GEMS Education has officially welcomed more than 1,800 new teachers from across the globe to its network of schools during GEMS Awareness Day, an annual event designed to introduce new teaching staff to every aspect of the organisation and its partners and services.
GEMS Awareness day is an invaluable platform for inspirational information exchange and a unique opportunity for GEMS Education’s senior leadership team and educationalists to share their expertise and experience across all subjects and curricula.
GEMS Education Founder and Chairman Sunny Varkey welcomed new teaching staff during the event, saying: “Welcome to GEMS Education. I would like to assure you that you have made an incredibly positive decision to join the world’s greatest education company. Built on the foundations of the greatest values, the greatest teachers and the greatest school leaders in the world.
“On a world scale, GEMS Education continually aims to raise the standards of education and the teaching profession. By joining the GEMS family, your passion for this noble profession will transform you into a master-practitioner, and that, coupled with strong partnerships with parents, will enable the children you teach to succeed.”
New teachers were also addressed by senior executives of the education group, including GEMS Education’s CEO, Dino Varkey; Global Chief Education Officer, Sir Christopher Stone; Chief People Officer, Rupert Brown; Vice President – Education, David Fitzgerald; Head of School Performance and Standards, Jodh Singh Dhesi; Head of Child Safeguarding and Child Protection, Sara Hedger; and Emily Ellington, Head of Inclusion.
Speaking at the event, Dino Varkey, Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education, said: “GEMS Education has been educating children for 60 years. We raise the profile of the profession through the Global Teacher Prize and engage heads of state and politicians around the world to give education the importance it deserves, to ensure it has its place in national agendas, rather than existing as a political afterthought.
“Our greatest focus will always be our students, and the positive impact they can make on the world. This impact will only be seen by parents and others decades later. However, it is the work you do in the classroom every day that will have the most profound influence on our collective future. Create moments that matter for the students in your care, to enable hope and possibility for a better world. I know that all 1,800 of you share our passion and purpose to deliver quality education to every child.”
The event’s wide range of focus areas included moral education, one of the top priorities of the UAE government, in addition to Arabic and Islamic Studies, with breakout sessions offering new teachers unique insights into each. These sessions included ‘Critical Thinking in the Arabic Classroom’ and ‘Optimizing Input and Output in Arabic Language Learning’. Sessions also covered the UAE’s culture and history, with one-third of all Awareness Day discussions having a local or regional point of reference.
Asif Khan, the new Head of Arabic and Islamic Studies at GEMS Winchester School – Fujairah, said: “I am keen to explore opportunities for cross-curricular learning between the sciences, Arabic and Islamic Studies, and appreciate the need for a well-integrated, inclusive curriculum. I was drawn to GEMS Education’s culture of sharing good practice between its schools and investing in its staffs’ CPD, as well as GEMS Education’s core values and approach to education.”
The event included presentations and workshops, with thematic insights into the mission of GEMS Education as well as the wider narratives of the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda. The various sessions also covered values-led education, child safeguarding, wellness, inclusion, disruption in technology, sustainability and finance.
Among the session speakers were Krishnan Gopi, Group Chief Disruption Officer, GEMS Education, who led a workshop on how disruption is the new ‘normal’. GEMS Education’s new Head of Inclusion, Emily Ellington, spoke about the importance of supporting students of determination by providing an overview of Dubai’s Inclusive Education Policy Framework, while Dr Linda Rush, Senior Vice President, TELLAL Institute – the first licensed dedicated teacher training institute in the UAE – highlighted the importance of teacher-parent communications.
Dr Ali Razzak, Family Medicine Consultant and Medical Director at King’s College Hospital, held a talk on the medical challenges and opportunities associated with relocating to the UAE, while representatives from First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC and Emirates NBD delivered workshops on finance-related matters.
New teachers joining GEMS Education this year come from across the world, bringing with them a wealth of experience and expertise, spanning all subjects and curricula.
Isaac Able, a new teacher joining GEMS Modern Academy, outlined what he is excited to bring to students during his Mathematics classes: “Students learn most effectively when they are able to sense the relevance of the concept being taught. I hope to inspire my students to be positive change-makers.”
New starter Rafael Angel will be joining GEMS International School – Al Khail. He said: “I will be helping students with the transition from primary to secondary and middle school to high school, in a dedicated MYP role – which helps other teachers ensure the curriculum for the MYP is relevant, age-appropriate, impactful, meaningful, and that it responds to the learning demands of the 21st century. I am also really looking forward to teaching Spanish in grades 9 and 10.”
Jocelin Hattar is new to Dubai and is set to join GEMS Al Khaleej National School as an MYP maths teacher. She said: “I am well aware that the responsibilities of a teacher do not end with the school day. I have seen that teaching provides extensive challenges but the rewards make all the hard work worthwhile. As an educator, I have been looking for a school that has an outstanding reputation for high-quality academic achievements as well as a one-of-a-kind learning and teaching environment. GEMS Education schools provide this, and I can’t wait to be part of GEMS.”