As it's the beginning of the academic year, we have been having a lot of meetings at the Ahliyyah School for Girls, where I have just started my position as a fourth grade English teacher. Many of the meetings consist of a handful of people in an office and are conducted as I would expect they would be. The surprise came when we had two huge meetings, or an 'Arab Pep Rally'.
I was a bit surprised when the movie clips from Dangerous Minds, and some other American movie meant to inspire us as teachers, played for about 20 minutes. At first it was a nice break from all the Arabic, of which I understood very little and was making my brain tired. But as the film clips dragged on, I just wanted to go home and take a nice long nap.
To inspire us further, there were at least three poems read, some of which were read by who seems to have been designated the 'official poem reader' because of his commanding voice. There was a poem about different kinds of birds, trees and I don't even remember what else.
The meeting wrapped up with a series of songs sang by different people, complete with a piano, microphone and some kind of electonic gadget. They were all in Arabic of course, and quite beautiful, and I'm sure I would have appreciated them more if I wasn't tired, hungry and extremely fatigued. Just so that the Westerners wouldn't feel left out, they also sang an Elvis song which was quite sweet of them. I have to admit that I perked up a little, as I could actually sing along.
Sometimes it can seem like a waste of time watching the movie clips, singing and listening to poetry, but I'm sure that once I start attending 'normal' meetings as we would expect in the States, I'll be complaining that I miss the singing and poetry!