I have been away from this group for a long time. I made a big change going into this school year. I moved from the middle school I had been teaching at to a new high school. The school that I am at is an Early college High School which is part of the New Schools Project that is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is a very exciting, innovative and decidedly "outside the box" program and I am honored to be a part of it.
We are very much under a microscope and we are constantly visited and observed doing our thing. Yesterday, we had a once in a lifetime experience of being visited by 24 educators from Egypt. It was incredible to interact with these educators and I feel like I made some real connections with these people. I am looking forward to seeing them again before they go back to Egypt.
The one man who I really made a connection with is Hamada Youssef, the headmaster of a primary school. Through his bits of english and my very sparse Arabic, we managed to become friends in a very short period of time. I made some connections with other members of the group also. Towards the end of the day, I noticed that they were calling me "Mr. Richard". Now, I 'm not named Richard, but I wasn't going to correct them for a minor thing like getting my name wrong. But one of the group started talking to me and assured me that they knew my name, but that what I thought was "Richard" was actually an Arabic title of respect and was being used to show their respect for me and what they had seen me doing in my classroom. I was blown away. I can't wait to see them all again.