As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I have a new job!
I am to be the Grade 6 teacher at Thebes American College here in Cairo. What does that mean? It means a dozen preteen students will be taught English, math, science and social science by me. Yes, I will be a proper teacher. I will be called “Miss Catherine”. Stranger things have happened, yes?
But if I told my 16 year old self, “Hey. In 6 years, you’re going to be a 6th grade teacher in Cairo, Egypt” my 16 year old self would have probably wondered what the heck I was talking about (since I’m pretty sure I wanted to be a production designer for films at that point).
Life! It is change itself!
The day I quit my job at the nursery I had the interview. I thought it went well, particularly because I said I love science and apparently most American teachers don’t. (How can you not love science? IT’S SCIENCE!) However, they said they’d get back to me. So I went to Alexandria thinking, “Well, I probably didn’t get it.” But lo-and-behold!
While the job doesn’t pay the most (I’ve already negotiated my contract), the benefits are outstanding. I will get a work permit, a bank account, tons of paid holiday, dental and health care coverage, free transportation out to the school (it’s a trek) and other goodies. In addition, while I will be on school grounds from 8-2:15 Sunday-Thursday, I will only be teaching 3-4 hours at most per day. It’s an integrated school, meaning half the day is English, half Arabic. So while the students are doing their Arabic parts of the day, I’ll be doing lesson prep for my classes. What that comes down to is very little time outside of school will be devoted to school. Meaning more time for me to work on my Arabic! Hoorah!
However the job doesn’t start until January. I’ll have a week’s orientation session sometime in December, but for the next 40 days or so I’m unemployed and the ‘chief loafer’ as my flatmate has dubbed me.
BUT WAIT, there’s more!
A few weeks ago, I emailed my old documentary professor and asked her about contacts in Cairo. She had mentioned to me previously she knew some people who were doing documentary work here. As it turns out, that project, 18 Days in Egypt, is winding down into its last phase. So my information was forwarded on to one of the people heavily involved in the project. She, along with the other creators of 18 Days, is starting a new project: Egypt Journalism Project, a citizen journalism program that trains the audience to become the storyteller. An average person can report the stories as they happen, go places full-fledged journalists can’t and report the stories the media organizations aren’t. It is a pretty inspiring idea and EJP wants to give these people the tools to get stories told, told well, and heard.
Long story short, I’ve been offered to be the director’s assistant for EJP. It isn’t as glamorous as it sounds! This is a small non-profit funded by grants at the very beginning of its existence. Carmel, the director, is the only one on the ground here, so I’ll be helping her in anyway I can, including getting supplies, arranging trainers – whatever is needed. The first session was last night, and we’ve a LONG way to go, but the possibilities for EJP are rampant. I’m excited to get to be a part of it.
So there you go. Soon I’ll be very busy, but not quite yet.