Sunday, May 13: This afternoon was our last official day of classes for the spring semester. Monday & Tuesday, the students have presentations and next Saturday will be the final exam for the level 3 students.
My students, 27 girls, voted to have a party and signed up to bring mostly a bunch of sweets. The girls swarmed into the room, tossing their candies and cakes and Pepsi bottles haphazardly on my desk. They promptly started blowing up balloons and then popping them loudly, shooting confetti all over the place from a cylindrical cardboard cannon, and spraying gooey foam all over the place. It was out of control from the first minute the party started until the end, when some of the more responsible girls and I had to clean up the entire mess…. !
This was not my idea of a good time and during this party I swore to myself I would never have another party at the University of Nizwa. The girls, ages 18-20 were acting like 3-year-olds at an unsupervised birthday party. This was par for the course for this group, many of whom were sadly misplaced into Level 3; it was obvious early on that they were not even up to the ability of my Level 2 students at the beginning of the fall semester. Having an all-girl class presented an additional challenge as the girls seem to regress to pre-adolescence when there are no boys around to keep them in line.
My girls this semester were also ultra-conservative, unlike my Level 2s last semester, who seemed to be a mix of sophisticated, open-minded girls and conservative girls, with the open-minded ones in the majority. Thus in this post you will not see pictures of any of the girls’ faces as they did not feel comfortable with me taking photos to post on my blog.
We finished the party after a lot of squealing and general boisterousness and a HUGE mess in every nook and cranny of the room. I was never happier to see a party come to an end. I’m really hoping next semester, which will be the summer semester for me, I will have some more mature students, a mix of boys and girls, who are appropriately placed in my class. I think it’s time, if one is a university student, to GROW UP!!
I received gifts from two girls. One girl gave me three books: one titled Woman in Islam, another Islam and Christianity as seen in the Bible, and the other a book written in German called Ein Kurzer Illustrierter Wegweiser Um Den Islam Zu Verstehen. When I mentioned to the student that I don’t speak German, she shrugged and said she thought I spoke German. I’ve never given them any reason to think I speak German; I don’t even know one word!! She suggested that I might want to learn it. Hmmm. So I can read a book about Islam? I’ve already read a lot about Islam and don’t feel any great urge to study a new language just so I can read another book about the religion!!
Another girl gave me a lovely little bottle of perfume and the sweetest note that said: Dear Ms. Cathy: I want say thank you so much for all your effort. I know it was so hard to learn us and we was so annoying but you have white heart and forget. Ms. “I will mess you so much.” Take care, Yours, the noisy girl. This girl was a sweet and lively girl who actually was my best grammar student. Can you tell?
One caveat: I did have some wonderful girls this semester, probably about two-thirds of my class, who were respectful, hard-working and generally lovely. Those girls were the ones who made the class survivable, and even pleasurable, for me. I loved these girls and will miss them. The rest of them were frankly not interested in learning and I guess are hoping that wasta (favors) will get them by. Hmmm. I guess only time will tell how life will deal with them.