Oh man…. A pun I know but what a time I’ve had. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by my trip this week and so when people have been asking me how my trip went, I really do feel like saying that. It was amazing.
When someone first asks you if you’d like to do some work abroad, you think, “wow, that’d be cool” or “what a great opportunity” – but I wasn’t really expecting the kind of experience I’ve had. Being the Middle East, I have to admit, some trepidation was in place but my worries were misplaced – apart from what appear to be some seriously wreckless drivers – there is nothing to worry about…
I’ve always had this long held belief that teachers are a special breed. There’s always those who really don’t give a damn – I think Wilshaw and Gove might call them the 3.30 brigade; but in general, it is true that most teachers don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “I know, let’s see how we can make the lives of young people as miserable as possible.” We’re a great, no… fantastic profession of people who really care about making a positive impact in the lives of children. And so when I was offered some work this summer in Oman, I knew that the teachers there would be the same as most of the teachers I’ve had the experience of working before. After all – it’s why teachers on Twitter are the best staff room in the world (I know – I’ve said it again…) – I knew these teachers would be there wanting to give a damn, wanting to make a difference and wanting to skill themselves up in order to improve the learning opportunities for their children in their setting.
I wasn’t wrong.
The teaching staff that I worked with were clearly learning and student outcomes focused. The 3 days with the 8 teachers at the school in Sur, Oman was amazing. Over the three days that we worked together we covered an awful lot.
- ICT tools for learning
- Mobile learning
- Technology infrastructure
- Use of iPads
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Citizenship
- Digital Leaders
- Twitter for teachers
- 100 Word Challenge (@theheadsoffice will be pleased!)
- Changes to the ICT >> Computing curriculum
- Tools to support computing
- Early years ICT
And much much more besides…
What I wasn’t expecting however was the brilliant camaraderie and friendship that would be extended to me. Across the 8 teachers we had Scottish, Irish, Dutch, Omani, English, Russian and Swedish, yet… you’d never have known. Certainly a great reflection of the leadership of the school, but they treated me amazingly well. I thought I’d probably be in my hotel room every night, beavering away working (ok, I was) but… every night we did different things together as a team. I visited a sink hole filled with water that had little fish in it that nibble at your feet. I visited the beach (although the coastline runs pretty much uninterrupted along the coastline from Muscat to Sur) and enjoyed tapas with the teachers and their partners. We visited a beach late at night where Green Sea turtles (we’re talking 240 kilo turtles here) come and lay their eggs at night and I saw them doing this, returning to the sea and babies who had just hatched returning to the sea too. I visited a Dhow boat museum and saw Dhow boats being made by hand. And much more. Organised by whom? The school of course. Averaging something like 36-38° each day, staying outside wasn’t too much of an option but air conditioning was brilliant over there.
I was privileged to spend the time with the teachers in Sur. They were a great group of professionals and I look forward to working with them again. And if you ever get the opportunity to visit Oman, either for business or pleasure, I highly recommend it. A truly beautiful country great destination with friendly and helpful people. I highly recommend it.