Sunday, September 15, 2013


I guess it's been a while. Since school started in earnest, the weeks have been going by faster, although each Thursday I look back to the beginning of the week and it feels like a million years ago. But I've been keeping very busy during the week, and now, with our three-day weekend in its final afternoon, it's time to reflect a little. Mostly this is a break from lesson planning, and a reward (?) for having graded 32 quizzes (more on that later), and also I took some pictures I want to share. Also there are these guys hanging pictures in my apartment, because we can't hang them ourselves because the walls are made of concrete and I left my power drill at home, and this is a way for me to kind of ignore them while still making sure they don't mess things up too badly.

I titled this one "Firsts" because that's what this past week was. Though it was technically the second full week of school, it was the first with a full schedule including cocurriculars and other such meetings. And in my efforts to keep myself busy and learning things, here were some firsts from this week:

- First yoga class of my life (and second, and third). This semester, I don't have to lead a cocurricular (that is, an after-school activity that meets Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday) because they want me to spend time getting the Glee Club up and running. But I'm not going to spend 75 minutes every day just sitting and thinking about the Glee Club, so instead I'm using those three days a week to sit in on yoga classes. The instructor, a math and bio teacher named Maria, is very experienced and a great leader, and I've really enjoyed learning all the positions and breathing techniques (plus it feels like an extra workout). It's just me, Maria and her co-instructor Alli, and about a dozen female students, but no one really seems to mind that I'm the only boy. So I've been having a good time and will probably keep it up, though maybe other cocurriculars await this season (tennis? Model UN? who knows...).

Too much text! Here is a picture of knafe, also known as Jordan's gift to cuisine (besides hummus).

I know it's hard to imagine, but you have to trust me. There is absolutely nothing like it. OK more things.

- First Glee Club meeting! Weeks of waiting built to a fever pitch as 45-ish aspiring singers gathered in the Gallery for the first-ever meeting of the King's Academy Glee Club. And it was fun! We watched videos of singing, filled out forms, talked about how there are a lot of them so they have to be quiet (this happened several times), and even did a tiny bit of warming up. They are SO enthusiastic, and (so far) willing to cooperate, and they didn't sound half bad when we sang a little. Soon enough we'll start with actual repertoire, but for this coming week it's just going to be warmups and rounds to get them used to the whole singing experience. It's also incredibly helpful to have three other teachers with me, which I do; they were instrumental* in keeping the kids in line and asking for explanations when I forgot that the students have no idea what a "repertoire" is.

More to come with that once we really get started. Right now the repertoire is looking like it'll be "Fields of Gold," "Do You Hear the People Sing," and "Titanium" (I picked the first two under pressure from the arts department to "introduce the kids to something new," and they voted on that last one which I'll arrange). We're off to a good start though, and I'm looking forward to singing more this week.

More pictures! These from my first soccer game, Jordan v. Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifier. It ended with a 1-1 tie, but then Jordan won the subsequent game in a penalty shootout, so we're playing Uruguay! And if we win, we go to Brazil next summer! (Look at me using "we" already). Winning is highly unlikely, but not impossible, and we very well may go to the Uruguay game in November. So here's the stadium:

And here's me with face paint (just 1JD!) and fellow teaching fellow Chase, enthusiastic spectators:


- First Arabic class. The Arabic class for teachers meets once a week, which doesn't seem like nearly enough to learn a language about which I know absolutely nothing. So INSTEAD I've been going to class with the preppy Americans! King's has a program called Arabic Year for high schoolers to spend a year (or more) in Jordan, and they know as little Arabic as I do. So I've been going, two periods a day, and it's been great so far. I feel like I can practically read the alphabet, which was my September goal, and I'm veeeeeery slooooowly picking up vocabulary. But it's felt good to be busy (without these two periods, it's an hour and half to putz around in between Philosophy classes) and I feel like the class is productive. So maybe I'll know some Arabic at the end of this year!

School has been good. Last week was sort of a jumble, planning-wise, and ended with a quiz on Plato and Aristotle that was WAYYYY too easy, but I've learned a lot about how to structure such things for the future, so it doesn't feel like a total waste of a week. We start ethics tomorrow, which I think the kids will really like, and they're also handing in their first essays tonight (just 6.5 hours to go!) which should be a thrill. Grading is definitely the worst part of teaching so far. It just takes so long.

But I'm done with that for the weekend! So all I have to do is shore up my plans for the week, which are coming along nicely, and sing some songs with another teacher who plays piano, and go eat all-you-can-eat sushi tonight. For now, I think it's TV time. Thanks for reading.


 *I used this word because I believe that it is an appropriate word. I did not want to put a little "(haha)" or a "no pun intended" right up there, but I also didn't want you to think I hadn't noticed, so here's this sentence to prove to you that I did notice. 

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