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To the interest of those teaching in Oman
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madrileno



Joined: 19 Aug 2010
Posts: 146
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did I guess this was Nizwa before I was even halfway through with the reading?
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lizziebennet



Joined: 24 May 2009
Posts: 338

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hah hah Madrileno,

Sounds like it could be any place in Oman Smile

Lizzie
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Geronimo



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 406

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The amount of detail in your OP resignation letter, globetrotter,
bears testament to the depth and strength of your feeling
about your teaching experience in Nizwa.

I'm sure that EFL teachers who have been considering Nizwa or
other towns and cities in Oman as a possible future destination could benefit
from considering the likely implications for their own teaching experience
in the Colleges of Applied Science, or elsewhere within
the Omani educational framework for that matter.

Another very different take on the Nizwa College of Applied Sciences'
TEFLing experience is provided in a youtube video by Baxter Jackson, (a.k.a "The Dude"), though.

His experience at the College seems to have been a happier one...
"an honor and a privilege that I'm most grateful for."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7lzzaZXmeQ&feature=related

No doubt his well-shot video is worthy of a viewing for those contemplating a flight to Muscat, too.

Geronimo


Last edited by Geronimo on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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The Steakinator



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 71
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a saying in Arabic (and EVERY Arab above ten years of age knows it): "Min 3allamani Harfaan, kintu lahu 3abdaan." Loosely translated, it means "Whoever teaches me a letter, I am his slave." There's also a belief within Islam that teachers are the lowest level of prophets. So, taking that into consideration, according to Islamic culture, teachers do deserve "automatic respect" - the idea of earning it just doesn't exist to them.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12341
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Steakinator,

There's a saying in the New Testament (and every Christian above ten years of age knows it):

"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you."

I believe that's working out just about as well as "automatic respect" for teachers in the Middle East Very Happy.

If I may ask, how long have you been teaching there - and have you always gotten that "automatic respect?"

Regards,
John
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7168Riyadh



Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

balqis wrote:
A point very well made, FarGone, re ''earning respect'' inane nonsense.

Current education is truly corrupted by those who believe in ''earning respect'' anti-pedagogy, and they these days set the tone, well not tone but cacophony.

balqis


I want to weigh in here because johnslat has been fighting against some deeply pernicious attitudes on this thread alone. The quote above is a case in point. I find it totally astonishing that ANY teacher thinks they automatically deserve to be respected. It is axiomatic to any thinking, intelligent individual that respect must be earned!! To not understand this basic truth explains a great deal about so many "teachers" failing in Arabia, and a lot about the original poster's pathetic whining.
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cfaulkner



Joined: 01 Jun 2012
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of "teachers": They should cut salaries by 50% in all the Middle East. I bet there would be no decline in the number of teachers available. When a teacher wouldn't work for that low of a salary, 3 others would willingly take his place. The notion employers have to pay big salaries to "teachers" is a myth.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15932
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are already having difficulty getting qualified native speakers. If they cut salaries they would get even fewer...

VS
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Expat101



Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Steakinator wrote:
There's a saying in Arabic (and EVERY Arab above ten years of age knows it): "Min 3allamani Harfaan, kintu lahu 3abdaan." Loosely translated, it means "Whoever teaches me a letter, I am his slave." There's also a belief within Islam that teachers are the lowest level of prophets. So, taking that into consideration, according to Islamic culture, teachers do deserve "automatic respect" - the idea of earning it just doesn't exist to them.


I see you study history. I do too. So when you study history, you know there are always two or more versions of the same story. You have shown one. Now, let me remind or enlighten everyone to the fact that the first Muslims were unlettered. How did they learn? At war, they captured their pagan enemies. Those prisoners who were literate and willing to teach the new Muslims (to read and write) could earn their freedom. Most of them opted for this instead of remaining a captive forever. So, on that note, I think it would be foolish for any similar teacher to walk into an Arab, Muslim classroom and think of him or herself as a Ďlowest level of prophets.í Indeed, many students may take offence and see you as a foolish captive in their land.

Do you believe that the first Muslims respected their first teachers? On the contrary, most of them wanted nothing more than to kill their enemies. It was the LAST prophet who forbid them to do so with his new rules of engagement. These rules infuriated many of them and caused heated arguments amongst themselves. In the end, the captive teachers who converted to Islam and showed themselves useful to the cause became the most respected and revered! Now am I saying that you canít earn their respect if you donít convert? No, thatís not what I am saying. If they find your teaching useful, obviously you have earned their respect.

