Schools – if I must

The big school question…………

Well, my kids obviously go to a private school here in Al Ain. Are they happy with it? Yes, they are – because their friends go there. Am I happy with it? Sometimes. I think if half the teachers weren’t my friends, and I didn’t know all the behind the scenes upper management crap that goes on, I would be much more happy.

I worry.

Are my kids being challenged?
Are my kids being treated equally?
Are my kids learning anything?
Are my kids being pulled down to the lower level of their non English speaking peers?
Are my kids being picked on by the non western students?

These are just a few things that run through my head every morning when I drop them off at school.

The things is, I can not home school them – I tried (you can read about it somewhere in the July 2005 posts???), and there is really no other choice for them other than where they are right now.

Choifat? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I get sick just thinking about that school and it’s so called teaching methods.

AAESS? Not going to happen. I have many issues with this school too – the biggest being that my kids are American and the curriculum just won’t work for us.

FUTURE? I would rather gouge my eyes out with chop sticks…..I will leave it at that. I am sure the teachers are great and the curriculum is ok, if they are still using Harcourt, but ….well, I will just leave that alone – it is personal.

Emirates National School? Well, Hmmm……

Al Ain American School? Gosh…………

They all have issues. Though Choufait has so many things wrong with it I can not even begin to touch on them in a blog post – and I won’t.

Like I said, you just need to get here and choose for yourself. Seems most people flock to AAESS and think that is the ONLY school worth sending your kids to here. Not true.

You need to think about what you want your kids to get out of this experience too. Do you want your kids to experience this culture and the people of this country, or do you want your kids to be in their own little ex-pat bubble? How far are you willing to push yourself and your children to help them have a full experience that is memorable and safe? You also need to take in to consideration your child’s abilities and how they cope with different situations. What is their academic level? Are they self starters? Do they cope with self study well or do they need more guidance? I find that my children are very self reliant and because of that, are doing well in a school that does not have a large number of expats in it. Some of our friends’ children are not doing so well. It is not because they are not smart – far from that – they just require more one on one attention. You must consider these things when choosing a school.

It is all just a very personal subject and I can not tell you where to send your kids. What I can do is advise you to really think about what it is you want to accomplish while here and what it is you want your family to learn while here. What is the point of coming to this strange and beautiful country if you never step out of your comfort zone?

Better yet, what is the point of life if you never step out of your comfort zone?

~JAM

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9 thoughts on “Schools – if I must

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would love some feedback on schools in Al Ain. I’m an American moving to Al Ain this August and am having difficulty finding a school for my primary aged children. AAESS says they are oversubscribed, but most of the other schools are difficult to contact (no wepages). What do you know about Al Ain American School, Future and any of the others mentioned. I acutally prefer a more traditional method and am not happy with the current state of American education. We’d probably prefer an international or British curriculum. I have no problem with my girls being in the minority, but I don’t want them to be the only “Westerners” at the school.

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  2. anon, there is not much choice in Al Ain. My little one went to AAESS we were happy there (but like all school there are issues there too). I would suggest you put your kids name on a waiting list there and once you get to Al Ain go around and look at the other school. I would suggest you go when the kids are at school so you can get a feel of the demographics. Take your kids with you. Also make a list of questions you want to ask.IMHO stay away from Future school. I’ve also had a bad personal experience there. I also questions the qualifications of some of the teachers. In the first 3 years of opening they had a new headmaster every year. I haven’t heard any good things about the working conditions at Emirates National School (ENS). A school that won’t let the teachers speak to the parents is in my books a no, no. What are they hiding?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    What about Madar? I’ve read some negative things, but that was from 2005. They have openings.Also, can you tell me more about ENS? What do you mean that teachers can’t speak to parents? That does sound strange.Anyone have a working email for Liwa or Al Ain American School?I’m in NY trying to find a school via the internet. Very challenging!Any help is appreciated.

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  4. “Cairogal, I thought it was you…. I used to contribute to that board but have decided not to anymore. Abu Dhabi is a small place too….”🙂 Good to know. I’m going to start a “travel blog” of sorts when we move back, and it will be under a different name.

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