BBS Teaching & Learning Center
Building teacher capacity to improve student achievement
تنمية قدرات المعلمين لتحسين أداء الطلاب
The purpose of this blog is to share teachers' stories and experiences.
Relationships with Students is the New Classroom Management Tool
|Posted on 24 October, 2022 at 2:22|
Classroom management can be a term that causes even the most seasoned teachers' anxiety. Often, we deem ourselves or other educators as either having it or not just by glimpsing in their class for a moment. As for me, I’ve learned it’s much more than what meets the eye... It’s an ongoing process, a relationship best described as the reflection of the educational environment you wish to produce for the specific students you have in your possession at a given time. Whew! That sounds like a lot…well not really when you put it into perspective and remember that this is something you continually work towards with your students daily. It’s the intentionally unbiased platform for meeting your students where they are, no matter who they are. Here is where you appreciate the fact that not all students will be in the same place as other students and nor should you expect that, but the goal remains the same… to grow them in a way that carries on beyond your classroom. This is never a “one and done” situation, as some may say. Classroom management starts with building a mutually respected relationship with your students, not only before rigor but throughout their experiences with you.
Before I dive more into the practices I use and the experiences I have had, let me introduce myself …
I’m Carnedra Hill, a 12 year veteran teacher and a first-year teacher abroad. I proudly stem from the American small town of West Point, Georgia. Georgia has always held my heart and it’s here that I attended all schooling as well as the only place I have taught until now. It was here in Georgia that I grew my first love for teaching at a very young age. Often teaching my barbies how to make mud pies and then graduating them on to reading Goosebumps tales with me. Now 7,000 miles away from everything I ever knew, and the people I love the most, I have found that although this new world is personally very different in many aspects, however professionally, my teaching practices have shown to be more valid than ever. Especially the ones I use to manage my classes, and that’s creating a relationship with all students.
Time zones, culture, educational opportunities, and even economical statuses may differ in the students I teach; however, I have found that what they need from me remains the same. To be valued, feel respected, and be inspired to do and be more. That comes from the love and support I give them each day. That’s truly how I manage my classes. I’m sorry it’s no rabbit-in-the-hat trick, or anything fancy, just the age-old golden rule of treating others how I would want to be treated. But in this case and because I’m also a mother, I often reflect and think about teaching students the way I would want my daughter taught. Through an intentional relationship with her. I love to hear stories about her teachers and it’s always very evident who has a relationship with her and who doesn’t. She works and responds ten times harder to those that have a student-centered classroom versus a teacher-centered environment. As expected, her behavior also differs between these two types of teachers. Contrary to popular belief, the teacher isn’t the only one teaching and leading in the class. Although a fictional teacher, Miss Frizzle from the cartoon ‘The Magic School Bus, is often said to “take chances, make mistakes and get messy,”. She wasn’t just talking to her class. These practices were for her too. As an educator taking chances and making mistakes are in the forecast. Maximize these moments and opportunities to grow and learn beside your students, and not just deliver in front of them. Seize those moments when a lesson doesn’t go right and lean on your students to help you figure out a new avenue to take. Mostly we should serve as facilitators and be willing to learn from our students and honor them in ways that encourage them to be bold yet purposefully in their thinking and doing.
Each year we get a new set of names and before we can even place a face with the name, we read reports or speak to their previous teacher to “see” who or what types of students we will receive. As a teacher your choices to manage your classes begin at those exact moments. Either you allow the picture painted to be the deciding factor or you give these students a new canvas to create on. Last year, I was challenged to meet a student where he was, but nothing with academic substance could be said about him. It was truly one of the most unique experiences I have had with a student. His academic goals and report cards only spoke of behavior issues and that he loved learning about football and eating chips. Instantly I thought it was a mistake, surely a teacher had not put such frivolous things on his progress reports. To my dismay it was true and after studying his situation, I found that our system had failed him terribly and he had been disregarded. I decided that day to give him something others neglected him o,f a chance.