I have heard of Egyptian, Muslim teachers having a lot of trouble trying to Ďearní respect from their much younger Gulf Arab students who patronize them constantly. On the other hand, I have heard of Egyptian teachers being violent and abusive towards their primary school students. Obviously, they are doing this to demand respect. So if native English speaking teachers are complaining about a lack of respect from their students, it may be comforting to know that itís not only native English speakers who have this problem, itís also the native Arabic speaking teachers too.
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Expat101



Joined: 09 May 2012
Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cfaulkner wrote:
Speaking of "teachers": They should cut salaries by 50% in all the Middle East. I bet there would be no decline in the number of teachers available. When a teacher wouldn't work for that low of a salary, 3 others would willingly take his place. The notion employers have to pay big salaries to "teachers" is a myth.

Are you a "teacher?" You really think teacher salaries are too high in places like Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, etc.?! If they cut salaries by 50%, the quality of teaching would go down for sure and the NES teachers would have to be replaced with those from the Philippines, India, Africa, etc. because those are the only teachers who would accept such a low salary.
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posh



Joined: 22 Oct 2010
Posts: 430

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expat101 wrote:
posh wrote:
In Saudi I often think 'what these guys really need is a good dose of Buddhism' and at least a semester's worth of how to be honest.

Rolling Eyes Buddhism and honesty don't belong in the same sentence. And what has this got to do with Oman anyway? With as many 'teachers' running around the world using fake credentials, this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

For the people demanding respect, this is just imperialism raising its ugly head well into the new millennium. Isn't it time to put aside the ego once and for all?! Looking back on my school days, there's nothing I hated more than to sit in a class with an egotistical instructor who obviously couldn't care less about us.

If you think so highly of Buddhism, don't you think it's time to get out of the Middle East and work in a Buddhist country full of oh so honest people? Rolling Eyes


Like I said, these people need education Wink
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Geronimo



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 406

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick reminder to those readers of this thread
from outside of the Middle East that
"World Teachers' Day" is to be held on 5th October this year...
so, not a lot of time to prepare those special activities and events...

"What can I do?

Everyone can help by celebrating the profession, by generating awareness about teacher issues,
by ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things.
Take the opportunity of the day to discuss, compare, learn, argue, share and improve.

Partners all over the world celebrate and organize events for WTD, you can contact UNESCO (wtd(at)unesco.org)
to find out who may be organizing an event near you
or organize your own local event
."
http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/education-building-blocks/teacher-education/world-teachers-day/

However, in 11 Arab countries, including Oman, Teachers' Day is held on
28th February each year. So, there's much more time available for planning
for this special day...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teachers'_Day

And, teachers in the U.S.A have a whole week of appreciation
to look forward to next May!!
American teachers must be really wonderful! Very Happy
http://www.teacher-appreciation.info/Teachers_Day/USA_Teachers_day_and_week.asp

Geronimo
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12341
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Geronimo,

"What can I do?

Everyone can help by celebrating the profession, by generating awareness about teacher issues, by ensuring that teacher respect is part of the natural order of things."

It seems to me that makes it sound as though "teacher respect" is NOT the "natural order of things."

Moreover, in my opinion, the only way for me as a teacher to answer the question "What can I do" would be to teach in a way that generates such respect.

Unfortunately, based on my experience, it is simply a fact that there are some in the profession (i.e. "the jokers") who do not behave in such a way and who are not deserving of respect.

I've certainly met some of those; I don't respect them as teachers, and I certainly wouldn't expect their unfortunate students to respect them, either.

Regards,
John
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The Steakinator



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 71
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear Steakinator,

There's a saying in the New Testament (and every Christian above ten years of age knows it):

"Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you."

I believe that's working out just about as well as "automatic respect" for teachers in the Middle East Very Happy.

If I may ask, how long have you been teaching there - and have you always gotten that "automatic respect?"

Regards,
John


I wasn't agreeing with the poster who said automatic respect should be given, I'm a firm believer it's earned. I was simply saying that within the "Arab" cultural mentality, the idea of giving automatic respect isn't as ridiculous to them as it is to us.

In every case I've been in, I had to earn respect and I prefer it that way.
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The Steakinator



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 71
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Expat101 wrote:
The Steakinator wrote:
There's a saying in Arabic (and EVERY Arab above ten years of age knows it): "Min 3allamani Harfaan, kintu lahu 3abdaan." Loosely translated, it means "Whoever teaches me a letter, I am his slave." There's also a belief within Islam that teachers are the lowest level of prophets. So, taking that into consideration, according to Islamic culture, teachers do deserve "automatic respect" - the idea of earning it just doesn't exist to them.


