The ALC in Mohammedia is said to be the nicest center in all of Morocco, so I am lucky to teach there! The center has changed so much since we arrived in September! There is a new light-up sign, basketball court, scoreboard, stage and recreational area, disco lights in the cafeteria, and the entire facade of the center has been redone; new colors, new tiles, new security, and new facilities.
Location. The Center is absolutely beautiful and is situated on a busy circle just a few blocks from the train station, so it's pretty centrally located and easy to grab a cab from there. There are some great lunch spots close by too!
Building. There aren't really any set and posted hours for the Center. It seems like it's open when it's open and closed when it's closed. Often times I could head to the Center in what I would consider normal business hours and every door is locked and no one is to be found. This can get frustrating when you are trying to work or prepare for class. I usually just sit in the courtyard and wait for someone with a key to show up.
Classrooms. There are 22 classrooms in the school each with a name of a major U.S. city or National Park (ie: Seattle, Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Yosemite, Acadia, etc.). You'll get a magnetic card that you swipe to enter each classroom. Each classroom is equipped with a smart TV, a big white board, a teacher desk, 2 remotes, 4 dry erase markers, and an eraser. All of the classrooms have windows, but not all of them open. I don't teach in the same classroom ever, I have a different classroom for each of my 7 classes which makes it hard to decorate or get organized or assign seats, but I've found a system that works for me and I try to stick to it.
Teacher Lounge. There is a teacher lounge room just off the lobby that is a dedicated space for teachers to grade and prepare for class. The teacher lounge isn't the best place to get things done during class hours because it is often crowded with non-teachers using the computers to do their class placement exams. It is frustrating because you have to be quiet as they are taking their placement exams, but if you are collaborating with another teacher in the space dedicated to doing so, you can't talk...
Cubbies. Each teacher, both French and English, will receive a cubby that locks in which you can store class books, prep materials, HDMI cords, graded papers, etc. Really, it's a great place to store anything you want kept safe. I often store my laptop there on workdays so that I don't have to carry it back and forth to school. And if by chance you lose a key or forget it one day, the staff has a backup key to get you into your locker.
Café. There is a cafeteria located on the one end of the ALC that offers snacks for students and staff throughout the day. There is an everyday menu that includes chocolate cake, coconut cake, messamen (layered type of bread) with cheese or Nutella, braewa (triangle chicken eggroll), crepes, pizza, Moroccan mint tea, and fresh juice that changes with the seasonal fruits. Teachers are supposed to get a 50% discount, but the prices aren't listed so we don't know if we are being charged too much or not and then the ladies that run the café claimed that they didn't know the Americans were teachers and should get the discount... I'm not sure what happened, but I usually only buy from them in a pinch because the prices are really steep.
Teachers. Both French and English classes are taught at the ALC and some teachers teach both. By my cubby count, there are about 50 teachers, but only about 20 of them are full-time. Some teachers are career teachers and hold full-time positions both in the ALC and in their public sector schools.
Communication. This is a weird topic and I just don't think I've found the right level of communication with some of the staff and other teachers. It seems like I'm either communicating too much or too little and the same for them. It's a balance and I just haven't found it yet. I think this also stands for the administration. I often feel like we get information last minute (or not at all) and it's usually through the dense grapevine of teachers. In my opinion, whatever they are doing now isn't working, so I hope there is reform coming down the line for future teachers.
Schedule. Full time teachers teach 7 3-hour classes once a week and some adult classes are split up into 2 1.5-hour classes each with a 10-minute break somewhere towards the middle of the class. You are expected to be in your classroom 10 minutes before class starts, but it isn't a big deal if you aren't there exactly on time. There is also a bell (read: an annoying bell) that is rang 10 minutes and 5 minutes before every class. Its usually a few minutes off because it isn't on a timer, but literally an alarm on someone's phone that they hold up to a speaker.
Saturday Breakfast. The administration provides breakfast for teachers on Saturday mornings at 8am. It is a traditional Moroccan breakfast with messamen, bread, cheese, hard boiled eggs, and Moroccan mint tea. They typically take it away at 8:30 so make sure you're on time if you want free breakfast!
I hope you love the Mohammedia ALC as much as I do!