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The Long and Winding Road

It is an honor to write a part of my story for the TLC website. From my first day at Al Bayan, I have relied on the resources and people in the Teaching Learning Center for advice, coffee, and treats. When asked to share, I thought it a good opportunity to give back.


I was born in the USA and moved to Ontario, Canada at age 12. Presently I am a permanent resident of Canada. I am married to a retired math teacher and we have two adult children (one of whom is a math teacher), and two grandchildren, all in North America at present.


After 20 years of teaching in Canada, my husband and I ventured to Cairo, Egypt for two years, Saint Maarten in the Caribbean for one year, and Bangalore, India for one year and a bit. I arrived at BBS on September 2, 2014- the first day of school, and was part of the Grade 2 team. Last year I was asked to act as the Grade 1 GLC, and this year I am teaching Grade 1, and loving it!


Although I have many interests, my favorite activity is swimming. I have been a competitive swimmer, swimming instructor, lifeguard, swimming program coordinator, staff trainer, swimming coach, official and administrator. Recently my swimming qualifications elapsed so that I have come full circle, back to enjoying swimming lengths of Champions pool as often as possible. Bubble, bubble, breathe!


There have been many changes in education over the past 30 years. The two most significant changes, I believe, are 1- the growth of the Internet and technology in the classroom, and 2- the common understanding that each child is unique. There are two related approaches to teaching and learning that I have purposely undertaken since my arrival at BBS.


The first is the consistent use of the Starboard and its many related programs. Last year I had the privilege of working with Ms. Anfal in the grade 1 math classroom. She made it look easy, and now I realize that, like anything else, it takes time, effort, and plenty of practice to develop the necessary skills. With support from colleagues, coaches, and the IT department, I am making headway into the world of the Interactive White Board.


Last year Ms. Jessica spearheaded the Kindness Campaign at BBS, while Ms. Zetha spoke about the importance of the various character traits. All of the staff at BBS had the opportunity to participate in the Tribes program, which brings together many of the foundations of my personal teaching philosophy. My goal is to honor the unique individuality of children while creating cohesive group within a kind, caring, respectful and safe learning environment. Again, this is not easy, and is often dependent on the constellation of children in the classroom. As it is early in the year, I am working extremely hard to this end. I believe the keys include consistency, a firm but fair approach, patience, and unconditional positive regard, also known as love.


My advice to teachers is to realize the importance of your role within the system of which you are part. One of my favorite quotes is by Brandi Snyder, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” And you never know who that one person may be. These strategies have been helpful to me over the years:


• build positive relationships with your students and their parents

• give more than you take and listen more than you speak

• be a guide at the side, not the sage on the stage

• trust your instincts

• ask for help when you need it and give help if you see the need

• treat others the way you would like to be treated

• take care of your personal emotional, physical, and spiritual health

• know your limitations, but do not be afraid to stretch them


The following quotes are taken


“Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.” Author Unknown


“Teachers who inspire realize there will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them.” Author Unknown


“Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition.” Jacques Barzun


“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung

This final quote describes my Grade 1 class this year- “A teacher’s job is to take a bunch of live wires and see that they are well-grounded.” D. Martin. And thus, the process continues.


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