On the first day of school, as the kids walked to my class, I held a small nerf football in my hand and casually tossed it as I greeted them and showed them to their seats. When he saw it he asked what was I doing with that and I proceeded to tell him how I loved football, and how when we do our best and try hard in class, I will bring these special toys out during recess. He told me he would play with it during recess, and I told him, of course, he would, but first, he had to show me in the classroom he deserved that chance, this was his motivation. We spoke about our class expectations briefly, and he called them a rule; I quickly corrected him and told him that we don’t have rules in my class but expectations instead. I went on to explain that rules only would tell him what not to do but his expectations were the things I would be challenging them to show me they could do. After meeting this challenge throughout the day, at recess, he played and tossed that ball like he was made especially for this sport. I complimented his speed and fearlessness and told him he should play football. With the biggest smile on his face and pride in his little voice, he told me he already did, and I could see him at his game if I wanted to. He wanted to be valued. My next step was a no-brainer, I got his schedule, and I showed up for his first game. It was at night, no seats available, and it was raining but I refused to leave until he saw me supporting him and valuing him beyond the classroom. The following Monday, he ran down the hall with a huge smile to remind me he saw me at his game. My plan was that if I showed up for him doing the one thing he loved most, he’d show up for me too, but on my field. I was able to go to every game that season apart from one. When asked how I got him to behave that semester I told them I met him as he was … on the football field, but we moved the ball to my field, in the classroom.
Although attending games, birthday parties, or other events for your students may not be your “thing,” the secret ingredient that ties any classroom management skill or strategy together is first building an intentional relationship with your students. Remember that no matter what they have, come with or come without, they need you to invest in them wholeheartedly. Connecting with your students on a level where all know they are valued, supported, and loved makes a world of a difference. An educator’s most challenging job isn’t to cover curriculum, it’s the uncovering of knowledge, talents, dreams, and even the unsurfaced innovation that lies within their students. Teaching just the curriculum most often will miss these opportunities for connections.
If you look to increase your classroom management, this month I challenge you to give your students back some of their power. Not just power over their grades or assignments but power over the way your educational platform is structured because you have taken the time to learn them and how they learn best. Intentionally focus some of that attention on finding out their inner thoughts and ideas beyond the curriculum. The curriculum is only a portion of their day, they live real lives beyond those assignments and when you tap into that, I’ve found that it allows you to manage your class on a new level. Make learning meaningful.
“You cannot be all things to all students. But sometimes, just sometimes, you will be the right teacher at the right time. You will be the exact teacher that one child needed more than anything.” -Paul Mundy
Carnedra A. Hill
A Guardian & Guide
|Posted on 26 January, 2022 at 3:37|
A Guardian & Guide
In the classic novel Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte wrote that “prejudices [...] are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones”. As an avid reader of classical literature growing up in Dublin, Ireland, I am not really sure why this line stuck with me at the time, but upon reflection it seems that even at a young age I had decided to do my best to evoke awareness of injustice by becoming a teacher - without even realising it! Jane Eyre, as a character, was always a heroine of mine, so of course, taking her job and my love of literature there was really no other way to go other than a teacher of English literature - with a separate interest and further study into philosophy, religion and ethics. I pursued my studies and degrees from my hometown at Dublin City University and qualified a decade ago - much to my dismay when I realised this!
I originally opted not to use my education degree until I decided that I wanted to travel. In 2013 I spent 4 months volunteering as a teacher in India, then I arrived and remained in Kuwait for the last 7 years - with one year in Sri Lanka. Experience has been my greatest teacher and I have been exposed to multiple education systems, institutes and curriculum. I have always rooted my teaching and leadership, within education, in the idea that all educators must "be guardians of spaces that allow students to breathe, be curious, and to explore" (Brene Brown). When we give learners, of all ages, the safe space and guidance to reach their potential we give them the courage to face what it takes to flourish, whatever that looks like to each individual, while demonstrating that it is ok for us to depend on others to help us succeed.
