Every parent in Dubai will at some point have to experience the inevitable, energy-sucking concept of school tours. And if you’re anything like us, this might not be your first (or last) place you’ve moved to, hit up IKEA, almost strangled the phone company and found yourself shouting down the phone at various schools and nurseries asking for a space for your child.
If waiting lists, school tours, debentures and assessment tests all sound like a bad dream to you, then you might have to dream on mamas because these beasts don’t disappear at sunrise. Now we are not writing this to stress you out or have you burst into tears, we just like to keep our mamas in-the-know and informed about how things are done here. Once you’ve composed yourself enough and managed to book yourself in for a school tour here is what you can expect:
On arrival you will most likely be greeted by the principal or head of admissions, who will be taking you around the school. This person’s role is to be polite at all times, answer stupid questions while smiling and be generally pleasant. Most of the time they do a very good job and only on occasion can you see them slip (when overly-ambitious parents ask why there is no home work for 3 year olds for instance) but very quickly they get their act together, fire off a smile saying something like: There is no school that is the right choice for every child and then they make a mental note of that parent’s last name and to remove them from the list. Just kidding! Or are we?
Yes and no. Well, the truth of the matter is that a school tour is aimed at showing parents what they can offer you not the other way around. That being said, competition for spaces at the most popular schools is fierce and the best way to go to war is to be prepared mamas.
Most likely the school tour will be a group of parents, sometimes as many as 25 at a time, all hoping for a space or some good news. These tours can be stressful at times, so we’ve put together a little cheat sheet of the traditional school tour characters for you. Knowing them beforehand will hopefully make you less stressed or even help you giggle a little while touring the premises.
The-Dad-Who-Moved-Out-Alone: If you spot a single man in a suit with a briefcase looking confused, that would be this one. FS1, KG2- these words are lost on him because it is most likely the first time he has to deal with them. His wife has put the pressure on for him to make this important decision for their precious kiddo and he’s scared!
The-Pregnant-Couple: Looking smug, feeling smart and getting annoyed glances from everyone else. You guys are the reason we’re not getting a space. If you’re planning on sending in your application on the day your child is born, don’t say it out loud (please!)
The-Sulky-Teenager: A rare sight but an obvious one when around. A poor high school student who has been uprooted by his parents, thrown half-way across the globe and now expected to get excited about extra-curricular? Yeah, right…
The-Tigermamas: You know who you are… And we’ve got news for you, nobody cares if your child uttered their first word at 2 months (or if they speak Latin for that matter). Assessments are there for a reason. Pull your claws back in and get in line with the rest of us!
The-Fat-Chance-Family: Having just moved out without much time to do research and 4 kids over the age of 5… ah we feel for you. Home schooling? It is really hot here most of the year anyways.
Good luck mamas!