“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future”.
John F. Kennedy
The new academic year has begun, and we are excited to welcome you all to it. This is an academic year like no other, and as I type this message, many pupils across the Middle East are still not yet back in school on a full-time basis.
Since we last published an issue of Teach Middle East Magazine (April 2020), many things have changed. The world, as we know, it has been altered permanently. After close to six months of distance learning due to closures resulting from COVID-19, schools are now just beginning to get back to some form of normalcy. Several schools which re-opened at the very start of this academic year has had to close again temporarily, because of staff or student testing positive for COVID-19.
Many parents have also opted for full-time distance learning for this term for their students as a way to shield them or members of the family from the virus. School leaders and educators have worked tirelessly over the summer holidays. They continue to work to ensure that schools are safe for students and that teaching and learning can continue as safely and effectively as possible.
It is important at this point to stop and thank all members of the education community including, the regulators, school leaders, teachers, and the administrative staff, who worked all summer long on planning and preparation for the re-opening of schools. This has been a summer like no other. Many teachers were not able to travel; many have not been able to see family and friends in their home countries for more than a year. With all of this in mind, educators’ wellbeing must take centre stage this year. Take time to take care of yourself and your colleagues. Check on your colleagues; make sure they are ok.
With many teachers teaching both online and in-person, the workload has doubled. Many are struggling to juggle all their extra responsibilities. It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is essential now more than ever to plan your downtime. Do not forfeit your relaxation. When it is time to switch off, make sure to do so and take time out for yourself. You will be a better teacher, school leader for it. You may not be able to see your friends and family face to face but make full use of technology and stay in touch.
In this issue, we focus a lot on wellbeing and providing you with strategies and tips to help you navigate these choppy waters. Dive into this issue and learn about why play is so crucial for children, find out what school inspections and improvement will look like in this new era in education. Meet our featured teachers and discover their views on what it is like being back in school.
Things may be changing around us, and we embrace the change, but one thing remains the same, and that is our commitment at Teach Middle East Magazine to bring all educators across the region and beyond great content. Remember to join us on social media and let’s keep the conversation going.
Wishing you all a safe and wonderful academic year!
Leisa Grace Wilson