Considering everyone else was in elementary school, I suppose it make sense that I (and the other NSLI-Y) girls were the tallest.
Yesterday morning we volunteered at another elementary school. The school was next to the school in which we had volunteered last time, so it was located in one of the older areas in Oman called Seeb. The school, a government school (ie- public school), was near the beach and was similar to the previous school in that there was a courtyard that was surrounded by all the classrooms. The school had a really nice courtyard with little patches of garden and murals were on some of the walls. It had a very friendly atmosphere.
We got to the school after the morning announcement ceremony and went directly to the teacher’s lounge (similar to the previous school’s lounge: there were cubicle-type desks, a matt on the ground for people to sit on, and an area with coffee and tea). The teachers and administration were all women and were wearing brightly colored Omani clothing. All of the women had their hair covered.
They were all so sweet and welcoming and all stood up and lined up to great us as we walked in. They came and sat with us and talked to us in Arabic while we waited for our classes to begin.
Each of us only attended one class and I sat in an Arabic class with Anna. It was actually really exciting because I understood most of what was going on in the class! Granted, they were elementary school kids, but hey, progress is progress! In the class, they read sentences in Arabic out-loud and then described a picture of Soor, which is a city in Oman. The students were again very enthusiastic, though in this school they did not scream “teacher teacher” while jumping out of their seats when they wanted to answer a question. They did frantically wave their arms around though when a question was asked, and the longer the teacher waited to call on a student, the more frantic they got. It was quite amusing actually.
The classroom itself had yellow plaster walls, tiled stone floor, and a photo of Sultan Qaboos hung in the front. There were some decorations around in the room. It was simple but friendly. The teacher was really enthusiastic and you could tell that she loved her students.
After our classes, we hung around for a while more before eating the obligatory and all-too-delicious dates.
I’m excited because we are going to start volunteering at schools every Thursday. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity, because it is such a rare chance to be able to go into schools and meet and talk to teachers and students in various schools around the city. I can’t wait for next week’s school! Who would’ve thought that I’d be excited to go back to elementary school?