Anyway, back to my classroom observations. I arrived at the school and was escorted to the teacher's room. Once inside it was like any teachers' room in North America. Teachers milling about preparing for class, talking about the latest news (particularly the events in Syria), drinking coffee (Turkish coffee that you can stand a spoon up in), and sharing teaching ideas. Of course it was slightly different in that they speak two of three different languages fluently (Arabic, French, and English) and mix and match them sometimes randomly. It is fun to listen to even if you don't understand it. One teacher immediately cornered me and asked me to review her challenge (lesson) on the history of soap making in Lebanon. It was a terrific challenge and is part of a field trip they are going on. I loved it when she said, "I don't want them just going on the field trip for the trip's sake. I want them to have an academic focus." That is something we have always advocated.
After a quick look at the schedule we went to Colette's classroom. Colette is an administrator but like many administrators outside the U.S. administrators still teach. It is a great way to keep the other teachers from thinking that administrators have lobotomies as soon as they leave the classroom. Colette was teaching a math class. The challenge was written in French and although my ability to read French is about 1,000 times better than my ability to read Arabic it is still abysmal. It was a neat challenge having the students figure out some not so obvious ways to address the particular math issues. (My math isn't much better than my French) As I said yesterday, you don't have to know the language to see whether they are using the tools and techniques you have been teaching them. Colette definitely was. We visited two other classes one focusing on observing decision making through story, and the other was an Arabic class. They both exhibited lots of the things we had taught them.
The day flew by. It seem we were either doing observations, meeting with veteran teachers we have trained on earlier trips, or eating. That's right, eating. When I arrived in the morning Narwal made sure we ordered lunch. I encouraged her to order some Lebanese food for me. Later I found out that Colette, as Assistant School Director, provides breakfast for the faculty once a year. This year everything came locally. The vegetables (radishes, mint, lettuce, mini-tomatoes, and scallions) came for teachers' gardens. (the season allows for year around gardening) The cheese and humus (or was it the yogurt?) came from a local convent. The bread looked like pita that was over inflated. (I mean way over inflated) Of course it was delicious and I was stuffed as I trekked off to my next teacher observation. Too soon it was lunch time and it turns out that Narwal had forgotten that we were having the breakfast and ordered me two bowls of Lebanese tabbouleh, (tons more parsley and ton less bulgar than the American version) humus, a chicken wrap kind of thing, and olives. (There are always olives.) I couldn't eat it all.
After all our meetings and visitations I rode back with Hussein as my driver. Hussein has been our driver many times and is the nicest guy you will ever meet. When I said that this might be our last visit he encouraged me to come over for recreation and stay with his family. You can't ask for friendlier people.
Now I'm back in the apartment and we're getting ready to go out to eat once again. (click on the photos below for captions)