What Changes!

I have been quiet on Twitter and my blogs lately because I have experienced major life changes that have taken all my energy.  I’ve moved from the Midwest in the USA to the small island nation of Bahrain in the Middle East.

I’m eating new food, sleeping in a new bed, and walking across two parking lots and up an elevator (lift) to go home instead of driving past ten miles of corn and soybean fields.

I’ve also said goodbye to junior high land, and have taken on the daunting role of English teacher to two kindergarten classes. I have 50 students in all, and I see each class for 1.5 to 2.5 hours a day, depending on the day of the week. The students are beautiful, loving, fun, and I am fully charmed.

As I’ve always said, I am a lifelong learner. Since I have a million things to learn, that’s a good thing!

I’ve also been “eating my words” when it comes to some of the things I’ve espoused and commented about freedom and choice in the primary classroom. Right now, I have a seating chart and even a behavior chart! These are things I’ve definitely shied away from in the past. So much to learn!

I am in my second week. Actually, even though it’s only Tuesday morning right now in my old stomping grounds, I’m actually 3/5 of the way finished with my second week. The weekend is Friday and Saturday and I’m 9 hours ahead of Iowa, so I just finished teaching on Tuesday, the halfway day. To be sure, I have not gotten used to the days of the week here!

Right now I’m getting my tail whupped, but I’m trusting God to fill in the gap.

I also want to listen and learn from you.

A few pictures on a Flickr set:

15 thoughts on “What Changes!

  1. Wow what a change! How brave of you! I visited our mutual friend & we talked about what you were doing. I think in November. I think you were subbing the day I was there. I’m loving retirement (so I can visit old friends). Good luck on your adventure!

    1. Thanks, Judy! Sorry I missed you when you traveled to our side of the state. Enjoy your retirement, friend!


  2. A seating chart and a behavior chart? Oh, times…they are a-changing!
    Always wishing you the best! 😉

  3. You are warm and those of us in the United States (including Alabama) are COLD! My classes and I will stay in touch! I am also teaching a masters course this term. Those students will also be learning along with you and me.

    Good luck! Stay warm!


    1. Thank you, John! Yes, my husband and I have remarked several times that we are not disappointed to miss out on this winter. It’s been frigid in eastern United States. I hope you can warm up soon!

      I am a novice teacher again this year with the little ones. They are precious and wonderful, and it is a good thing that I am the chief learner. We are getting along well!

      I look forward to hearing from your students.



  4. Wow, Denise! How exciting. (I obviously missed this earlier, but saw a tweet and thought “Huh??”)

    How exciting for you. I taught for a couple years in Eastern Africa, and it was one of the best experiences in my life. Also one of the most challenging. 🙂

    I think of you often and will look forward to hearing more about your adventures there.

  5. Mrs Denise,
    I know how it is with moving to different places, I lived in England for three years and that was the first time I ever left the U.S. Thankfully the school I went too was an on base school and I didn’t have to go to a off base school. The pictures that you put on your blog looked very nice I liked the way the classroom was designed.

  6. I always loved communicating with you when you taught for BVU. I just finished reading a few days of your blog and I was humbled by your writing. Thanks for sharing who you are as both a teacher and a learner. Best wishes from Iowa!!

  7. Denise,
    I have already commented on this blog but for some odd reason the previous blog would not let me comment on it so this comment is for your previous post about your daughters work. When I started to read the post and saw the pictures I was kind of confused by the fact that you would throw away some of you daughters work but as I read on I understood why you did that. You made an excellent point that the work doesn’t define a person it just shows how she performed academically. I really enjoyed reading another one of your blog posts:)

  8. Leanna,
    Thanks for the comment! I had a hard time at first throwing away some of the papers, but there were too many to keep, so it became easier and easier to throw out the ones that didn’t show her own personality and creativity. Many of the worksheets look the same no matter who completes them.

    I have the comments turned off after a certain period of time; that’s why you couldn’t comment on that post.

    Thanks again,

  9. Hi Denise,

    Hope all is well in your new surroundings! Would love to hear more about this new adventure in your life 🙂

    Keep the genius alive!


  10. Hello there,
    I am a student an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. I loved reading your blog. I think it is amazing that you have moved so far away from your comfort zone at home. I admire the bravery. I also want to become a teacher in another part of the world once I graduate. I really want to experience other cultures and see how they live, teach, and learn. I look forward to reading your blog for updates on your journey!
    Barrett Baker
    Barrett Baker’s Blog

  11. Hello my name is Alexandria Butler and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I very much enjoyed reading your blog. What a very important and poignant insight, I couldn’t agree more. How very interesting to be allowed to have that perspective about, high stakes test results, report cards, Accelerated Reader certificates, and worksheets, and feel free to voice your opinion, I envy your honesty. Speaking honestly is something akin to speaking Arabic to me, being an un-tenured teacher. I find myself in the same boat. I have a child who was identified as being gifted, and for the most part the creative activities were done on Pace days (once a week.) Today she rarely gets to participate in anything like that, unless it is done as a homework project because there has not been time allotted to those frivolous activities. I would love to see more about this difference in curriculum and standards. Awesome post, refreshing and sounds like you have quite an adventure ahead of you.

    1. Alexandria,
      Thank you for your comments. I find your perspective about speaking honestly (and not able to speak honestly) interesting. I think more of us need to speak up, even “un-tenured” because that’s how change will occur. Plenty of people in all situations are speaking out against the losses children are experiencing due to the over-emphasis on high-stakes testing. There are ways to criticize by creating too. Less risky than just speaking out against the bad parts of education is creating opportunities in your classroom where students are loving learning, tackling problems, and creating solutions. No one can argue against that, even with the emphasis on testing.

      Best wishes to you in your studies!


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