By Kaya Geha
The DAA community is delighted to welcome Mr. Jake Helms, the new special Ed teacher. Not only is he excited about his position as an educator, but he is also the new elementary swim coach. The following is an interview with Mr. Helms that allows for insight on him as a teacher and his life outside of school.
What made you decide to start teaching?
I started teaching because I love kids. My first job was working as a swim teacher at the age of fifteen, and that’s where I first developed my passion for working with kids. Seeing students grow, especially in areas that they struggle with links back to coaching swimming. Children starting from being deathly afraid of the water to later having a remarkable passion for it? That was it for me.
Why Special Ed specifically?
Because it links perfectly well with what my passion is. If my passion were to see people succeed in Math specifically, it would make more sense to focus in on that particular field. But more what I love to do is help students overcome their struggles. Be it something emotional, or a mental disability, finding ways around it is awesome. It’s an awesome feeling to help someone recognize that their disability is more than that. As cheesy as it sounds, turning a disability into ability.
Where were you before coming to DAA?
I was teaching in Oregon for two years where my wife was getting her master’s degree. Before that, I taught in both New York and Washington D.C. and only moved to Dubai approximately six weeks ago.
How are you finding the weather?
Hottt! It’s been brutal. We have a nine-month-old and a three-year-old and so far we have been going to lego land’s waterpark every weekend. It has been the highlight of my week.
Why did you move to DAA specifically?
My wife and I were told that this school has a Culture of Kindness. My wife is a school counselor and me being a special education teacher was drawn to the idea of this ‘culture of kindness’. What we want to do is help aid community and culture. We were also informed of how excellent, and rigorous this school was and wanted to see for ourselves.
Do you have any hobbies?
I have two kids – they are my hobbies, but I recently joined a darts league. Never played darts before, but I’ll be doing it every week now. I also just signed up for a half marathon which is on the first weekend of December – another thing I have never done. It seems like I have already started making new hobbies!