February 12, 2013

... and then a kid got maced in my classroom.

You should definitely hire us.
Especially the blonde.
So, one time a kid got maced in my classroom.  Accidentally.

See, this November I had to pull out my resume because Dhahran Academy needed a long term substitute band director and evidently I'm the only one they could find.  Which meant I had to dig my resume out of the bowels of Andrew's God forsaken computer(Andrew's Note: Wha...excuse me?!) and bring it up to date from the last 5 years of organized chaos... cough, high school band directing.  Getting anything out of Andrew's computer requires patience (of which we all know I possess a multitude), creative thinking (which I generally leave to Andrew), and a love of colorful Arabic pop up ads (which delay all computer related activities by at least 3 minutes and force you to utilize Google Translate entirely too much).  I'm hoping that my subtle hints (crying/gnashing of teeth) over the past 6 months will result in a shiny MacBook Pro sometime around May 7th or mid-July.  (Actually, its a matte finish.)  I'm flexible here.  May is my birthday and I'll be 30, which in and of itself is a feat worth celebrating technologically, and mid-July is when we come back to the States on our re-pat (repatriation... ie: get out of Saudi Arabia so that we can issue you a Visa because we don't like tourists and you have to have a Visa to live and work here).  In fact, since those are two highly essential times in my life I would be willing to settle for a new iPod for my birthday and the laptop on re-pat.  My iPod drowned in running sweat.  I blame Saudi. (That's nasty.)

I've told this to Andrew and Won Ton.  Won Ton agrees with me.  Andrew rolls his eyes.

Me:  I need a new laptop
Andrew: Why?
Because yours hates me!  It never finds what I want it to find.
Did you spell it right?
It should know my general intent when spelling.
That's ridiculous.
No, your laptop is ridiculous.  Don't blame my spelling on me.  I blame it on my 1st grade year spent in the US for education.  1st grade is a very important year in spelling and its the only one I spent in the USA.
That's even more ridiculous.  You're blaming your lack of spelling skills on one year of school?!
Yes.  And my teacher's name was Ms. Butt-room.  That scarred me.
Your teacher's name was Ms. Butt-room?  
Yes.  I spent most of the year trying to decide if it was worse to be named after a butt or a mushroom rather than paying attention on how to spell butt or mushroom.
Your spelling words were "butt" and "mushroom"?.... Never mind.  So because you can 't spell, you need a new laptop?
Exactly.  And it needs to be a MacBook Pro.
Why a Mac?  It't not going to help your horrifying spelling.
Horrifying. H-O-R-R-I-F-Y-I-N-G.  Horrifying.  
Shush.  Because they make me happy and I used to have one at my old job and I tried to steal it but having my Dad as my boss made that problematic so I had to be all ethical and give it back and now I still can't spell AND don't have a Mac.
You know there are children hungry in Africa (like, just to the left of us) and this is what you're complaining about.  
Spelling is an international problem that affects children in all countries.
So you're saying that African children's spelling a ranks up there with the global child hunger crisis.
< Sigh> I'm hungry.

Most of our conversations end like that, but I digress.

I was searching for my resume because as I said above, an international school here in Saudi wanted me to come interview for a long term sub position because their band director was having a baby.  I finally convinced Andrew's computer to find my resume, which by the way was NOT  labeled "2007 Allison Resume" but instead titled "2007 Allison Ressumee".  "Sounding it out," in this case, did not work to my benefit.  After a quick perusal  I decided that my resume does a stellar job of highlighting my best work achievements, while leaving out the awkward moments like the time a student got maced in my classroom...with my mace.  Evidently, you shouldn't actually leave your key-chain mace out on your teaching desk while teaching.  Those pesky orchestra kids will sneak in and mace one of your trumpet players right in front of your eyes.  And because it's public school and there's no money, they custodians will conveniently forget to tell you that they didn't actually clean the mace off your desk so for the next 3 months you will essentially be macing yourself everything time your put your hand on your desk and then rub your eyes.

That was my 2nd year teaching.

My 1st year, I definitely left a kid behind on a field trip.

My band was performing at the opening of a weather station on top of a mountain in Kentucky (I know... right??) and someone forgot to check roll on the way home on the bus.  I felt horrible and from that day forward I have never let a student take roll for me, I always take roll.  I also stopped carrying mace to school, but I should have mentioned that in the last paragraph.