My personal teaching practice has always been to build a village within the classroom where everyone has something to offer. I believe in providing safe spaces, before the delivery of academic content, for learners to fully assess their strengths and opportunities for improvement, to set goals and keep their futures at the forefront of their learning. Within my classroom learners are encouraged to use the skills provided in my specialist subject to have deeper engagement with their personal areas of interest, and are offered choice and voice in how best to demonstrate their learning. My students are aware that I expect high levels of engagement and participation, and I have frequently felt proud to see them rise to the expectations rather than shy away from them, even if they have found them challenging. I have often witnessed their bravery to be vulnerable enough to do what they can to the best of their ability. Learners will often witness me, as their teacher, work alongside colleagues in the classroom to develop the most impactful learning experiences for them, and are encouraged to reach out to their peers to do the same.
A teaching practice I would encourage everyone to try is Genius Hour. What Genius Hour allows students to do is pick their own project and learning outcomes, while still hitting all the standards and skills for their grade level. In fact, these students often go “above and beyond” their standards by reaching for a greater depth of knowledge than most curriculum tends to allow. The idea for Genius Hour (or 20% time projects) in schools comes from Google’s own 20% policy, where employees are given twenty percent of their time to work and innovate on something else besides their current project. It’s been very successful in business practice, and now we can say that it has been successful in education practice. With Genius Hour and 20% time, we can solve one of the school's biggest problems by giving students a purpose for learning and a conduit for their passions and interests.
As educators, I believe we are the guardians and guides of learning journeys rooted in honesty, equity and excellence.
في الرواية الكلاسيكية، كتبت جين إير شارلوت برونتي أن "التحيزات [...] هي الأصعب استئصالاً من القلب الذي لم يتم تفكيك تربته أو تخصيبها قط عن طريق التعليم: فهي تنمو هناك صلبة مثل الأعشاب بين الحجارة". كقارئة متحمسة للأدب الكلاسيكي نشأت في دبلن، إيرلندا، لست متأكدة حقًا من سبب بقاء هذه العبارة في ذهني ذلك الوقت، ولكن عند التأمل أجد أنه منذ كنت في سن مبكرة قررت أن أبذل قصارى جهدي لإثارة الوعي حول الظلم وذلك بأن أصبح معلمة! كانت جين آير (كشخصية) دائماً بطلة بالنسبة لي، ومع حبي للأدب لم يكن هناك حقاً طريق آخر أرغب بأن أسلكه بخلاف معلمة للأدب الإنجليزي - بالإضافة لاهتمام ومزيد من الدراسة في الفلسفة والدين والأخلاق. تابعت دراستي وحصلت على شهاداتي من مسقط رأسي في جامعة مدينة دبلن وتأهلت قبل عقد من الزمن - مما أثار استيائي عندما أدركت ذلك!
لقد اخترت عدم العمل بدرجتي التعليمية حتى قررت أنني أرغب في السفر. في عام 2013 أمضيت 4 أشهر كمعلمة متطوعة في الهند، وعملت آخر 7 سنوات في التدريس في الكويت مع عام واحد في سريلانكا. تعرفت على أنظمة تعليمية ومعاهد ومناهج متعددة. لطالما قمت خلال عملي كمعلمة وقيادية في مجال التعليم بترسيخ فكرة أنه على جميع المعلمين "أن يحرصوا على منح المتعلمين المساحات التي تسمح لهم بالتنفس وأن يكونوا فضوليين ومستكشفين" (برين براون). عندما نمنح المتعلمين من جميع الأعمار المساحة الآمنة والتوجيه للوصول إلى إمكاناتهم، فإننا نمنحهم الشجاعة لمواجهة ما يتطلبه الازدهار، أيًا كان شكله عند كل فرد، مع إظهار أنه من العادي لنا الاعتماد على الآخرين لمساعدتنا على النجاح.
