Friday, January 28, 2011

Climate Change, Shmlimate Change

Students are the same all around the world. No matter how dedicated they are, every one wants an unexpected day off now and then. Saudi students seem to have perfected the art of finding a reason not to do work.

Lately, the weather has been the scapegoat. While North America is getting battered by snowstorm after snowstorm, the Middle East gets rain. We've had a total of 3--count 'em--THREE days of rain over the past couple weeks. This is a very exciting reality for the students, and on the first day of straight downpour, the girls took it as a cue to go out dancing in the rain Gene Kelly style. This, of course, resulted in girls with sore throats and a heavy case of the chills asking for an extra free period so they could cope with their wet skirts and frizzy hair.

"But teacher, we're so cold! We can't concentrate in class!"

"Wah. You should have thought of that before you spent your entire recess puddle jumping and rolling around in the rain."

On the second go-round with the weather, we were preparing for exams. The veteran teachers were telling me not to expect to have first period because so many students would be late. Even though we were expecting it, a few of the teachers still took a firm stance when the girls came crawling into the cluster asking for extra time to prepare for their tests.

"But teacher, it was raining today," one of them pleaded with a colleague. I, of course, was eavesdropping.

"Yes, and it rains every year around this time. You're a teenager, rain is not a new thing."

"But teacher, please! It's not our fault. Our drivers, they don't know how to drive in weather like this. They don't know what to do about the rain."

"Really? Has global warming changed things in Indonesia that much? Doesn't India still get a monsoon season? Didn't the Philippines get a lot more rain over the past 10 years than Saudi Arabia? How long has your family employed this poor driver that he's forgotten what his home country is like?!"

I loved it! The drivers are always to blame for half the girls' problems, and for once we were able to fire back with a response the girls couldn't refute.

Vicariously yours,

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