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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
My day in Iraq: Teacher
On Friday, 7 April, the BBC News website is asking people across Iraq how they live their lives.

Here, Majid Talib, 25, a Shia English teacher who lives near the southern city of Basra, tells of his struggles with inadequate teaching resources.

I go to work early in the morning, but it's hard to drive there because the streets are so busy.

Majid Talib
Majid dreams of a scholarship so that he can train English teachers

The town where I live, al-Faha, is across the river from Basra and I have to cross a small bridge to get to work.

There are many accidents though because they fit two lanes of traffic on a single road across the bridge.

Because of this I have to leave an hour to travel the 10km to work from home.

I work at a high school, teaching English to boys from 13 to 18 years old.

We try our best with the resources available, but the textbooks are out of date and the government doesn't have the money to fund education after all the security concerns, despite its popularity.

We also don't have a qualified generation of English teachers who are up to standard to teach.

I have to be careful speaking English in the street too - some people will assume English speakers are working for the government and target us. There are many fanatics who would attempt to assassinate people working for the coalition.

Enjoyment difficult

After a morning of teaching, I will break for lunch at 12pm.

I try to bring food from home because the food at the market is often bad - I have been ill before from eating there.

There is a mix of students here, but most are very keen to learn and well behaved.

Most of the people in Basra are Shia, but we don't see the religious divisions with the children that we do with the grown-ups here in Iraq.

I usually leave work at 3pm, and go home to do errands for my family like go to the gas station to get oil, or to the water plant to collect fresh water.

We usually have four hours of electricity in the evening.

With the situation at the moment it is hard to enjoy yourself and I usually like to check the news on the internet and see what is going on in my country.

Many of my students don't have time to socialise, because they have to work to support their family

In the evening I may go down to the river bank where many people meet to have barbecues and socialise.

But I try to avoid the city where the trouble is.

Many of my students don't have time to socialise, because they have to work to support their family.

It is hard to make plans for the future, because I don't know what will happen in Iraq, but my wish is to get a free scholarship so I can get a Masters degree in English to train English teachers for the children here in the country.

On balance, I think things in Iraq are better. We used to have more oil but now we have freedom.

I can speak about any subject I want to and people can buy whatever they want.

Unlike before, there are things for people to aspire to now in Iraq.


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