In this area of the world, our weekends happen on Friday and Saturday so today, being Sunday, is the first working day of the week. (Yes, it took a very long time to get used to this. For more than a year at least I always thought it was Monday when it was actually Sunday. But that's a different topic).
Today I'll teach three classes, the first is Beginners and the other two are Elementary. Needless to say, they are low levels. Communacation with my students, especially the beginners, often includes hand motions and drawing pictures, making us all look and feel a little childish. This was really uncomfortable for me at first, but then I started taking a Beginners Arabic class and I started to see from my students' perspective.
Learning any language is difficult, but the differences between Arabic and English are huge. The grammar is incredibly dissimilar and even the alphabets of the two languages include sounds that the other doesn't have. Remembering even a few questions and answers in Arabic takes hours of practice and review and is mentally tiring.
Since I've been taking this class, I have really seen that it takes a lot of determination and humility for my students to learn English. My students come to class for two hours a day, three times a week. I'm only taking one hour a week of Arabic.This is their area of the world and Emiratis are proud people, yet they take more time and energy to learn my language than I do theirs. When some Emirati man sheepishly gets out one simple sentence and manages to screw it up, I understand what he's going through. I appreciate his efforts to keep trying and hope that maybe I'll have the same level of perseverance.