BBS Teaching & Learning Center

Building teacher capacity to improve student achievement
تنمية قدرات المعلمين لتحسين أداء الطلاب 

Teachers' Stories

The purpose of this blog is to share teachers' stories and experiences. 

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It's Okay to be Different and Make Mistakes

Posted on December 1, 2020 at 11:15 PM


About me: Hello! My name is Nicole Manavala, but you can call me Nick or Nikki. I was born and brought up in Bombay, India and I am the only child to my parents. I am December baby and a true Capricorn. I also have two cats named Sasha Cole and Snowball. I did my primary years in India before coming to Kuwait in 2001, and continued my further studies in an Indian school till 2010. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature through Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). My hobbies include dancing, reading books, listening to music and rest depends on my mood. I’m not much of a socializer, so I keep my circle extremely small and limited. Before coming to BBS, I worked at two Indian playschools for about a year and 3 months. This is my 8th year at BBS. I started as an assistant in 2013 and made my way up to be a teacher in the year 2019. Titles are just for formality sake. I don’t believe in them, because once a teacher always a teacher. ☺

My experience: An experience in BBS that changed my year completely was when I was appointed as an acting teacher during the year 2018 since my colleague quit. I decided to grab hold of the opportunity and take advantage of it. It was a changing moment in my career and honestly, I did not quiet expect to take complete control over a class for the whole year. I wasn’t that prepared too (I mean no one technically is). I remember that year was a roller-coaster ride filled with ups and downs, and a lot of obstacles on the way. When I look back at that year, I can only imagine myself doing things that I planned but somewhat did not execute in a certain manner. I watched my colleagues do better than me. It made me really upset and bothered. I pushed myself too hard and over worked myself staying back at school longer than the usual hours. The thing that kept me going and motivated was my little audience, my students. They lit up the classroom everyday with bright happy faces, engaging themselves with activities set up for them. They made the best memories and eventually the classroom became my happy place. It was almost like a calm and a huge storm of stressing out, searching for ideas, asking for guidance from my colleagues or the TLC (very thankful to Ms. Marybeth). It was a relief after the months started to pass by, those littles eyes looking at me while reading a book, doing a mini lesson on the carpet or while giving instructions. I could see the changes that I was making to strive and achieve the best I could do and fit in both as a teacher and an educator. By the end of that year, I did paint a new picture. I was appointed as an official teacher. I saw a different person in me and mostly, learned from my mistakes (a lot of them). Today I take those mistakes, re shape them and carve new ventures for every academic year. I have become more confident, comfortable and relaxed. In the end, we all make it through rough waters. I am very thankful for that experience.

Inspiration: No other inspiration better than yourself. You can create and destroy it at the same time. Learn how to mold your own growth! Also, remember to love yourself always and do not change it for the world. ☺

Strategies I use in classroom: Yoga. Simple and child friendly. Helps to calm students especially before a mini lesson or an activity. Children engage a lot in yoga and they can be silly at times. Breathing exercises like the Balloon, Pretzel, and Star. Sometimes I come up with my own breathing exercises just to be more creative like Princess breathing, Super hero breathing, etc. This helps us calm down as well since our age group can really keep us on our toes.

Play calming music during center time for a more cozy and relaxing ambiance. In that way, even a teacher can ease out his/her stress.





Together We Grow!

Posted on November 3, 2020 at 11:45 PM

I am May Al Andary coming from the mountains of Lebanon. I have a BA in Early Childhood Education and recently obtained a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Suny Buffalo University of New York. This is my sixth year teaching at BBS and I have been teaching kindergarten for the past sixteen years in Kuwait.

My passion is spending time in nature and enjoying the beauty of forests and rivers. Growing and nurturing plants is a great inspiration for nurturing little children. I believe that teaching is like gardening by providing the environment for each child to learn and grow. I also concur with John Hattie that the teacher has the greatest impact on the student’s approach towards learning.

This year is a challenging experience for both teachers and children, as we are exploring and discovering a new learning curve. My aim this year is to ensure that my students are independently participating in all the activities by communicating with the parents on how they can support and guide their child at home without interfering with their learning process. It is crucial at this age level to collect data on students' progression to design and plan the next learning goals, and we can only achieve it by creating feasible formative assessments and effective communication channels with the parents.

I would like to share with you this video of Sir Ken Robinson in one of his Talk’s discussed about how to change education and said that the basics and fundamentals to have a theater are the “Performer” and the “Audience”, and what makes a school are the “Teacher” and the “ Learner”." target="_blank">" How To Change Education"  - Sir Ken Robinson

I believe my role as a teacher is to respect each child’s individuality and light the spark of curiosity in each one of them to be successful in their lives.