لطالما كانت ممارستي الشخصية في التدريس تتمثل في بناء قرية داخل الفصل الدراسي حيث يكون لكل فرد ما يقدمه. أؤمن بتوفير مساحات آمنة، قبل تقديم المحتوى الأكاديمي، للمتعلمين وذلك لتقييم نقاط قوتهم وفرص التحسين وتحديد أهداف لتكون دائماً نصب أعينهم خلال تعلمهم. في فصلي أقوم دائماً بتشجيع المتعلمين على استخدام المهارات المقدمة في موضوع تخصصي للحصول على تفاعل أعمق مع مجالات اهتمامهم الشخصية، كما أعطيهم حرية الاختيار والتعبير عن أفضل الوسائل لإثبات تعلمهم. يدرك طلابي أنني أتوقع مستويات عالية من الاندماج في التعلم والمشاركة الفاعلة، وقد شعرت كثيراً بالفخر لرؤيتهم يرتقون إلى مستوى التوقعات بدلاً من الابتعاد عنها، حتى لو وجدوا صعوبة في ذلك. لقد شاهدت في كثير من الأحيان شجاعتهم في أن يكونوا ضعفاء بما يكفي لفعل ما في وسعهم بأفضل ما يمكنهم. كثيراً ما يشاهدني المتعلمون، بصفتي معلمتهم، أعمل جنبًا إلى جنب مع زملائي في الفصل الدراسي لتطوير أكثر تجارب التعلم تأثيرًا بالنسبة لهم، ويتم تشجيعهم على التواصل مع أقرانهم لفعل الشيء نفسه.
من الممارسات التدريسية التي أود أن أشجع الجميع على تجربتها هي الساعة العبقرية Genius Hour. يسمح برنامج الساعة العبقرية Genius Hour للمتعلمين باختيار مشروع معين ونتائج التعلم الخاصة بهم مع الاستمرار في تحقيق جميع المعايير والمهارات لمستوى صفهم الدراسي. في الواقع، غالباً يتخطى هؤلاء الطلاب معاييرهم من خلال الوصول إلى عمق معرفي أكبر مما تسمح به معظم المناهج الدراسية. تأتي فكرة الساعة العبقرية Genius Hour (أو 20٪ من المشاريع الزمنية) في المدارس من سياسة Google الخاصة بنسبة 20٪ حيث يتم منح الموظفين عشرين بالمائة من وقتهم للعمل والابتكار في شيء آخر إلى جانب مشروعهم الحالي. لقد كانت هذه الفكرة ناجحة جداً في ممارسات مجال الأعمال ويمكن الآن القول إنها كانت ناجحة في ممارسات مجال التعليم. مع الساعة العبقرية Genius Hour و20٪ من الوقت يمكن حل أكبر مشاكل المدرسة من خلال منح المتعلمين هدفاً للتعلم وقناة لشغفهم واهتماماتهم.
كمعلمين، أعتقد أننا الأوصياء والمرشدون لرحلات التعلم المتجذرة في الصدق والإنصاف والتميز.
My Journey in Education
|Posted on 28 November, 2021 at 3:37|
My name is Fay Charafeddine, I am Lebanese-Canadian. My journey in education started 7 years ago. I taught science and biology. My journey as an instructional coach started this year. Using my passion for technology integration and creative teaching I have continuously worked on transforming my lessons into engaging, meaningful learning experiences. I want my students to not only attend class, but to want to be there. I aim to empower my learners by providing them with voice and choice, relatable content and an overall hands-on, student-centered learning environment.
I am a big believer in the power of data collection for fostering inclusion. It is important for me to understand my students individually in order to be able to attend to their diverse learning needs. This data is then used to try to truly engage students by using a variety of teaching methods that encourage the use of multiple ways of knowing and cognition.
Students also become more engaged in a topic when it is relevant to their own lives. Using a constructivist approach, I encourage students to take information that they learn in the classroom and create new discoveries that relate back to their own personal experiences. In this way, learning becomes personal. The students feel that they are an integral part of the learning process.
