Doha: My first international school visit
I was attending a Focus PD day in June, when Linda asked me if I would be interested in working with a school in Doha, Qatar. As a keen traveller, I instantly agreed to this fantastic opportunity. I have visited many schools around England, but I have never visited an international school.
My first glimpse of Doha
When I arrived in Doha, I was instantly struck by two things: the splendour and the heat! I landed at one o'clock in the morning and the temperature was a cool thirty-one degrees. Driving from the airport gave me my first glimpses of the place. The main highway from the airport was adorned with enormous, neon blue columns, and the distinctive Doha skyline that I had seen on photographs was passing me by. As I had arrived in the early hours of the morning, I needed to sleep!
The assistant headteacher from the school I was working with on day one arranged for a driver to collect me from the hotel. He was incredibly friendly and gave me an extremely positive first impression of the school. When we arrived, the guard acknowledged us and the electronic gates opened. I don't know what I expected, but it was as if an English primary school had been dropped in Qatar.
As I walked into the school, I was greeted by the assistant headteacher who could not have made me feel more welcome. We then spent part of the morning looking at systems that can be implemented to ensure that the monitoring of teaching and learning is robust. After that, we discussed the English curriculum, looking at planning, assessment and marking.
On day two, I worked with all of the staff on team building. During the day, we completed a number of different activities to support their new team. My favourite activity of the day was the 'marshmallow challenge', with all groups creating very different structures to keep the marshmallow at the top.
The Final Day
On the final morning of my visit, I worked with King’s College, Doha. This is a school that will be starting its first year of operation in September. As the school building has not been completed, they are currently based at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotels. A truly spectacular venue. The training looked at high expectations, challenge and differentiation. As this was my final day, the headmaster arranged a transfer to Hamad International Airport and I was soon on my way home.
Doha is an amazing place, and I can understand why people are drawn to work there from the U.K. Hopefully, I will get the opportunity to return one day.