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A lesson in autobiographies

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Monday, 30 May 2011 | Views [829] | Comments [2]

Here in Dubai, my students provide some of the greatest satisfaction of my lifestyle. Every day they astound me and I am constantly fascinated to learn more about their lives, histories and experiences. Most classes will have students from more than 12 or 15 different countries, with different experiences of travel and lifestyles around the world. The majority of my students are from very wealthy families and have excellent positioning in the micro-world of Dubai. Nevertheless a few will astound me with an insightful nature that goes beyond my expectations; something more akin to the small-world and non-consumer view that you don't usually associate with Dubai.

When teaching classes and developing assessment in the IB curriculum, we do the most we can to foster the world view that the students bring to school, so that they can share their lives, perspectives and ideas from a variety of backgrounds. They love comparing how their ideas are all different, yet essentially the same. After reading Roald Dahl's autobiography Boy, the students worked on creating their own autobiographies, and here is an excerpt from one that left me completely dumbfounded tonight.

I have moved almost every year in my life. I have lived in four different countries. Although born in Sweden, I met my match learning English in Abu Dhabi before living in other countries. Sometimes I suffer from it, but I can see the positives too. I have a special moment in my life that I will always remember, from when my Mom, sisters and I lived in Thailand. We went to a Swedish school and lived in a small cabin, without hot water and had only a small motorbike for transportation. Before this I came from Wellington International School in Dubai, I lived in a villa on The Palm and I was used to my Mom's Hummer for transportation. It was a very big transformation, going to a very tiny village in Thailand, with small sandy roads and no access to the mainland except by boat, which took several hours. I made friends with some local Thai boys, who lived on clay floors in their tiny cabins, with no beds or toys. They slept on a thin mattress that they rolled out every evening when they were going to sleep. They only had a football that we played with when I went to their house. One morning I told my Mom, when I was sitting on the back of her motorbike, that I had seen that my Thai friends were much more genuine that my friends in Dubai. Although my friends in Dubai had everything they could dream of, they were still unhappy and unthankful. My Mom had to stop her motorbikle because her tears were blocking her eyes and she couldn't see the road. I think this is a moment none of us will ever forget. ~ E.J. 12 years old

These parents should be so very, very proud. I know I am, and I just taught him the genre.

Comments

1

My dear...this just brought tears to my eyes! You are so wonderful sharing all your amazing stories with us! Thank you! Miss you lady! xXx

  Robyn Jun 24, 2011 4:13 AM

2

Miss you too my love! I hope you're well! xxx

  princess2802 Jun 26, 2011 3:42 AM

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