I also encourage my students to adopt a “growth mindset”, believing that ability is something that can be cultivated via effort, and welcoming failure as a natural part of this growth. This viewpoint is consistent with research by Dr. Angela Duckworth, who asserts that “grit”, which is built through failure, is one of the top personality traits that predicts success.
Finally, I would like my biology students to have opportunities to practice and improve the following skills:
اسمي في شرف الدين، لبنانية كندية. بدأت رحلتي في التعليم قبل 7 سنوات. مارست عملي كمعلمة لمادتي العلوم والأحياء وأعمل حالياً كمدربة تعليمية. ساعدني شغفي بدمج التكنولوجيا في العملية التعليمية والتعليم بطرق إبداعية للعمل باستمرار على تحويل دروسي إلى تجارب تعليمية جذابة وذات فائدة أكبر. لا أود أن يحضر طلابي الفصل فحسب بل أن تكون لديهم الرغبة في ذلك. أهدف إلى تمكين المتعلمين من خلال إتاحة الفرصة لهم بالتعبير عن آرائهم ومنحهم حرية الاختيار وتزويدهم بمحتوى مترابط وبيئة تعليمية عملية تتمحور حول الطالب
أنا من أشد المؤمنين بقوة جمع البيانات لتعزيز دمج جميع الطلاب في العملية التعليمية. من المهم بالنسبة لي أن أفهم طلابي بشكل فردي حتى أتمكن من تلبية احتياجاتهم التعليمية المختلفة وبالتالي استخدام هذه البيانات لإشراك الطلاب جميعاً بتطبيق أساليب تدريس متنوعة تشجع على استخدام طرق متعددة للمعرفة والإدراك
يصبح الطلاب أكثر انخراطًا في موضوع ما عندما يكون ذا صلة بحياتهم الخاصة. باستخدام نهج بنائي أشجع الطلاب على تطبيق المعلومات التي تعلموها في الفصل الدراسي لإنشاء اكتشافات جديدة تتعلق بتجاربهم الشخصية. بهذه الطريقة يصبح التعلم شخصيًا ويشعر الطلاب أنهم جزء لا يتجزأ من عملية التعلم
أشجع طلابي على تبني "عقلية النمو" مع قناعة أن القدرة هي شيء يمكن تنميته من خلال الجهد وتقبل الفشل كجزء طبيعي من هذا النمو. تتوافق وجهة النظر هذه مع البحث الذي أجرته الدكتورة أنجيلا دكوورث، التي تؤكد أن "العزيمة" التي تُبنى من خلال الفشل هي واحدة من أهم سمات الشخصية التي تتنبأ بالنجاح
بشكل عام، أود أن يحصل طلاب علم الأحياء لدي على فرص لممارسة وتحسين المهارات التالية
The Teacher who Inspires
|Posted on 25 November, 2021 at 6:37|
Hi! I am Constance Walcott also known as Connie C. Walcott and my journey began in 2016 as a Computer Science Educator in my home country Jamaica. In 2018 I took on the challenge of teaching abroad. This was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my entire life but I was ready to take on new experience as an educator. This is how I ended up in Kuwait where I taught for three years as a computer science/ICT Educator, after which my passion for Technology and Instructional Design has led me to my new role here at BBS as a technology integration coach.
My goal as an educator has Always been to inspire my students. Being an educator is more than just imparting knowledge, It is a lifestyle. I say this because Education does not start or end with the classroom and so we have a responsibility to prepare our students to function in a world where technology advances every day by helping them to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.
When we inspire our students everything else will fall into place, as our students will feel safe and motivated to learn. Below are a few things I normally do to inspire my students:
Conduct a learner analysis to get to know my students and identify their learning needs.
Share your experiences.
Allow students to share and connect the subject content to experiences in their day to day lives.
Collaboration is important at all levels [teacher to teacher, teacher to students, student to student both in peers and small groups], this way we are always Learning from each other.
