Saturday, August 2, 2008

PD 101

Unmistakably, if you read on, I am a little rusty at both my professional development planning as well as my cultural competency.

This morning Amber and I launched into our first day of professional development with teachers from the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate and I completely forgot to do the most basic PD opening of all time: announcing where to find the bathrooms, where to get coffee, and … where to take your prayer break.

Now I may get sanctioned by the National Staff Development Association, lose a draft pick, maybe have to pay a fine, for the omission of the bathroom location because being out of practice is no excuse I am sure, but the prayer break was complete rookie cultural literacy. Especially for someone who went to sleep the night before so pleased that she had set up a TIME, from 12:20 to 12:40, in the agenda for a prayer break.

So there we are at about 12:16 and the call goes off. I can clearly hear it inside the Hotel Sana’a. I am scribing for Amber and the translator is speaking for her, so there is a lot going on in the room when I try to get her attention. When I get it, I ask both she and the interpreter simultaneously “Should we just quit here until the break is over?” Something gets lost in the request momentarily and the interpreter tells us just to finish, at which point Amber and I both ask “Are you sure?” and his eyes get very large as he says “No, no, no, no, no let’s break here and then we will come back.”

Whew. I think we are back on the right track when I notice that everyone is getting up to leave but they are looking around.


Of course men and women don’t pray together and we didn’t designate where each group should go during this break. Someone more with-it than me settles the matter quickly in Arabic and just like that we are in an empty room and I’m feeling somewhere just south of Rookie of the Year.

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