WSA Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Day!

Tuesday 5th October is Teacher Appreciation Day, a special opportunity to reflect on the hard work and professionalism of those tasked with educating the next generation. We asked schools across the UAE to nominate a teacher to be publicly celebrated…can you spot a teacher from your school?
WSA Celebrates Teacher Appreciation Day!
By Jenny Mollon
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Teachers have had all sorts of challenges thrown their way over the past two years. From school closures, to online learning, to exam cancellations, masks, bubbles and more…there have been few aspects of their daily work that has gone untouched. That’s why we are celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day today - a chance to recognise the hard work, dedication and professionalism of teachers from across the UAE.

If you would like to see your child's teacher recognised, please drop an email to our Senior Editor, Jenny Mollon, [email protected].

Ahmed Mahmoud, Arabic Teacher, Safa British School


"Ahmed is vibrant and positive and is an essential part of the Arabic Team. Having worked at SBS for many years he has relished opportunities to learn from his peers but also to help his peers - all with the biggest smile on his face. He is cherished by parents, students and staff and has the most difficult job in engaging students in language. He goes above and beyond to engage the most reluctant reader and his trusty puppet can always be found by his side.  His tall stature is even more endearing to the students as they look up to him and he takes the role model part of his job very seriously.  Ahmed is, for us at SBS, a true Safa Star"Zara Harrington, Principal, Safa British School

Laura Evans, Head of Inclusion, the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai


"At RGS Guildford Dubai we would like to highlight our Head of Inclusion, Mrs Laura Evans, who has worked tirelessly and has played a crucial role in the set up and opening of the school. Part of the School Leadership Team, Mrs Evans joined RGSGD directly from the Prep School of RGS Guildford in the UK where she was head of Learning Support for over 12 years.

"Having moved to Dubai in March to help with the preparation ahead of the school opening, Mrs Evans has gone above and beyond in helping with pupil assessments, meeting hundreds of applicants and families in a period of just a few months. When the school opened its doors at the start of the academic year, Mrs Evans was a familiar face for many families, having already met so many of them during the enrolment process." The Team at the Royal Grammar School Guildford, Dubai

Rida Jamadar, SEND Lead Teacher, GEMS Cambridge International Private School – Sharjah


“Mrs Rida works extremely hard to support our SEND students. She not only works with our students, but also trains our teachers and guides them on how to meet the needs of all our students. As GCS is a fully inclusive school, Mrs Rida also delivers workshops to parents for the benefit of their children. She has successfully integrated numerous students with severe learning challenges into mainstream teaching by promoting independent learning skills and cross-curricular interventions. Her high standards of professional conduct and competency have made her an invaluable member of the GCS community.

"Mrs Rida also volunteers her time during weekends to support centres and SEND students in various emirates. Her expertise and guidance have ensured the GCS values of kindness and respect permeate through all aspects of school life, and that our students with additional needs are supported to be the best they can be.”   Albertha Huyser, Principal-CEO, GEMS Cambridge International Private School – Sharjah

Aline Wanyoike, Head of Year 4, Nord Anglia International School Dubai


"Aline Wanyoike or “Mrs W”, as she is known to most, is an extraordinary teacher. She possesses a passion for education equalled by very few. As an international teacher, she works tirelessly to ensure that educational opportunities for those she teaches are fun, challenging, inspiring and that they support understanding and weave a balance between the many nationalities cultures and traditions represented in our school. Her teaching strategies are engaging and effective – she is the ‘magic weaver’ that children refer to long after they have left her class. Aline encourages children to learn about learning, to be reflective, to be risk takers, to collaborate, question and be thoughtful, but above all to love learning.  

As a class teacher and Year Group Leader she develops supportive, healthy, positive, transparent and productive relationships with all stakeholders, ensuring that every adult feels heard and supported and that every child’s educational experience is outstanding".  The Team at Nord Anglia International School, Dubai

Lucy Harwood, Director of English, GEMS Cambridge International School – Abu Dhabi


“Our Director of English, Lucy Harwood has consistently demonstrated her commitment to our learners, translating her love and enthusiasm for her subject in an inspirational way.

