By Tahreem Niazi
The new school welcomed new members to our DAA family. Mrs Rhiana Courlander, a teacher who recently moved from Bangkok, Thailand comes here with the ambition to teach Psychology to students. The Pawprint was able to have a chat with her and get know all about her life.
Where are you from?
I am from a little village called Penygroes, which you would never have heard of. It’s in North Wales and that’s where I’m originally from.
Where are you coming from?
We were living in Thailand just outside Bangkok
How and why did you get into the teaching?
Originally, I didn’t aim to become a teacher actually. I had a real passion for Psychology and I thought I’ll just see where it takes me. And then, I found that education, for me, is very important. I have to continuously learn or I get bored and I found that by becoming a teacher, you constantly have a reason to continue to study. I come into class at times as you know, I would be like: I read this study yesterday or I have seen this article about Psychology and that’s what initially made me want to become a teacher. After that, when I already started, I could see the passion growing in students and now that is the most you know worthwhile thing ever really when the students are coming to me to ask me questions about something that we have not discussed at all in class and it demonstrates the real passion for psychology. So now, that is my reason why I am a teacher but initially, there was more selfishness that I wanted to continue learning.
How do you like Dubai so far? What about it?
I love Dubai. I like how clean and organized it is compared to Thailand. And I like the school. I like the standard of customer service here. I like that we have a little pond park – well a little – it’s a massive park in Al-Barsha on our doorstep. We have a pool that we can access any day, it’s a great lifestyle!
What do you enjoy doing?
I really enjoying gardening so fortunately that is an option here. I am going to start growing some tomatoes and chilies on the balcony. I have a few plants in the kitchen and herbs. So I really enjoy gardening which I had to give up since moving abroad. And I also enjoy baking. My daughter and I bake regularly, I say a few times a week. We eat a lot of cake.
Was Psychology always something you were aiming for or was there anything you wanted to pursue before that?
Leading from the baking, when I left school, I went to study catering and hospitality because I wanted to be a chef and I was a chef for two years. And I actually got a ‘Young Chef of the Year’ award, so that’s what I really wanted to do but I found it exhausting so I was very young at the time, I was 20 years old and I just found that I was just constantly working all the time, I had a very little social life and although I love it, is still do, you know cooking is one of my passions, I just wasn’t enjoying it as a profession. So I thought if unless I give up that stressful job, I am going to stop enjoying cooking. I would lose my interest in cooking which was kind of my release really from everyday stress so I thought the best thing to do is to go on to my second passion, which was at that time a hobby which was Psychology. It was something I had researched in my spare time and then I thought I am going to do it full time. And I went to university so I gave up my job as a chef and I went to college to study social sciences.
What does Psychology mean to you?
Its means so much. When in everyday things for example, Mr. Courlander and I had our daughter quite young and we were able to in my opinion become great parents because we had the psychological knowledge so we would, if my daughter for example went through a terrible two stage that parents often complain about. We wouldn’t get upset by it, we would just read an article on it, just to see what research had been conducted and was this behavior normal, was the behavior she was displaying is worse than other children. I think Psychology is important in every single one of us. I think everyone should have a little bit of psychological knowledge and I think it’s important when you’re communicating with friends, how you can help them in everyday life, how you raise your children. I think Psychology is so important in every thing that we do and that’s why it’s important to me.
For a student who wants to pursue Psychology later on, what advice would you give them?
To not lose interest in this subject because there are some things in Psychology that we don’t really want to learn about. For example, I did a whole term on vision. I found it so terribly boring that I almost thought “Do I really want this?”. I almost gave up and if I would have done that, I would have not have everything that I have now. So like everything in life, some parts are a little bit boring, like some things we might do in class might not be interesting all the time, I do try and make it as good as possible, but some things aren’t interesting and we need to know them. Because it leads to something else. So my best advice would be to not lose passion because the boring things don’t happen often.
DAA is excited for Mrs. Courlander to be a part of the community.