Students' Trust

Posted on February 20, 2019 at 4:05 AM

My name is Doaa Mohamed Moursy. I am an Egyptian woman who was born, and stayed the majority of her life in Kuwait. I am married and a mother of a boy and a girl. I am British educated. I had my school years in two schools, the British school of Kuwait in Kuwait and had my IGCSCE from the English girls’ college in Alexandria, Egypt. I had my bachelor degree from faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria, Egypt. At the beginning of my career journey, I wanted to be an interior design. However, I did not find my personality in this field. My father, who is the most adorable person in my life, advised me to try teaching and that he thinks I will find myself in teaching. My first teaching years was at the Egyptian American School in Alexandria. I worked there for two years. I was teaching high school students. The difference in age between the students and myself was about five years only. It was a joy teaching there. Two years later, I was engaged in Kuwait and worked at the English School for girls. I continued my studies and received license to be an IGCSCE assessor from Cambridge University. I continued working at the English school for Girls for 5 years. I was blessed those years with an amazing Australian Principle, Ms. Margaret. She taught me how to be a professional art teacher. Then I moved to Al Bayan Bilingual School to start a new chapter in my life. Teaching at Al Bayan was like a dream. A very well-known school, where you will gain an excellent experience. The first day I entered this school one of the teachers whispered into my ears, have the MIDDLE SCHOOL students respect you and love you and you will succeed. From this moment, I worked on this piece of advice. My goal every year is to have an enjoyable school year with my students. In our school, our students work a lot. I expect Art for them a relaxing productive time. We enjoy working while listening to music, sometimes working while chatting about different life issues. Teaching teenagers is not easy, but it would be if you have the trust of your students. One of the best projects my students are having this year is to recycle tires into useful and usable things with an artistic touch.

Learning Through Play

Posted on January 24, 2019 at 3:00 AM

My name is Sura and I teach KG2 English. I am from the UK and have been teaching in Kuwait for nine years. This is my eighth year at Al Bayan. I moved to Kuwait in 2006 when I got married and I have four wonderful children. I studied Accounting at The American University of Kuwait and went on to complete my master's degree in Educational Leadership at The College of New Jersey. I taught Nursery for the five years at BBS and transferred to KG2 in 2016. I definitely have a soft spot for preschool and could not imagine working in other departments.  Some of my hobbies include travelling, exercising, and shopping.

This year my team and I have been focusing on learning through play for our KG2 students. We have been planning creative invitations and provocations inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. The intention is for students to guide and scaffold their own learning through different activities. Our goal as teachers is to ensure that we are still covering all the standards in our curriculum while meeting our students' different learning needs.

I would like to share the gonoodle website. This website consists of different characters and different exercises that students can follow to get energized. The chosen character grows with each completed 'brain break'.  The benefits of gonoodle are improved behavior and attention, higher academic performance, and stronger classroom cohesion.

Technology is the Wave of the Present and Future

Posted on December 12, 2018 at 11:25 PM

My name is Ashraf Al-Rabah and I am from Irbid, Jordan. I graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology (J.U.S.T) in 1996 with specialization in computer engineering. Both my parents were History and English teachers and this is why I like teaching. Reading history books, traveling and visiting ancient cities are my passion. This is my 20th year in education technology.

I have taught technology in a national university for 12 years, 4 years in an international school (British and American) in Amman and this is my 4th year here at BBS and in Kuwait. Having been an IT teacher and IT HOD, and now technology integrated specialist, I'm passionately interested in training and development for teachers.

Building relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally is a goal that I would like to achieve.

What really excites me is considering each day as a new adventure, meeting new challenges, solving technology problems, teaching in different strategies, collaborating with multi-culture teachers and the joy of success as a result of hard working.

To Fit In

Posted on June 5, 2018 at 3:15 AM

Born in Cairo-Egypt (where I felt I never fit in) and raised in Jeddah-Saudi Arabia (where I felt I didn’t fit in either) I was able to experience (struggle) living in the Gulf since I was kid. Educated (not really) in a Greek community school which during its peak years numbered at around 60 students from K-12. Most of the years I had one or two classmates and I spent grade 5 as the only student in that grade level. I wasn’t exposed to a world class education and I didn’t have the chance to study English up until when I entered university (I failed my language entrance mock exam) but I was taught sincere compassion and gratitude. I learned how to value the connection I had with the people that taught me and appreciate their contributions some of which I keep in contact till this day. For the next 18 years I would spend 8 months in Saudi Arabia and the remaining 4 back in Greece (I’ve been collecting airline miles ever since).

