THIS time next week Warrnambool’s Jane Maine will be working to improve the education outcomes of some 3500 students of the Saudi Arabian Royal family.
Ms Maine will leave Australia on Thursday for three months and head to the country’s capital, Riyadh.
Ms Maine will live with other expats in a compound. As is custom she will wear an abaya, which is similar to a cloak, when she leaves the compound.
The temperature in Riyadh averages about 40 degrees Celsius at the moment.
The former principal of Hawkesdale P-12 College took up a position with the Department of Education four years ago in which she worked with all the government schools in the Warrnambool and Moyne areas.
As part of the position she worked with principals to improve student outcomes.
Ms Maine said the work she would be doing in Saudi Arabia would be similar.
“The schools are run by the Saudi Royal family. There are 3500 students from kinder through to high school,” she said.
“Technically my role will be similar to a coach or mentor.”
Ms Maine said the school day starts at 7am and finishes at 1.30pm and the ‘weekend’ falls on Thursday and Friday.
She said she had been told the students were very well behaved.
“The idea of students misbehaving is turning their backs to the teacher and reading a book,” she said.
Ms Maine will spend three months in Saudi Arabia on four occasions over a two-year period.
The program, which includes integrating 21st Century technology into classrooms, will be rolled out in schools across Saudi Arabia if successful.
Ms Maine will work with female staff and will use an Arabic interpreter with the majority of staff.
She said she was excited by the opportunity and where it may lead.
“Going to another culture isn’t daunting,” she said.
“You just need to be mindful and respectful of their culture.
“I guess we’ll see where it takes us. It might provide more opportunities. Most teachers do teaching because they want to make a difference.
“At the time you can’t see the growth but when you think back you can see you did do something.”