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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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.


Working from the Heart

Posted on February 4, 2018 at 2:20 AM


My name is Wafa Al Taibi, and I’m from Gaza-Palestine.


I started working at BBS 22 years ago. I’m Grade 1 Arabic teacher and I enjoy working with this age as I believe they are the most courageous age.  I love children, and I enjoy teaching them. I consider them my own children from the very first day of school. I take care of them both academically and socially.


I always feel proud when one of my students who are in high school stopped by to say hi. They got surprised that I can still remember their names!


My goal is to prepare my first graders to the next grade level and witness their progress.


 


The Power of Communities

Posted on February 1, 2018 at 12:00 AM


My name is Kevin Fullbrook and I am the Middle School Principal. I feel incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to work with some amazing staff at BBS who work very hard each and every day to get the best out of their students.


I am originally from Brisbane, Australia, where I taught in a range of schools from a small, remote P-12 school of 300 students, to a large metropolitan high school of over 2500 students. My main teaching disciplines are Math and PE, and I have served in roles such as Math HOD, Deputy Principal and Principal. Last year I was the Head of Secondary for a bilingual school in Beijing before joining BBS for the start of this academic year.


One thing that has become very clear to me over my years in education is the collective power of a group of people committed to achieving an outcome. Typically, educators are an inspiring, dedicated, and passionate group of people who are in the profession because they love working with children and helping them achieve their best. This is certainly why I got into the profession in the first place, and why I love my job.


What really excites me as we navigate our way through some changes in the Middle School is that as a group of educators we take collective responsibility for the success of all students in the Middle School, not just the ones we teach. That we have a responsibility to share, collaborate, and support all of our colleagues, not just the ones in our department or grade level. When each and every staff member takes collective responsibility for student success right across the school, great things can happen.


I am excited by the work that lays ahead of us as we look to diversify our curriculum offerings for students with a focus on developing 21st century skills, student leadership, and development of the whole child. With subjects like Robotics, Coding, 3D Printing, STEAM, Entrepreneurship, Leadership Academy, and more, our students will get a head start on their journey to becoming the next generation of leaders in Kuwait.


I am delighted to be a part of the journey! 




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