Once I was done with school I moved to Cairo (my parents made me cause at the time my brother was a senior in Finance) again to complete my Bachelors in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and Master of Arts in International and Comparative Education from the American University in Cairo. My research interest revolve around human creativity and the capacity we have for generating new ideas; concepts that I try to incorporate in my classes and expose my students to (most of the times I fail, but at least I try).

My first teaching job (I had a cubicle) was at an IB school and I’ve been teaching biology and science related classes for nearly 8 years now (I don’t have cubicle) 5 of which were in the International Baccalaureate (IB) (its actually 10 but a school never gave me recognition for volunteer work) and my teaching style revolves around my students feeling comfortable and confident inside the classroom. I want my students to leave genuine feedback and notes of gratitude and appreciation of their learning in a wall I always have readily available in my classroom called the “Doodle Wall.” (the pic at the beginning of the article? It’s been in my classroom for 3 years at BBS) A lot of students will walk in to check their writings on the wall even after they are done with grade 8. I never expect my students to come out of my lesson having mastered science, but I always try to give them a piece of my character (jesting 101 would be an elective I’d give).

I’ve been in Kuwait for the last 3 years (not sure how many more) and I’ve been trying to complete my PhD proposal studies (got accepted once, rejected twice) in some of the world’s top universities researching creativity and innovation.

When I am not teaching (burning out and complaining about grading) I like to read, cook and exercise (a great statement for beauty pageant contestants). I currently reside in Athens, Greece (where I finally feel that I fit in) where I spend all my summers hiking, swimming and island hoping.

It’s been great teaching at BBS (insert sound of crickets) but the time for me has come to move on to new places to grow primarily as a person and secondarily as a teacher.

Much love,

Chris Scoufaridis

Flipping the Switch on Traditional Education

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 7:35 AM

My name is Demetria Dixon and I teach World History I, World Cultures and 20th Century History in the High School. This is my second year at Al-Bayan, but my fourth year in Kuwait. I am originally from Dallas, Texas; however, I now live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and our infant son who keeps us quite busy. I have always had the desire to be an educator gaining my bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education and my master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. My eleven years within education thus far vary. I have worked at level one schools as well as level four and private schools as a classroom educator. I have also spent time in higher education in such roles as Registrar and Director of Compliance.

As of this year, I have really tried to incorporate the flipped classroom model. While it is a work in progress, requiring additional prep time, I am confident that the end result will be beneficial for our evolving learners. I have been and remain cognizant that I am training students for jobs that have yet to be created. In knowing this, it is important to maximize classroom time in an effort to not only teach content, but emphasize on skill building. I usually give reading assignments or powerpoints ahead of class. In class, through discussion we make meaning of that content and lastly, we apply it.

The flipped classroom is a blended learning strategy with the aim to improve student engagement and outcomes. It is not a new concept or a drive to promote technology; pedagogy is still very important. It can however be equated with pedagogies such as active learning, peer instruction, problem-based learning or any blended learning strategy that requires students to prepare learning before they meet and engage with their peers and myself. This model engages students and splits the accountability making the learning experience a partnership rather than a 20-40 minute lecture styled classroom.

Many of our students lead busy lives outside of school. We also have students that benefit from additional classroom time to gain help where needed. I consider it a blessing to teach such global learners. Why not take their experiences and knowledge while encompassing content to get real conversations going. Through this method, I get to know them better, we interact well and it pushes me as an educator to consistently develop.

Outside of continued networking with past and present colleagues, I frequent such websites as Edutopia, Edudemic and The University of Queensland who all offer free and reputable information regarding this model, it’s progression and researched results.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. – Malcolm X


Adaptation for Growth

Posted on March 29, 2018 at 7:30 AM

My name is Dean Savage and currently I am a middle school science teacher. I am a Caribbean girl, from the beautiful island of wood and water, Jamaica. I have been an educator for about 16 years. My first 7 years was in public school after which I taught at a private IB school for an additional 7 years before taking on the adventurous journey of Kuwait middle school. I have taught middle school science and high school biology up to grade 13. My interests are quiet reflective walks, being on the beach, reading and watching my favorite series like the walking dead on Netflix. 

I have taught natural selection, adaptation and survival of the fittest to biology students for years; and now recognized more explicitly the application of this as an educator in the Kuwait context. Often we hold to the old ideas, strategies or experiences that worked before, but in a new context they become obsolete and we have to adapt. Adaptation as educator is often not comfortable, it requires change, moving out of your comfort zone and trying new approaches. The outcome however is the beauty of growth for me as a teacher as well growth for my students.

