teaching our own classes. This year I am teaching Pre-K, KG, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th grade boys and girls, and high school girls 9-12. We run on a six day cycle so three of the days are elementary days and the other three are middle/high school days. They alternate every other day.

I was excited to implement two new ideas into my P.E. classes and they both are starting out great.

Muscle & Bone of the Month – each month my elementary classes will learn about a new muscle and bone. We will learn how to pronounce it, where it is located, practice writing it, the purpose of it and what exercises/activities use that particular muscle and bone. I’ve never copied and laminated so much in my entire teaching career. I definitely made up for it this year!

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My fourth graders working on spelling and writing Bicep and Cranium, our muscle and bone of the month. They did a great job.

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Behavior Chart – most elementary classes use behavior charts and this is a combination of other teachers ideas and what I have “borrowed” from them. At the start of each elementary class they start on green. If there behavior is less than desirable such as not listening, not following directions, not working as a team, etc. they move to yellow and then possibly red. If they adjust their behavior they can move back to yellow/green. If the class ends on green they can move their corresponding jersey on the game board. Once a class’s jersey makes it to the finish they earn a free period of P.E. to choose whatever activity they would like. They also start over again once they reach the finish and try to earn another free choice day. The kids are doing well with it and like to move their jersey at the end of class.

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My office:

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My webpage for Elementary P.E.

https://sites.google.com/a/rvis.edu.bh/elementary-p-e/

My Monthly P.E. Newsletter – I started this in Egypt and it was a great way to let the parents know what we are doing in class so I decided to start it again this year. Here is the link if you wanted to take a look:

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Year 2 at RVIS, Year 4 of International Teaching, Year 12 of teaching

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Later skaters

-B

 

Leaving…doesn’t get easier, I’m pretty sure it gets harder.

End of the school year is always the best time of the year because summer vacation is starting. As an international teacher though it also brings saying goodbye to colleagues who are moving on. I know I’ve wrote about this topic before and I will continue to write about it every year I’m sure. It’s a weird thing in the international teaching world you meet people and instantly you form strong bonds with people as if you have known them for years. I’m not sure why this happens but it does and it’s really cool. Most people grow up with the same people they go to school with and spend years forming bonds. I still to this day have friends from where I grew up and also worked with and not just friends, a group that I know will always be there when I get home from traveling the world and we can pick up as if I haven’t ever left. It’s an amazing feeling and something that I will never take advantage of and it also gives me comfort in knowing that they will be there when I get home. Those bonds are understandable since we have been friends for many years. On the other hand I have close friends who I have only known for two years, a year or even ten months. In those short time frames a special and strong bond can and has been formed. I think as we grow older we know the type of people we want to be around and the type of people we want to invest our time in. Now obviously not everyone makes the cut of who you want to invest time with but I do believe that we can gain something from everyone. Personally, I know that everyone I have met on my international teaching journey has impacted me in some way or another both good and bad. I’m an active traveler so if you say “come visit whenever” be prepared, I might just show up on your doorstep one day, just kidding I’ll call first. It’s not goodbye, it’s until we meet again.

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I’m off to enjoy the summer, recharge my battery and see my people.

Later skaters

-B

Adventures around Bahrain, Part 2

I have a few friends leaving Bahrain this year and they are on a quest to see all that Bahrain has to offer and I’m usually tagging along – so I also get to see what Bahrain has to offer.

Indoor skydiving and a new burger place…it was fun, not as easy as I expected it to be but still fun. The burger place was really good too.

 

Ancient burial grounds…

 

New Mexican place…the logo and graffiti inside was awesome, food – not so much.

 

Sunset…caught the sun at the perfect position, just under the bridge.

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Oil museum and oldest oil pump in Bahrain…who knew that is a thing, but we are in the Middle East, home of the oil – so makes sense and still pretty cool.

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Oldest oil pump in Bahrain

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Later skaters

-B

 

Adventures around Bahrain

Yes, Bahrain is an island. Yes, I’m pretty sure you can drive from the top to the bottom in about an hour. Yes, there actually is a ton of stuff to see and do.

Brunch…it happens on Friday’s from 11/12 – 3/4 and it’s all you can eat and drink. I’ve had to re-evaluate my life many times after these little get togethers.

Sometimes it rains really hard…like real rain. It was short but it was a lot of rain for the Middle East.

 

Zoo…there is a zoo in Bahrain and it’s not horrible but it’s not great either. The biggest problem is that some of the visitors to the zoo do not know abide by the zoo rules. For example you should not be in the area where the animals live, it’s not for you to be in.

This is a picture of two turtles humping…it was weird. I don’t think the turtle on the bottom was enjoying it.

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Qal’at al-Bahrain also known as the Bahrain Fort. There is a museum that you walk through before you go out to the fort that goes through the history of how the fort was built and the changes that it has gone through.

Farmer’s Market…happens every Friday morning. I wish I would have gone sooner because the vegetables are about seven times cheaper than the are at the store and a much better selection.

 

International Day at school…just some American’s in their America wear and me wearing on my students robes, it was very comfy and I want one.

Bab Al-Bahrain Manama Souq…Downtown is the local shopping center called the souq. You can find everything here from electronics, kitchen items, to all the tourist and local items you could think of.

Tree of Life…right by my house is the Tree of Life it’s approximately 400 years old and is the only major tree growing in Bahrain.

Riffa Fort…this fort is located right by my house.

I got the map on the left for my birthday. You scratch off the places that you have visited and each country has it’s own color. I recently got it framed and updated where I have been. There are still so many places to see.

Camel Farm also called the King’s Camel. It’s free to get in and you can walk around to look at the camels as well as feed them and pet them.

Drinking at the golf club…sometimes it’s almost noon and you are done looking at camels so you hit up the golf club and go to the VIP bar because you know someone 😉

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The VIP is on the left.

 

Later skaters

-B