Last week, I tallied up the school visits I have been able to accomplish. So far, it looks like I have had 18 visits to 5 different schools. I was able to teach a sample lesson at 1 school already and I have 1 more this week. I feel like an old pro at school visits.
It was tough getting permission to visit schools at first. I mentioned before that since I am only the 2nd group of Fulbright DATs to Palestine, there is not as much infrastructure as say Finland or New Zealand. This contributed in part to my decision making because I like to live on the edge. 🙂
Without the same infrastructure, I needed to set up connections on my own. I made a few connections through an American friend I met and my university advisor. Then I was able to get an appointment with the ministry through the family of some of my kids’ friends. The MOE gave me their support and approval to visit any schools, just let them know.
A week or so later, the ministry sent me what I call my “magic letter.” I don’t know exactly what it says, but when I show this to a principal the response is “whatever we can do for you, let us know.”
My first day off the airplane was September 2. My first day in my apartment was September 7. My first private school visit was September 24. I received permission from MOE to visit public schools on October 26.
In the meantime, I feel like I made good use of my time. My Arabic class ended up being 2 hours a day 4 days a week. I researched and acclimated and visited different cities in the area. I also have tons of connections for “the person who comes after me.” We talk about the those future people a lot. Every time we figure something out (like the servis routes), we say “For whoever comes next, we will tell them…” FYI future people, there is an in-process PT orientation document for you. Complete with suggestions for things to do before you arrive!
Now I am sitting on 18 school visits, 6 interviews and 1 sample lesson. Appointments are lined up for all next week. The days are counting down though. 26 days. I will be busy, busy, busy.