Friday, November 26, 2010
Victoria Twead: From Spain to Bahrain - Two Old Fools and Kids
In our little mountain village in Spain, children rule. They run wild in the streets, get up to all sorts of mischief and are regarded as little angels by their doting parents. And they are. Joe and I have always found Spanish kids to be delightful, polite and charming.
So when we signed our contracts to teach for a year in an International School in the Kingdom of Bahrain, we wondered how different the kids would be in the Middle East.
Well, their life-style is certainly different. In Spain, kids’ lives are governed by the seasons and their huge families. Fiestas, football, grape pressing, endless summer weeks romping in the village, the beach, Christmas... all important times for Spanish children. Here in Bahrain, the children we teach come from wealthy families. They have every material possession, are looked after by maids and brought to school by drivers. It’s too hot to play outside, there are no nice beaches and leisure time is spent in the city malls.
Surprisingly, Arab kids love football too, and support teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and even Barcelona. The long summer break is usually spent traveling with their families. Many have already visited Europe and America
English is their second language, and their dream is to be accepted into an American University. However, like kids all over the world, only a small proportion are actually motivated in school. Homework is rarely produced, class discipline can be a struggle and cheating in tests has been honed to a fine art that often leaves Joe and I breathless. While his back was turned, one quiet little mouse of a girl erased her grades from Joe’s open gradebook and substituted much higher ones. My eleven year olds write spelling test words on their ankles. Some girls conceal cheat sheets in their hijabs (head veils) and it is rumoured that the school computer is frequently hacked and grades changed. We roared with laughter when one student accidently handed Joe his cheat sheet along with...
Read more: http://www.expatfocus.com/victoria-twead-241110