No one told me the kids would spit on me, kick me, scream at me, and stab me with pencils. No one told me that I would not have the Arab co-teacher I was promised.
Undisciplined students frighten expatriates
The article Rowdy pupils out of control (December 15) reported on severe discipline problems which have caused some scared expatriate teachers to return home. I would guess that Vincent Ferrandino, a recruitment adviser at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), has never attended a classroom in Al Ibtikar School for Boys in Ghayathi. He suggested that I wasn't prepared for teaching there, although I am an honoured teacher in the US for my educational achievements.
But he is right, I wasn't prepared, thanks to Adec which didn't support teachers they sent out into the desert schools. No one told me that the principal didn't support the reform. No one told me the kids would spit on me, kick me, scream at me, and stab me with pencils. No one told me that I would not have the Arab co-teacher I was promised. No one told me I would be left alone without any curriculum or materials.
Mr Ferrandino claimed that I and others like me weren't prepared to meet the challenge of teaching in the UAE to order to cover his own responsibility.
Vern Harvey, Abu Dhabi
Displeased with Mawaqif system
Mawaqif is actually causing more hardship than good. For all practical uses, the number of parking spots has been reduced to less than the number of the residents' cars of our area.
Not only after 8pm, but even during the day whenever my daughter comes home, she has to search for a parking space and often finds one far away from our house. Then she has to walk that distance back home. I shudder at the thought of coping with this problem in the summer.
I went through the awkward processes and ultimately got registration for a parking permit, paying Dh800 in the crowded office area of Mawaqif at Hamdan Road on the first day of application.
After 8pm, I have to search for a parking for 45 or 50 minutes. But one recent night, even after roaming around from 9.45pm to almost 11.00pm, we left car parallel to a footpath opposite to our building when we couldn't find a space. At 11.15pm, a Dh500 fine was given. My question is: what justification is there when there is no parking in my area for which I have paid Dh800?
Mohammad Furqan, Abu Dhabi
Sean Penn's disaster missions
Sean Penn was an inspired choice for a lifetime achievement award at the Dubai International Film Festival (Penn pulls out of festival to help Haiti relief camp, December 14). He must be equally heralded for his actual presence on the ground to help others around the world. He has waded through the flood waters helping survivors in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and has been in Haiti for months following that country's devastating earthquake.
Mohamed Kanoo, Abu Dhabi
Praise for Barjeel exhibition
I was privileged to attend the Barjeel exhibition in Sharjah in October (Barjeel continues introducing Arab artists to the international art scene, December 12), and while the place is still small but growing, the organisers did a fantastic job of showing art and paintings from all around the Arab world, and from various epochs (eg, Nasser's Egypt).
This rivals the Saatchi Galley in London in terms of intensity and relevance to its themes. To be able to pull off such a variety of exhibits around a central Arab art theme in such a short time is commendable and a lesson in local social entrepreneurship:.
Athar Mian, Abu Dhabi
Two differing views on Creamfields festival
In reference to Dance party a let-down, say fans, after musical acts are rescheduled (December 14), I don't get it. It's like this report is from a different event than the one I attended on Yas Island last weekend.
Creamfields Abu Dhabi was the best event I have been to in seven years, and the best in the UAE since Destiny's Child live in Dubai in 2005. Underage drinking is unacceptable, if that is the case. But senior citizens shocked at seeing young people at the electronic music festival - are you serious?
GO, Abu Dhabi
Last year's Creamfields was OK. It was in a good venue, it was well policed (proper ID checks for alcohol, for example) and it was well located. The acts were very good.
This year the acts were average in a badly laid out arena. A massive platform in front of the stage for high-paying guests blocked the view of the stage and cut the field in half, really detracting from the "festival feel". There were long, chaotic lines for the bar, non-existent security and drunk teenagers wandering around.
I would say it was the worst festival event I have been to in 20 years and I've had three days of torrential rain at Glastonbury.
Tony McDermott, Abu Dhabi