Lions into Lambs

We've had a bit of an unusual week here in the Kingdom. There's been a mix of odd weather recently including a few light showers and very high winds. Yesterday evening a large sand storm rolled in from Kuwait and, as luck would have it, school was cancelled due to low visibility and poor air quality. A day off to catch up on things is a nice break from the ups and downs of the past week, but it’s a sure sign that the full force of the summer heat will be here soon.

Spring has Sprung

At the end of last week, after dealing with Latifah and continuing to sort out small problems in preparation for next year, I hit a bit of a wall. As myself and the Brit continue to take on more responsibilities and prepare everything for next year, we've come to find that things are much more futile than we had anticipated. I've had a significant amount of success getting things in working order and dealing with problems, but the most important issues that will end up having the biggest impact for next year continue to be bogged down by the stubbornness and incompetence of just one or two people. I’ve done as much as I can do, or will do based on how much they pay me, so for now I’m letting things stay the way they are.

The Brit has been saddled with the task of recruiting new teachers for next year, as well as a number of other things he never intended to get himself into, such as finding a leasing agent for the compound the Company is building for teachers, and setting up potential side businesses for whatever educational whim the Vice President feels each day. After figuring out that he wouldn’t be able to do the job himself, the Vice President told the Brit to attend a few job fairs around the region and hire as many staff members as we needed. Of the 25 job openings we have, 4 have been filled for next year and 2 of those are tentative.

I’ve been helping the Brit sort through CVs and job search websites, but, unsurprisingly, no one is really interested in coming to Saudi Arabia. It doesn’t help that we can’t tell them anything about the school curriculum, what their potential teaching position, what their benefits or any bonuses that might be available, or what the compound they’ll live in will look like. We also don’t provide transportation for men, nor is there any tuition discount for parents who might come with children. Women have no visible rights in most instances, and all teachers start at the bottom of the pay scale regardless of how much experience they have. The nail in the coffin is that starting pay is almost a fourth less than comparable schools in the area. The VP isn't the least bit concerned about this though, because, in his mind, things will work just fine, inshallah. He wound up sending the Brit to Bangkok on a whim last Wednesday night to attend a job fair. It's all last minute and he's there now recruiting teachers with nothing but a laptop. 

Learning all of this made me feel a bit foolish for ending up in this job. I’m not too concerned about it now because I ended up with a very decent quality of life, and as unorthodox as it is, I’ve had a very educational teaching experience. The perks of this particular situation outweigh most of the things that I put up with, but I’ve learned that going ahead with any further efforts to better the situation are no longer worth it, personally or financially. Next year will bring about significant changes, and it's unknown whether things will be worth renewing my contract. I know that in the future I’ll be much more aware of what to ask, how to ask it, and the bare minimum I’ll be willing to accept. For now, I can blame my previous mistakes on being young and dumb, but eventually I'll have to work things out, or I’ll end up just being dumb.