We hope all of our teachers have had a great start to 2013!
In this month’s issue, we’ll address strategies for dealing with difficult students, as well as a list of essentials for your carry-on suitcase when moving overseas. Finally, our country spotlight for January is Saudi Arabia.
Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Students
Every teacher knows the frustration of dealing with a tough student. Some kids act out because they have a difficult time learning, others might have outside emotional issues, and still others just have trouble sitting still! How you handle such students, however, can make a big difference in how you are able to manage your entire class.
When faced with teaching a student who is often in trouble, try the following techniques in order to reach her and better control your classroom.
1. Find out some of her interests –Does your trouble student love comic books? Soccer? Does she have a younger sibling she loves (or one who drives her crazy)? Find out something that’s important to her, especially if it’s something you might have in common.
2. Talk to your fellow teachers – Do you have a colleague who has had success with this student? Ask him how he’s been able to reach the student. He might have some valuable insight into techniques you haven’t considered.
3. Try peer help – If your student is strong in one subject, ask her to tutor a classmate who is struggling. Helping someone can be one of the best ways for a child to increase her self-esteem and take an interest in a subject.
4. Stay close – When possible, stay in close proximity to your difficult student. Put her near the front of the class or spend a little extra time near her during group activities. It won’t address the root of the problem, but sometimes it’s enough just to keep an eye on things.
5. Choose your battles – This isn’t to say that you should hold a problem student to a different standard than others. But at times it’s worth letting go of the little things in favor of working to resolve a larger behavior problem.
6. Put yourself in her place – It can be hard, but ask yourself why this student is acting out. Does she feel inferior to her overachieving older brother? Is her family life difficult? At best, you might be able to understand an issue that’s bothering her. And at the very least, just reminding yourself to remain empathetic can help you keep your patience when it’s running thin!
Traveling Abroad: What to Pack in a Carry-On
Starting a new job halfway around the world is already stressful. The last thing you want when you arrive is to find out that your luggage has been lost and you don’t know where to get anything. These days, there’s no reason to stuff a carry-on with entertainment options: most airlines show movies on international flights, and many travelers can use a single device for movies, music, and e-reading. Use your carry-on space for essentials:
- Passport and visa documents
- Documentation with your new address and contact details
- Medication (be sure to check before you leave to be sure that your medication will not be a problem in your new country)
- Two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and one thin change of clothes
- Eyeglasses, if you aren’t wearing them on the plane
- Toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste
- Cell phone or computer charger – however you plan to get in touch with family at home once you’ve arrived
- Small valuables
Take care to pack items that will not cause security issues at the airport, especially if you’re not sure what items are forbidden in your new country.
Country Spotlight: Saudi Arabia
Working in Saudi Arabia gives expatriates the opportunity to make a living in one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Teachers in Saudi Arabia earn a lucrative, tax-free salary, and are generally provided accommodation and airfare in addition to their salary. Educators therefore find that they can usually save a lot during their employment. Expatriate communities thrive in Saudi Arabia, ensuring that those living abroad can find a support network and familiar amenities.
Saudi Arabia’s modern state is rooted in a rich and significant history. Known as the birthplace of the Islamic religion, Saudi Arabia contains the two holiest places in Islam: Mecca and Medina. Modern Saudi Arabia has undergone rapid development since the discovery of oil, which makes up
70% of the country’s government revenue. Thanks to the oil industry, Saudi Arabia has grown into one of the richest countries in the world.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is perhaps best known in the West for its enforcement of strict societal rules. Islam governs daily life, and expats must understand and accept the country’s laws and customs if they expect to reside in Saudi Arabia. For culturally sensitive teachers, however, the cultural immersion of Saudi Arabia can be very rewarding. Friendly hospitality, family life, and close-knit relationships form the core of Saudi Arabian interactions. Though the rules are certainly different from what Westerners are used to, most teachers find that learning to accept new customs with an open mind is the best way to truly understand and appreciate Saudi Arabian culture.
Teaching in Saudi Arabia can be a challenge, but for the right teachers, it is an extremely rewarding one. For more information about working in Saudi Arabia, check out the current teaching jobs abroad.