Give students a sense of control and responsibility that will help them to become independent and also to find solutions on their own.
Strive to make your lessons fun and engaging through technology integration.
Pay attention to data and give feedback to encourage student growth.
As we take on new challenges, I encourage us to be a source of inspiration and motivation for our students so that they can become their best selves.
A Little Positivity Goes a Long Way
|Posted on 25 March, 2021 at 6:15|
1) Tell us a bit about your background. (Ex: where you’re from, how long you’ve taught and where, some of your hobbies/interests, etc.)
My name is Hana, I have been teaching for 15 years. I started teaching as soon as I graduated from university. I’m married and have two daughters. As for my hobbies, I enjoy going on walks and following the latest interior designs trends.
2) Explain one new approach to teaching and learning that you have undertaken (or are currently undertaking) this academic year. (What did you/students do, for how long, and what was the (intended outcome/impact?)
a) Students really enjoy the concept of traveling virtually to countries as they study them. Through watching real footage and documentation introducing that country, It feels as though they’re on a real trip and they look forward to their next destination.
During the online learning, I ask them to bring their favorite food or drink. Before the video is played, I tell them that the plane is about to take-off and that they must be prepared, and I show the image of the plane during take-off. Students watch the video and “sight see” as they enjoy their favorite meal.
b) Some of the successful strategies included:
Asking open-ended questions at the beginning of the lesson to grab students’ attention and provoke them to think and guess the topic of the lesson. Listening to their answers, I find that they always come up with innovative ideas, as the questions encourage them to think critically and creatively.
Question example: If you were asked to build a historical palace, which country would you build it in, what would you name it, and why?
c) I was really impressed with one of the suggested ideas, where students would use a small whiteboard during zoom classes to share their answers. Using this strategy, allowed me to achieve various goals including: a) improved participation, b) writing skills and c) movement.
3) Tell us one moment from your teaching experience that was particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.
I ran into a student that I taught previously and asked him what he’s studying at university and he answered: “You used to tell me I should be a pilot and that’s actually what I ended up pursuing!"
4) What teaching and learning goal are you most excited to achieve by the end of this school year? Please explain.
My goal for this year and every year is to develop my teaching methods and adopt new ones. Social Studies is a cultural subject and there are many fun and creative methods to deliver the information. This allows students to stay engaged in the classroom and look forward to different activities.
5) Do you have any inspirational words and/or specific sites, organizations, strategies, or links that you’d like to share with other teachers?
Journey To The Unknown
|Posted on 11 February, 2021 at 2:30|
Tell us a bit about your background. (Ex: where you’re from, how long you’ve taught and where, some of your hobbies/interests, etc.)
My name is Darrian Bryan, and I teach English Language Arts to grades 9 and 11 in the high school. This is my second year at BBS, but my fourteenth year as a teacher. I’m from the tiny, but (arguably) the most influential island in the Caribbean - Jamaica. I attended teacher’s college and from there went on to pursue a degree in Literatures in English with a minor in Psychology and Film Studies. A word that I think appropriately describes me is ambivert, not quite an extrovert, and yet not quite an introvert. I comfortably reside at the intersection of these two personality types. Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that I am an actor. At home, in Jamaica, I appeared in several national advertisements as well as theater productions. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of being an international teacher and exploring new territories, and it was that sense of adventure that lured me across the seas to Kuwait.
What inspires you as a teacher?
Both my parents were educators, and many of the students they taught went on to become meaningful contributors to society. The respect these students had for my parents is something I noted. This demonstrated to me that a teacher can make an impact on a young mind, and that is what I strive to do. I want to be able to contribute to my students' lives, particularly young men. I want them to be able to operate successfully in society.
One way I’m able to impact my students is to build a sense of community and belonging in my classroom. My students need to feel safe and respected. I believe their voices should be heard, “how else can I know what they need?” Addressing the “why” of learning is important if I am to gain the participation and engage my students.