My middle school bandies, or, more specifically, a certain section of low brass players, really didn't like me.  But they did like my phone enough to introduce it to the boy's bathroom toilets.  It's kind of like what happened to my iPod except that wasn't intentional.  Sweat happens.  Once my phone bit the bullet, I started looking for jobs in Houston which brought me to my last position as band director at Houston Christian High School.  Those kids liked my cell phone too, but they also like me so the worst that happened was I got really comfortable reading Swahili and German buttons because they would change my language settings.

I also axe-bombed the boy's hotel rooms on a trip to Paris.

(I think you think the cross-out feature means they can't hear you  :-)

Moral of the story is that I am glad that resumes don't make you tell all the mistakes you've made.  The other moral of the story is that you really shouldn't hire 1st or 2nd year teachers.  Oh, and Axe body spray is stupid and does not work well as a car deodorizer as I learned after the boys got me back my axe-ing the crap out of the interior of my car (days before we were trying to sell it).  Which now that I think about it would never have happened if I had just taken roll on that particular band outing.

"Where are Drew and Duna?"
"They're at the bathroom...."
<snickers from the percussion section>

Working at Dhrahan Academy has been great.  I loved meeting the kids and working with them even if it was just for a short time.  I got to teach the Beginning, Middle School, and the High School Bands.  Such a huge diversity of cultures and languages in each band, the most I've ever taught.  It was actually really interesting to realize that my American references, analogies and jokes sometimes didn't always come across.  Then I would have to explain the jokes, and things just aren't as funny when explained.

Kind of like this blog.

The commute was terrible.  My alarm went off at 4:55 AM people.  4:55 AM!!!!!  That's like Today-Show-anchor early!  I have to drive to the bus stop by 5:45 so that I could catch the 5:55 bus to work.  But this is a very long bus ride, not to mention dangerous.  I laugh when people in the US freak out that we live in the scary country of Saudi Arabia when the actual danger of living here is driving.  No kidding.  You want to pray for us?  Pray for safety on the roads here.  They are a death trap just waiting to snap.  The commute to the international school takes an hour and ten minutes each way depending on who our driver is.  It's long, dangerous and I pretty much hated it.  Luckily, Aramco provided the camp with these fancy new buses that have two cup holders and the seats slide back and sideways.  So that's nice.  But overall, the commute stunk.

And I didn't exactly get along with the afternoon bus driver.  We had a difference of opinion in regards to how fast a bus should go.  I tried subliminal messaging with him since he barely spoke any English.  When I wanted him to go faster, I would clear my throat.  This would happen so often though that he probably though I continually had a nasty case of the bubonic plague.    

(You spelled "bubonic" wrong.  I fixed it.)

Awesome Dhahran Academy Beginning Band... never did get a picture of my Middle School kids... oops.

DHS Band... had a fun 3 months with them !

Evidently I've been calling this kid the wrong name for the past 3 months.
Teacher of the year moment?  Yes.


  1. You forgot some other bad stuff you did to your students!

    a) Duct taping Drew to a chair
    b) Switch errbody's tuxes in the hotel!
    c) Stealing my computer!
    d) Duct taping my stuff together and then to a wall (Or was that kyle... BUT IT WAS WITH YOU CONSENT)
    d) Losing Stuart in Paris
    e) Running us into the middle of traffic in Paris
    d) (Dare I talk about taking us to the Parisian Red-Light district?)
    f) Not making Drew the 2012 Drum-line captain
    g) Not making Drew 2012 trumpet first chair
    h) Saying people are kind with everything that moves (jerk)
    i) Moving away :(

    1. Hmmm.. this list is highly suspect.
      There is very minimal proof for Letter F and Letter G. I have to claim insanity with the other accusations... teaching band kids too long tends to have that affect on people.
      Miss you Drew!

  2. I can't believe you didn't take a picture of us Middle Schoolers. I can assure you that it would have been a ... um ... nice - yeah, let's go with nice - picture. Us Eighth Graders really know how to pose.
    Anyway, on behalf (is that spelled correctly?) of the 7th/8th Grade Intermediate Band, I would like to say that you were an awesome teacher, and we will miss you. :)
    Peace out
    CJ {Flute}
    May the Force be with you.

    1. Cheslee!
      Thanks for the comment! I feel terrible about not getting a picture of y'all. Too many chair tests I suspect. : )
      I will miss you too, you were so much fun!
      Mrs. R