April showers

April 4, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

… are metaphorical in Egypt. And not THAT bad. A couple days ago Jade and I decided to not travel to Aswan because SF was ridiculously sick, and in retrospect the decision to stay should have been much clearer earlier. So we stayed, and I visited the two in the girls’ dorm as often as I could, and we went to appointments, and spoke to doctors, and this morning got checked into the hospital. It’s lovely – I stayed for 12 hours and had to leave at 9pm because of very frustrating cultural norms. Despite the fact that we informed them I’m SF’s brother. I’d really wanted to spend the night.

So spring break will be in the hospital, with nights in Smouha. It’s very reminiscent of quarantine in all the good ways – spending long hours [playing Oblivion on Ben’s computer -> reading] or watching [Transformers with Doug -> season one of West Wing with SF] except add puppy piles in tiny hospital beds and the freedom to leave if I want to. But I don’t, really.

Other hot topics include ROOM DRAW 2010 for senior year. Of 850 lottery numbers I’m number 747, meaning 746 people will choose their housing situation before me. Not actually, though, because Mori made out with a better number so we’re going with that. I’ll also know my summer location sometime this week inshallah.

For some catch-up:
We had a FANTASTIC Passover seder last week. After all weekend cooking in Lizz’s apartment, SF started her plunge and was unable to make it to the seder itself. So I cut and pasted the haggadah her mother had scanned to us and printed out ten copies, and most of the Midd kids came with a good chunk of Flagship students. Leah and I led the seder in Arabic, which was fun for me especially because I had just studied Exodus in my Quranic studies class with Nehad so I was able to speak relatively smoothly about the story. We sang “Who Knows One?” and “Had gad ya” in English, of course, but everything else in Hebrew and then translated real-time into Arabic. Same7 hid the afikomen. We had great homemade matzah, matzah-ball soup, charoset, macaroons. Researcher Emma’s husband brought fantastic flourless chocolate cake. We had made flourless chocolate brownies that were not so fantastic… We actually forgot about the macaroon until everyone had left so they made an appearance at school the next day! Great success.

The next day I went back to Dorra Training Center, where I taught English, to correct the final exams my students had taken the night before while I was celebrating Passover. There were 8 students who took the exam. 25% of the class failed (grade under 50%). 25% of the class got As. The mean was a 69.5% and the median was about that, too. So when I think that 1/4 of my students failed, that is very depressing to me. When I think that the class average is about 70, where it’s theoretically supposed to be, I’m proud of the test I wrote. When I think that of the 8 students there were probably 4 VERY different levels of English among them, the class I taught was Dorra’s first English class and me its first English teacher, I’m not as depressed. But still a little let down. What did I take away? I love the activity of being in the classroom and teaching – it reminds me a lot of leading a cappella. I hate hour-commutes. I need support from the institution. I also need freedom from the institution, which I did have. I don’t want to teach any more until I learn a lot more, but it’s definitely a prospect for the future. I’m VERY glad to be down one responsibility.



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  1. Interesting. I am seriously thinking about teaching and doing research in my future, so to hear others’ stories on being up there in front of the classroom and talking is something I want to know more about.

    Abe, how did you approach your teaching with the 8 students sitting to learn English? If I remember, you refused to talk at them but rather had interactive discussions and brought about group work. Did you like it because you were helping them learn English (a teacher’s goal), or did you like the discussions you brought about more?


  2. When I first read this I saw “Transformers with Doug > West Wing with SF”, but then I realized it was an arrow, not a greater than sign. What a letdown.

    Miss you habibi! I think Wes, Ben and I are going to Vegas this summer (or perhaps this is just my fantasy), but you seem to hate the United States so you won’t be attending. Pssh. Tell Sameh and Sabry I said hi

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