Friday, November 16, 2007

Two Schools, Two Worlds

My first day at school in Jordan was horrible. In my mind,I had compared it to schools in London and thought they would be the same. Foolish assumptions. I had mostly enjoyed Jordan because I only came in summer, and at that time there was no school and I assumed that being in school would be the same.

I was shocked at how old fashioned the classes were. You see, in my school in London, our classroom had a projector & an "interactive white board". This school had chalk boards, and even worse than that, the teachers were angry all the time & just shouted at us. And the teachers were a whole other story.

The following days were no better. I was made to read in front of the class, then laughed at by the students and teacher, even though my mum had told the teachers over & over that my Arabic wasn't that good. I was sent out of the class once because I hadn't done my homework, even though I had told him I didn't know what I had to do. After crying my eyes out at the head teacher's office, they finally let me go.

At exam times I would study for days & my mum would get very angry with me for not remembering a word that the teacher said in class. The exam time would come and I'd start panicking when I saw the paper, full of definitions to fill in and lists to complete. After all the sweat I put in, the absolute maximum I would reach was 15, and sometimes I'd fail in the subject.

In London I was always in the top group in class. We also didn't get tested in stuff that we had to memorize! We did have tests, but they were only at the end of the school year & were meant to test our understanding of the topics.

Then there was the 'shahada', the monthly torment. The torment that came after it was at my grandmothers house.

"How much did you get, Khaled?" my grandmother would ask.
"Ummmm....ummmm.....82%" I would whisper.
"82%?!?! WHAT???!!!"

Gasps & shock appear on every body's face like I said a bad word. They were followed by scowls and 'advice', and my parents would wish they had a secret trapdoor button to quickly get out of sight.

Finally, I transferred to another school to study the British Curriculum (IGCSE), where the teachers are more human like! I'm doing so much better & most importantly, I am enjoying school again & feel like I am learning something. And the best thing: my grandmother has recovered from her previous trauma & is happy with my marks again :)

Hip hip, Hooray!


  1. I was distressed before I read your last paragraph. I was about to suggest moving to such a school. I'm glad you're on IGCSE now. I was too.

    Still if you plan on living here, you should try to take extra Arabic courses. At least enough to pass A-level arabic so that you can use your IGCSEs to get a tawjihi equivalency.

  2. ٌReally sad. And they keep on saying that education here is one of the best in the region, yeah, right!
    The thing that really kills me is when someone start arguing that our education system and Tawjihi are much much better than Europe and USA because we get more stuff than they do so we know more things. They ignore the fact that we memorize and they understand.
    Please don't tell me we have a good teaching system.
    Khaled, i ma glad that you are, even a little bit, enjoying your school.

  3. Hani: Thanks, but I have already taken about a year with private arabic lessons. The teacher was really good and I know understand arabic grammar much better than what I had. I know don't get as panicked when I see the word "e3raab" in a test. :D

    Bilal: Thanks amo bilal :D

  4. Khaled, as a mom it was killing me to read this post. I can imagine what both you and your mom went through that initial year. The year I finally pulled Spikekid out of a local school was just agony. The kid was clinically depressed, his little creative spirit crushed.

    Sub7an Allah, His mercy was on you both and an alternative found, like with us.