Teaching in Egypt: Our 9-5…err, 6-6

We work for the American International School of Egypt. That’s right, I said we. Becca started working there back in October after she long-term subbed at another local school. I teach 5th grade, she teaches 2nd. Working in a school abroad is similar to working in the States in a lot of ways. And then again, it’s completely different.

AISE from the soccer field.

AISE from the soccer field.

You may have picked up from the title that our work day is far from traditional. We greet each morning at 6:45 am, walk to the bus, and – judging by how well we can see the buildings across the street – decide if it’s going to be a really air polluted day, or just a normal polluted day. An hour or so later (depending on how many donkey carts and pedestrians get in the way) we arrive at school. From there, Becca and I go our separate ways. I’m on the second floor of our 4 level school and Becca works on the ground floor. Some nights we won’t get home from school until close to 6 pm. Yuck!

View of our school's courtyard from up high.

View of our school’s courtyard from up high. I play basketball after school every week with a few other teachers on those courts. They can get really slick because of dust- which always makes our games a little more interesting than they should be!

I teach solely social studies and science, which I love. In fact, it played a major factor in our decision to move to Egypt. I wasn’t really expecting to get my dream job when moving abroad, but 5th grade SS/Sci is about as close as it gets for me! My morning consists of grabbing a cup of coffee from fellow 5th grade teacher, Patti, who is a true veteran of the job. Following the “joe”, I have some planning time before I teach 5 classes in a row with a break for lunch in the middle.

One of my 4 5th grade classes that I teach.

One of my 4 5th grade classes that I teach.

Mr. Hatfield in action! Pay attention kids!

Mr. Hatfield in action! Pay attention kids!

Becca’s day is a bit different. 2nd grade means she is teaching all of the subjects to one class all day. I’m so proud of how hard she has worked this year. Considering how little experience she has had teaching in the past, she has really proven to me and everyone else how capable she is at managing a room full of 7 year olds. The kids adore her as well. It seems like every week she is bringing home a bag full of goodies that one of her students brought her.

Becca and Mom with Becca's 2nd grade class.

Becca and Mom with Becca’s 2nd grade class.

Mrs. Becca in action!  Such a natural...

Mrs. Becca in action! Such a natural…

While my school is an international school, the majority of the students are in fact Egyptian. They are loud, eager, frustrating, and lovable kids. Not much different than my students back in Virginia. Obviously, there are some stark differences between them and my kids from years past. For example, they speak Arabic. This can be problematic at times since they’re forced to speak English and aren’t allowed to speak their first language. Additionally, most of my students are Muslim. Meaning no Christmas, no Easter, and no assuming that they even know what those holidays are. They’re also hard workers. They have to be. Their parents pay a pretty penny to have them attend AIS and they aren’t just going to let their children slack off. Oh, and they love soccer. Seriously. Each morning I get an update of results from the previous evening’s matches.

Learning is fun, see!

Learning is fun, see!

Posing in my Elmo costume with my kids during our Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Posing in my Elmo costume with my kids during our Dia de los Muertos celebration.

All in all, I really enjoy teaching in Egypt. The school does a pretty good job of making sure their teachers are taken care of. When I need any supplies, I fill out a form, and a worker brings it to my room by the next day. If I have technical problems, an email to the right person gets it resolved before the day is out. They’re even letting me organize a field trip to Istanbul for my 5th graders this May. Istanbul…with 11 year olds! Our contracts with the school are for 2 years. While we still have no idea what we’ll be doing when that 2 years is up, we’re happy to be at AIS for now.



About Caleb and Becca

We are married. We are in Egypt. We have a son.
This entry was posted in Egypt and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Teaching in Egypt: Our 9-5…err, 6-6

  1. Jeremy says:

    Great update! Glad things are going to sell for you guys!

  2. David Prieb says:

    This was great to read through Caleb! Thanks.

  3. Gwen says:

    The school looks a little different without a sandstorm 🙂 I’ve never met more polite, respectful 5th graders. You are both amazing

  4. Jennie Thollander says:

    Best two teachers EVER

  5. Lynn & Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing “a day in the life of Caleb and Becca!” Knowing how you both love and care for others I have no doubt that your students have been impacted by you! Thanks for the pics of your classroom and students. We love you!

  6. Mom says:

    Thanks for letting is into your “ordinary” day. I know you both are influencing lives there. So glad you have this opportunity!

  7. James Hat says:

    It was really fun to speak to both classes. I didn’t realize that I could turn “Arthur” into an icon and have all the Arthur books checked out of the library by Becca’s class! We really enjoyed the questions from the kids. You both command so much respect from these kids. It’s quite apparent that they love both of you. I was also really impressed on how Becca has fit into the teaching position. She was such a natural that you would think this was her primary mission in life. Enjoy your adventures together!

  8. This is amazing Caleb. Glad you have been able to keep in touch with your soccer roots.

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