It’s the beginning of August and I am due to start at my new school at the beginning of September. In the meantime I am still awaiting my NOC (No Objection Certificate) from Kuwait and undergoing the medical tests while I gather up the rest of my visa documents. In Kuwait, the Ministry of Education has to approve your entry into the country before you actually arrive. So the school applies for the NOC on your behalf and you patiently await their approval. The school sends it to you and you take it to the Kuwaiti embassy for your visa. With everything going so smoothly, I began to be lulled into a sense of false security. Until I received a rattling phone call from Mrs Porter*, the recruitment officer from my school Kuwait…
Mrs Porter: There is a problem with the Ministry!
Me: What problem? (Trying to remain calm but also feeling anxiety build up)
Mrs Porter: The Ministry did not approve your application to teach at our high school!
Me: But why? How? What do I do? (All out tsunami of panic has engulfed my body. I begin to wonder if I can work for my parents. Cleaning the floors in their offices isn’t beneath me).
Mrs Porter: It is because you don’t have a Bachelor of Education degree. They said you cannot teach high school.
Me: I have a Master’s degree in Education and a PGCE specialising in high school not to mention years of experience…
Mrs Porter: There is nothing we can do…
Me: (Dying a slow death internally)
Mrs Porter: But we want you to work for us. So can you please teach kindergarten at our school?
Me: You want me to teach kindergarten? ME?
Mrs Porter: Yes. It’s fewer hours but the same salary and benefits. The Ministry has approved for you to teach kindergarten. We just need you to agree.
Me: So I still have a job? Yes, Yes, YES I can teach anybody anything.
And that was how a high school teacher with a special interest in LITERATURE is off to Kuwait to teach KINDERGARTEN. Did I think about starting the interview process again in order to get a high school position? Yes. But gosh going through that again after I had done all of the medical exams and gathered all of the documents for Kuwait… it seems excruciating and unnecessary. I will just consider this one of the many challenges I will have to work through when I arrive in the Middle East. I did teach kindergarten for a year when I was in South Korea… but that was on once a week and I mostly remember singing songs, playing with dough and taking photos of the cuties like these:
Time to brush up on my singing and dancing abilities, work on my patience and start making flash cards!
*Names have been changed.