Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Second Academic Year In Qatar Starts on Sunday!

My Facebook feed keeps showing me photos from a year ago:

My first day in Qatar on August 15, 2015, jet lag clearly present.

My shopping trips with friends as I began housekeeping in my Porto Arabia Tower apartment.

Delicious meals at the restaurants featuring a wide variety of international foods.

The onboarding process at Qatar University for new faculty.

Steamy nights exploring the souk.

Some sight-seeing trips in the blistering evening heat.

Exploring fancy spas.

Morning walks on the harbor with West Bay skyscrapers visible in the distance.

Dressing up for the law school's reception at the Ritz Carlton.

I am happy and curious in all these photos. 

I look at those photos and feel grateful that I am through that demanding transition process.  Doha is now thoroughly my home. 

I have a new apartment in Qanat Quatier, an apartment complex designed to imitate Venice.  I live in a one bedroom apartment I decorated to look like a Nantucket beach house.  

I am only a block from the beach on the Arabian Gulf. 

These days, I swim there most mornings.  I prefer the pools in the Towers.  Recently, I set some personal bests wearing my version of a birkini.  I can swim 30 lengths in a 16 meter pool in about 25 minutes.  I can also swim 40 lengths without too many breaks.  I ordered a swim watch just so I get a bit more obsessive about it.  

What is absent from these photos that are taking me down memory lane are photos of my early classes and my lovely female students. 

Perhaps I was too overwhelmed to remember to snap any photos.  At the same time, I quickly learned that you do not take photos of women without permission.  If you look carefully, you will notice that any photos I post on Facebook show female students from behind.

I talked about the course I teach and my students in this post.  A year later, I remind myself to stay open-hearted towards my students.  They typically share my sense of overwhelm.  I tell them to "do it scared."  I tell them that growth happens outside their comfort zones. I tell them to just put their heads down and do the work.  I tell them to be brave.  They've got this. 

And, most of them do.

This summer, I ran into several students in local malls or the Ikea store.  They are always with their lovely mothers.  We talk.  They say such nice things about me.  I am proud of them and let their mothers know that.  They blush a little.  These are the moments teachers wait to have.   Quick affirmations that student and teachers work in partnership to create love and success.

I am excited about the new semester.   I can't wait to meet my new students.  I hope one, like last semester, will tell me at the final exam that she is planning to "dazzle me."  Please do.  Shine brightly. 

1 comment:

  1. Welcome in Qatar!! Beautiful pictures. Being a good teacher you quickly create affirmations with student ... All the best... Hope you enjoy...

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