"Over this last 18 months, her devotion to those she teaches has really shone through. At the start of lockdown, Lucy was diagnosed with breast cancer, yet despite this, throughout her recovery journey, she continued to lead a team of nine, and her standards and expectations remained exceptionally high – reflected in our learners achieving 64% A*-B grades at A-level and 78% A*-B grades at GCSE. However, not only did Lucy continue her teaching and leadership role, she also led extracurricular projects, allowing our learners to have a voice at a time when they felt most isolated. Her continued openness and honesty regarding her treatment and recovery pathway have been a source of strength for many of our learners and staff alike. She truly is an amazing individual!”  Kelvin Hornsby, Principal / CEO, GEMS Cambridge International School – Abu Dhabi

Boyd Telford, Head of Positive and Moral Education, the Australian International School, Sharjah


"We are proud to choose Boyd Telford as our example of an outstanding AIS teacher who goes above and beyond for his students and peers. Boyd epitomizes what it is to be an outstanding teacher; incredibly organized, professional, personable, enthusiastic, and dedicated to his craft - he sets a bar of excellence that is rarely achieved. Throughout his career at AIS, he has built relationships inside and outside of the classroom, that are based in mutual respect, positivity, and a thirst for achievement.

"These positive relationships, his attention to detail, and his focus on our school values have contributed significantly to the wellbeing and success of our school and community. Boyd’s ability to connect with any student and awaken an intrinsic motivation within them helps his classrooms prosper and evolve into a hub of achievement and engagement. We are proud of his efforts and are grateful for teachers like Boyd who continue to drive AIS forward in its path of excellence". The Team at the Australian International School, Sharjah

Mr Paramjit Singh, Head of PE Department, GEMS Legacy School


“Paramjit is a PE Coach par excellence and has made significant contributions to the school and beyond, through his exemplary service and diligent efforts for the last eight years. His passion and expertise in cricket coaching has led to the nurturing of strong cricket teams across the school, beginning with the Under 7s. Many of his students are playing at district and state level, in cricket tournaments in India and the UAE in the Under 17 and Under 19 categories.

“Under his expert tutelage, our students have excelled and won numerous laurels for the school, such as The Gulf Cup, ADIB Cricket League, Five Nations Trophy, Ricky Mathew Memorial Cubs, GEMS Cricket Series, Ramada Cup and KPL. His selfless services during the free morning coaching provided for talented students have enabled deserving students to hone their cricket skills and equipped them with the game’s most competent techniques and strategies".  Asha Alexander, Principal, GEMS Legacy School and Executive Leader – Climate Change, GEMS Education

Sanobia Palkhiwala - Early Years Teacher, the Australian International School, Dubai


"Sanobia  is passionate about the authentic delivery of the Early Years Learning Framework, which is based on three key principles; Belonging, Being and Becoming. She believes this is only possible if we give ourselves wholeheartedly and authentically to each child.

"Sanobia understands that many of her children have not been in formal educational settings before and prioritised building a sense belonging to the classroom community at the start of the school year. She believes that when children feel safe, welcomed and respected, they are then open to learning opportunities. In building her new classroom community she is actively embracing who each child is and what rich knowledge they bring from their family and culture. Sanobia always demonstrates gratitude for the wonderful parents who she strives to build partnerships with. Her classroom is a-buzz with open-ended experiences, which invite children to explore and discover. At the end of each week she and her class reflect on photos to brainstorm all the things they enjoyed learning, and things they would like to learn about more next week. In this way children as young as three and four are agents in their own learning".  The Team at the Australian International School, Dubai

Bindu Sunil Kumar, Senior Secondary School Teacher, GEMS Our Own English High School, Sharjah


“Bindu was one among the 60 teachers shortlisted for the Dedicated Teacher Award by Cambridge University, chosen from among the 13,000 nominations received from 112 countries for the 2019-20 academic year. In the past 13 years of working in Our Own Boys’, she has never missed a single day of school. She is a role model for her students and is often referred to as the ‘fairy godmother of physics’ by the school alumni.

