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Extending understanding

September 9, 2015
Public domain image by Indie available at https://pixabay.com/en/saudi-arabia-desert-camel-95501/

My image of Saudi Arabia before I moved here in August.  Public domain image by Indie available at https://pixabay.com/en/saudi-arabia-desert-camel-95501

This is my new home. Or at least, this is the stereotype of my new home.

 

Truth be told, this is the view out  my kitchen window:

A view out my kitchen window.

A view from my kitchen. Surprisingly, there are big trees and even some blooms in my desert backyard. 

Two weeks ago today, I arrived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’ve started a new job as a Digital Learning Coach at Dhahran High School. The first few days of work have been busy getting set up, figuring out what I’m doing, and all the things that come with such a huge job change.

Public domain image by 99pixel available at https://pixabay.com/en/stamp-clutter-office-stamps-114353/

Public domain image by 99pixel available at https://pixabay.com/en/stamp-clutter-office-stamps-114353/

As I added my signature to my new email, I thought about this blog and how neglected it has been. I would like to start posting more regularly again, and it is my intent to do so; but getting over that, “Maybe it would be better just to ignore the blog and hope it goes away,” is a challenge. I know I was busy. I know how many doctor visits getting a Saudi visa entails. I know how important the time I spent visiting with family was this summer. I know the endless preparations we went through this summer to prepare ourselves for this move.

Still, someone looking at this blog would think I’m irresponsible, lazy, remiss; however, I’m trying to extend myself some understanding and kindness.

In 1986, I moved to Durham, New Hampshire, where I started school at Oyster River High School in April. My new Geometry Teacher extended grace and understanding to me. She gave me extra assistance and extra time because I was really challenged to learn. My brain was full of making new friends, learning new places, and starting a new school. I did not have the room in my brain for Geometry that I should have because of those external circumstances.

As I extend understanding to myself about not blogging because of life’s circumstances, I think of that teacher and her kindness to me. I think of the students I have had and how as a teacher I tried (and too frequently failed) to find the right balance between extending understanding and enforcing rules. I hope that as I extend understanding to myself, I am able to extend that same understanding to my students. I hope that even in a culture of accountability, it is possible to extend kindness and understanding. After all, there is green even in the desert.

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