Teacher Lauren

All of my students refer to me only as 'Teacher'.

Teaching here is more difficult than I had originally thought. I have three upper level courses so I have to do a lot of outside reading and writing with them...which means lots of work for me. I do enjoy it and my students are amazing. All of my classes have 8 students maximum and the majority are female. Not all are Yemeni, I also have students from Syria, Saudia Arabia and France. They are very attentive and are a pleasure to teach. No exteme problems yet.

I love working as a teacher in the fact that I get a look into the culture on a daily basis. Classes are based a lot on conversation so we are constantly discussing cultural ideas and topics. However, the first lesson I had to teach to one of my classes had the subject of dating and romance...try teaching that to a class where the dating culture is completely hidden and not discussed openly. Not a good topic to start with when you do not fully understand the culture.

Some other things I deal with that I would not have to face should I have chosen another country for teaching:

1. Memorizing female students names who are fully veiled. I have become quite good on identifying students by their eyes.

2. Call for Prayer. Our class schedule changes depending on when the call for prayer is so that men have enough time to pray at the mosque and then return for classes.

3. Students Praying Between classes. It has become normal for me to be reviewing a listening activity while three female students begin to pray in the classroom...using their books to kneel on.

4. Students Stoned on Qat. Yemen has a narcotic leaf that is chewed by nearly everyone. I strictly enforce the rule of no chewing, however some of my students have come to class after chewing and have a glazed look in their eye. Their contribution to discussions are hilarious.

5. Cultural Differences. The text book I use was printed in the United States and I have to read all the lessons ahead of time to explain cultural differences...which there are a lot. Yesterday I was explaining what a 'typical suit' is for business. A lot of the students thought it was wearing a skirt (as the men do here).

6. Business is Personal. Arab culture makes everything personal. My students act as if I am a family to them. From time to time, I am having trouble trying to separate myself as a teacher.

7. Power Outages. It is not uncommon to be teaching when there is a black out. It has only happened a couple of times, but that was more than enough! Especially considering how it is so hot here...without AC it can be unbearable.

These are just a few differences I have come across with my teaching.

I teach one morning class and two night classes, all two hours in length. I am also studying Arabic in the afternoons. I am BUSY. But enjoying it all.