I see you study history. I do too.


Good, not enough people do. But my quote didn't insinuate I study history (though I do), it just insinuated I'm familiar with Arabic language, culture, and Islam.

Expat101 wrote:
So when you study history, you know there are always two or more versions of the same story. You have shown one. Now, let me remind or enlighten everyone to the fact that the first Muslims were unlettered. How did they learn? At war, they captured their pagan enemies. Those prisoners who were literate and willing to teach the new Muslims (to read and write) could earn their freedom. Most of them opted for this instead of remaining a captive forever. So, on that note, I think it would be foolish for any similar teacher to walk into an Arab, Muslim classroom and think of him or herself as a Ďlowest level of prophets.í Indeed, many students may take offence and see you as a foolish captive in their land.


Well, this is part of the official version in the Sira, though many of the first Muslims were "lettered" (Abu Sarh was Muhammed's first scribe and then later apostated, it's his story that Rushdie bases the character of the scribe in the 'The Satanic Verses') but the Arabic script at the time was only skeletal, without the diacritics and unable to express the differences between about half of the letters (for example, j, H, and kh were all the same letter, and b, t, the, n, ye, ee, were the same when occurring in the medial positions - the list goes on. But even those letters weren't differentiated until after the mid-seventh century by Abu Aswad ad Du'ali). Added to it, it was Farahidi who added the short vowels in the mid-eighth. It was really only an aid to memorization and a lousy one at that. The most viable theory I've read on the historical graphology of Arabic is probably Luxemberg's.

I can't recall the number, so don't quote me on this, but I think it was ten people - so long as a literate captive taught ten Muslims to read and write, they were freed - but even this shows the high esteem of teachers that they could earn their freedom via teaching vs. all others who could only be exchanged for ransom or other prisoners. Though, it is ironic that a religion whose first revelation began with "read!" ("Iqra'a!") should have the highest illiteracy rates of the world's major religions.

I understand, though, what you're getting at, but, intents and purposes aside, the Hadith aren't a terribly accurate place to get historical information about the period of Islamic history they claim to represent, they more so reflect life under the Umayyads, who, it is widely believed, put many, if not most, of the hadith into circulation. The most accurate of all the Hadith collections was compiled two centuries after Muhammed's death and were skimmed down from many times their number. Of the close to 7,200+ hadith in the best collection, I think it's only eight hadith total that have the highest level of isnad to be called fully sahih (five people who heard it and passed it onto five others, etc. without it bottle necking to an individual, which easily 90%+ do at one point or another, especially in their origin) - this isn't a particularly good ratio.

Regardless, teachers are not just people who teach letters. Traditionally, it is considered proper for a Muslim to kiss the hands and feet of a scholar (which is a fairly relative term) due to their knowledge. Also, incumbent upon Muslim scholars is the need to teach others - i.e. be teachers.

Expat101 wrote:
Do you believe that the first Muslims respected their first teachers?


No...

Expat101 wrote:
On the contrary, most of them wanted nothing more than to kill their enemies. It was the LAST prophet who forbid them to do so with his new rules of engagement. These rules infuriated many of them and caused heated arguments amongst themselves. In the end, the captive teachers who converted to Islam and showed themselves useful to the cause became the most respected and revered!


Such as...?

Expat101 wrote:
Now am I saying that you canít earn their respect if you donít convert? No, thatís not what I am saying. If they find your teaching useful, obviously you have earned their respect.

I have heard of Egyptian, Muslim teachers having a lot of trouble trying to Ďearní respect from their much younger Gulf Arab students who patronize them constantly. On the other hand, I have heard of Egyptian teachers being violent and abusive towards their primary school students. Obviously, they are doing this to demand respect. So if native English speaking teachers are complaining about a lack of respect from their students, it may be comforting to know that itís not only native English speakers who have this problem, itís also the native Arabic speaking teachers too.


I agree completely, it goes without saying that the Arab nationals have a harder time with the students than we, the Westerns. A lot of it has to do with the expectation people have for those from their own culture - granted, the difference between Gulf Arab culture and, say, the Levant, is almost night and day, with accents that are not always mutually intelligible. Added to it, Levantine Arabs think of Gulf Arabs as, how do you say, "Hillbillies"?
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