Having said that, I will share one new approach that I have undertaken in the process of adaptation and finding new strategies to provide the best experiences and growth for my students. I started goal setting with my students in January of this year. The objectives were to:

• Stimulate intrinsic motivation in the learning process

• For students to take ownership of their learning

• And to encourage student reflection

My task was to introduce the idea of goal setting, how to go about setting realistic goals and providing the tools for students to set goals. I adopted a form for students to complete with 3 goals related to academics, conduct and tribes. Each student was also given a folder to place their forms. Students also had access to their folders. Students were given the time and reflective space to set their goals. We had check-ins for students to reflect on where they are and make changes to their goals (I try to do bi-monthly check in, also right after the grading period leading into the new semester).

This process is on-going and we will continue for the rest of the year. The initial impacts were beyond what I expected. Some students were checking in of their own initiatives and discussing their goals with me. I saw an overall improvement in attitude to work, student engagement and improvement in academic performance. The greatest success is with one student who was failing miserably, she was always disruptive and sent to the office at least 3 times per week. After our reflective check in, we spoke and decide on the goals. Today, she is passing, there is a tremendous improvement in her class conduct and she has not been sent to the office since. If I can influence the life of one student in a positive way then growth has happen and the strategy was worth the effort!

I end with this quote I shared with my students “No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers.” – Wolfgang Riebe. In the journey of adaptation and growth it is ok not to be perfect, to make mistakes and fail. Just get up, brush yourself off and keep going. The brilliance of the growth as an educator will be worth it!


The Journey

Posted on February 20, 2018 at 10:35 PM

Tell us a bit about your background

Hello my name is Salma Khan Al Beloushi. I was born in Sheffield England and was raised in Lodi, California, a tiny town I call home. I am married to a local Kuwaiti, which is the sole reason how I ended up in this beautiful country, I also call home. I speak three languages, English being my native tongue. I am a mother of five amazing kids and I have one adorable grandson. I came to Kuwait in 1994, that’s when the journey began. Living in Kuwait has given me plenty of opportunities to travel and experience a lot of rich cultural events. I love spending time with my family and hosting family gatherings. When I have spare time I enjoy travelling and reading a good book.

In the year 2000 I was offered a temporary position, as an assistant to one of the teachers on maternity leave. I have been working for BBS ever since. Seventeen years in the Pre-school and I love every minute of it. I am currently a Nursery English teacher, on the Jabriya Campus. I have always enjoyed being around young children. Being a Nursery Teacher has been one of the best journeys of my life. There is never a dull moment when around three year olds, you learn something new every day. Watching a child grow and mature throughout the school year is truly an amazing process. Being a part of a child’s early year development is a rewarding experience.

Explain one new approach to teaching and learning that you have undertaken (or are currently undertaking) this academic year.  

We have recently become a Reggio Inspired learning environment and it has opened new doors and experiences for the students and for me as well. I have been learning new teaching strategies and am finding it quite interesting. Listening to the children engage in conversations and ask questions that amaze me has been an experience and a journey that I am finding satisfying. Those little minds are like mini scientists with big questions. I have a new light table in the classroom that has sparked a lot of questions like why? and what? are we doing. The best conversation is when a child explained to me that maybe the light table gets its light from solar power, his insight put a smile on my face. It’s moments like these that make my job the best job in the world. My journey in the world of Reggio has just begun. Iam looking forward to many more new experiences and adventures in the years to come.

Do you have any inspirational words and/or specific sites, organizations, strategies, or links that you’d like to share with other teachers?

Today was fun

Today was good

Tomorrow is another one—Dr.Seuss

The Story of an Egyptian Girl

Posted on February 11, 2018 at 3:15 AM

My name is Huda Labib, from Cairo, Egypt. I have a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Geography, in addition to a diploma in the same specialization.

In my third year of undergraduate, I was the ideal student in the Geography department of Ain Shams University. In my final year, I was the ideal student in 11 departments in the Faculty of Arts. I got first place in the Geography department in my first three years of university. I started teaching in 1993.

My hobbies are reading, traveling to explore countries, as well as cooking.

One of the most impressive moments of my life as a teacher was when the seventh graders gave me a bouquet of flowers on the Mother’s Day.  They told me they feel that I am like a mother to them and asked for a picture together.It was a nice gesture.

After my students learned how to use (Quizizz) and after I had created many tests using the program, my students now like to do quizzes every SS class. The test no longer intimidates or scares them. It became one of their favorites because they review the content easily.

I believe very strongly in the proverb that says:

- Be patient. Things will change for the better.