"A perceptive educator, she recognises the individual needs of students and accepts their unique personalities and abilities, while students feel free to share their ideas without fear and judgment. Bindu is known for the fantastic pastoral care that she provides, and her students feel safe, secure and valued in the school environment. She believes a student’s education extends beyond the classroom. She does not expect perfection, only excellence, and is consistent in giving students the tools they need for success – which brings us to her teaching philosophy, and that is simply ‘STUDENTS’." Srivalsan Murugan, Principal/CEO, GEMS Our Own English High School, Sharjah 

Lavina Chauhan, Professional Learning and Development Leader, and Faculty of English Senior Secondary Section, GEMS Our Own High School – Al Warqa’a


“Lavina Chauhan certainly has her hands full as the Professional Learning and Development Leader, and Faculty of English. Through her regular and supportive communication to students and parents, she has ensured the well-being of students, which keeps them motivated. She strives to ensure that ‘no child is left behind’. She is a team player.

"We are proud to share that Lavina was nominated as the resource person to conduct online training for teachers across India and around the world on behalf of CBSE. She led more than 1,000 educationalists through her PD sessions. Her in-house PD on ‘Competency Based Education’ for heads of department and subject coordinators highlighted the need for a transition in education to nurture children’s competence to enter the workforce with requisite skills. She has been hugely successful in her endeavours, and has shown the type of passion and commitment that has earned her numerous accolades.”  Dr Anjuli Murthy, Principal / CEO, GEMS Our Own High School – Al Warqa’a

Sian Moss, Primary Teacher, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis


“Sian Moss is the epitome of the inspirational teacher. She has the ability to balance academic progress with holistic care for each student. Children who have been lucky enough to enjoy time with Ms Moss have left her happier, more confident and with increased resilience. Sian is a bundle of pure joy, WSO’s very own Little Miss Sunshine, never failing to raise the spirits and mood of those around her with her bubbly personality and infectious laugh.

"Colleagues find in Ms Moss, a kind ear and a warm heart. She is always humble and, at times, so delightfully unaware of the positivity she inspires in others. Despite personal health challenges, Sian has never slowed down, never felt sorry for herself and has never forgotten why she is here: to inspire and educate. Despite this difficult health battle, she continues to educate and advocate for others. She is truly inspiring!”  Sarah O’Regan, Principal / CEO, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis

Angel Garner, Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher, GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi


“Angel is a passionate, creative teacher who makes learning fun. A true IB educator, Angel creates opportunities for students to develop knowledge, understanding and learning skills by utilising a wide range of research-based teaching strategies. Visible thinking routines are regularly employed and students readily engage in collaboration with an appropriate blend of hands-on activities and digital learning tools.

"Angel’s lessons are consistently engaging, challenging and relevant so students make authentic connections with the real-world. It is always a delight to be in Angel’s classroom – one in which you can see and feel care, excitement and opportunity!”  Catherine Erpen, Principal, GEMS World Academy – Abu Dhabi

Jill Clegg, Middle School Physical Education and Department Chair, GEMS Dubai American Academy


Jill Clegg is an amazing educator at GEMS Dubai American Academy Middle School. She gets to know her students and uses their strengths to boost their confidence, not only in class but in their personal lives as well. Last spring, she helped the school to identify additional elective options that could be offered to our students. As a result, we have a Strength and Conditioning course, which she teaches, and a dance course. Both classes are very popular with our students!

"Ms Clegg is also an integral part of our middle school leadership team. She is solution-focused and goes above and beyond to ensure building-wide activities run smoothly. Since being at DAA, Ms Clegg has also been the coordinator for the Dubai Fitness Challenge. She is an advocate for our students and produces creative ideas to enhance the middle school experience for students and staff members alike.”  Tammy Murphy, Superintendent / CEO, GEMS Dubai American Academy

Leanne Collins, PYP Art Teacher, GEMS World Academy – Dubai


 “Leanne Collins is a dedicated PYP Art Teacher with a passion for creativity. She comes from New Zealand and has been an art teacher at GEMS World Academy for six years. She inspires our young artists and allows them to explore and design amazing pieces independently while celebrating all skill-sets. Leanne has impacted the growth of the Visuals Arts curriculum, held after-school art activities, and overseen the annual art show and silent art auction.

"Last year, she undertook a school-wide project to exhibit student, staff and parent artwork across our school, bringing together the community. Leanne’s art room is a space where students engage in learning through guidance, experimentation and exploration. She encourages a learning environment that is safe, and in which each student is challenged, so they can continue to thrive and grow while discussing ideas, asking questions and expressing their feelings about art.”   Dr Saima Rana, Principal / CEO, GEMS World Academy – Dubai

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