In what ways has the pandemic impacted you and your teaching?
This has been a challenging time in many ways, but I believe I was built for this! The introvert in me was quite happy to be at home. I appreciated slowing down and taking the time to be introspective. We don’t always have the time to stop. The pandemic has pushed us to begin embracing the 21st century classroom, to consider what works best for student performance and implement it. As a result of this I have come to appreciate getting feedback from students through surveys. This has yielded many benefits for myself and my students: they have the opportunity for thinking time, and the data helps me to know where to go next. While this has been a time of tremendous suffering I think we will emerge from it better than we entered!
Confessions of a Hopeful English Teacher
|Posted on 17 January, 2021 at 9:05|
Hi! My name is Fatema Albader. I am currently a middle school English and writing teacher at Al Bayan Bilingual School. Ever since I can remember, I have loved reading books and writing. Words have always intrigued and delighted me. My earliest memory of my fondness for words was when I was about 9 years old and my English teacher uttered her first idiomatic expression to us in class. “Hold your horses! I’ll be right there!” she said. Hold my horses? What horses?
What I love most about language is that language is about people. Language is everything about humanity, influencing the way we think, speak, write, and even act. People, society and interpersonal relationships are all about language; depending on the way words are used, they can make us beam with joy or completely crush us. Words hold so much power.
In my university years, I loved learning about the biological evolution of language, the way children acquire words and speech, language and gender constructions, language in advertising, poetry, education, news media, television, text messaging, music, everything!
I’m from Kuwait, and — according to my parents — I learned how to draw before I could even walk. I like to think I’ve carried my passion for illustrating, drawing, and painting ever since. I also found out pretty early in life that I love traveling and exploring new places as I cross them off my destination bucket list. I happen to be very competitive and love to play games with my friends in my free time. My favorite things to do are the little things I do every day: making coffee with my awesome espresso machine, watering my plants (I am a proud mother of one avocado tree, one lemon tree, and one chili pepper tree), and cozying up with a good book in bed.
A funny moment from my teaching experience that was both particularly powerful and hilarious was when I was asked to substitute for a science teacher during her maternity leave for three months. My first reaction was absolute dread. I didn’t know my spleen from my kidney... how was I supposed to teach the digestive system to middle schoolers? Luckily, I had the support of our principal, an ex-AP biology teacher of more than 10 years, and the support of 75 hyped-up adolescent brains. Frankly — and I have yet to admit this — I asked students to teach me almost every day. To the kids’ astonishment (and mine), I pulled through being both an English and science teacher till the end of the year. I’m genuinely thankful for the experience, because at 26, I should at least know how food travels inside my body. This experience was the perfect reminder that teaching is more than just standing up in front of a class and delivering a lesson. It’s about being resourceful, asking questions, and discovering things you never thought you would.
Another moment from my teaching experience that was both terrifying and interesting (and I think I can safely say all of the staff at BBS will share my assessment on this) was the shift to online-learning. Before I knew it, I was in my first Zoom meeting with my students, as one of them showed off a painting she worked on over the weekend, a modern take on Hakusai’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa.” Another student showed the class her latest DIY project, a bleach-dyed tracksuit, and it was actually super cool! Mohammed reported live from the passenger seat of his driver’s car (“on the way to the chalet miss!” Oh, and Ali finally found the unmute button on his Zoom app.
As difficult as this pandemic-driven shift in mindset was, I learned to see it as a chance for us to prioritize every child in their entirety — in their art, their crafts, their hobbies, and their boredom — and the same applies for teachers. Yes, this is a difficult time for all of us, but on the bright side, we finally have the time to read, play, create, and rest
It's Okay to be Different and Make Mistakes
|Posted on 1 December, 2020 at 23:15|
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 3 November, 2020 at 23:45|
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”.
https://youtu.be/BEsZOnyQzxQ" 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.
|Posted on 20 February, 2019 at 4:05|