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Learning to Teach in Kuwait

Kendra Glider, ED’10, poses with a student she taught in Kuwait. Glider’s students and their parents gave her a warm welcome once they knew she cared for their kids.

“They don’t care what you know until they know that you care.”

After four years living and teaching in Salmiya, Kuwait, Kendra Glider, ED’10, still recites this mantra. Glider’s students and their parents reflected the motto’s focus on support right back onto her, Glider says.

“It was never a scary thing, teaching in Kuwait,” Glider says. “Once you start to understand the culture and show their kids you love them, the parents start to love you, too.”

Glider taught kindergarten to 4- and 5-year-old students from Kuwait, other countries in the Middle East, and some Western countries. She attributes her extraordinary comfort teaching in Kuwait to the preparation she received at Drake.

“We were in the classroom a lot, even before we started student teaching,” she says. The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum she taught in Kuwait requires integration of different subjects in each lesson. “I was really ready for it, thanks to my practicum and a teaching placement at an IB school in Des Moines.”

Glider found personal fulfillment teaching in Kuwait, along with the excellent professional experience.

“I had always wanted to study abroad, but I transferred to Drake as a sophomore and didn’t have much room to do it,” she says. “I love traveling, and the people I met in Kuwait showed me such a welcome. It helped me to succeed there.”

During holidays from teaching , Glider made travel a priority, visiting Turkey, Thailand, India, Italy, Oman, the U.K., and Spain. Each spring, Glider’s mom would fly to Kuwait to travel with her daughter.

“I love Kuwait, and I have a passion for the Middle East now,” Glider says. “They took me in as a 23-year-old, just out of college, all by myself, and I just flourished. I loved them, they loved me; the parents knew that I loved their kids.”

After a one-year hiatus in the U.S., Glider plans to travel to Oman this fall to continue her teaching adventure.