Shoug Basim Staff Reporter- The Pawprint
“Making that connection with students and being an advocate for students guides me into making sure the world can be a better place … and that’s why I really love teaching.”
Where did you work / live before?
“Prior to moving to the U.A.E, I was living in Stuttgart (Germany), and I was working at the International School of Stuttgart.
What did you teach in Germany? English?
“Yes. I taught English there.”
How long have you been teaching the subject of English?
“I’ve been teaching English ever since I graduated from university, and whilst I was in university I taught English.”
Why did you move to DAA?
“My husband and I decided to move to DAA because we thought it would be a good opportunity to grow in our careers and meet a new environment, in order to kind of… challenge ourselves in a different academic environment. We actually have not worked in an American school outside of America, only international schools…. so it’s kind of exciting.”
Do you like it in DAA? And are you comfortable with the teaching program?
“Yeah! I think it’s really good. It’s interesting to have that American-feel, I think you can definitely see the difference between being in an international school, and an American school, because you kind of have a lens, so-to-speak, of students who are interested in American life and culture, and you also get that with our sports program here… you can see people come together with that, which is different because some international schools don’t have that community.”
How long have you lived in the UAE?
“This is my first year! We arrived in August.”
Have you discovered any new places?
“Mmm… We have been to the beach which is really nice. I’ve visited the U.A.E before… in March and also in October… so the weather was really nice. But just visiting the beach and trying new restaurants. I think that’s kinda fun!”
How did you get into teaching? Did you always want to be a teacher?
“I didn’t always want to be a teacher. I think I realized when I was about your guys’ age.. In grade 11 and 12 that I wanted to make a difference. I maybe had two teachers that really cared beyond the classroom and I think that’s what I try to look at, as a teacher. I wanted to show students that even if you’re not really into literature, it’s not about the literature, it’s about the skill and how English (as a course) can transpire and go beyond just the classroom. The elements we see, the themes we see, they’re all in the real world. Making that connection with students and being an advocate for students guides me into making sure the world can be a better place…. And that’s why I really love teaching.”
Did you enjoy school?
“To be honest… no. I think I enjoyed university… I think when I was in school I sometimes felt bored, so I could be… maybe a little bit chatty… or I’ve occasionally skipped a class… but I think part of the reason was that I wasn’t being challenged. I feel like one of the great things now is that teachers are more aware of the different learning styles and students are challenging also allowing them to see the real world connection… like how I make real world connections in my subject. But one of the reasons I enjoyed school was because I was in the marching band, and I had a lot of clubs that I was involved in. Yeah it was fun!”
What makes English so special?
“I think what makes English so special is that it really is one of those subjects that goes beyond. A lot of the times students think it’s all about reading … or writing an essay… but in reality it’s not. It’s more of looking at the way we use language in the real world. It’s looking at podcasts. It’s looking at Instagram. It’s looking at the way we communicate in the real world and how those communications and the way that society is, can connect to one another, and I think that that’s very important. For me, English isn’t just about reading, it’s about connecting, and looking at that big-picture.”
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
“I would say… I don’t know! The craziest thing I’ve ever done…? I guess just moving abroad. My husband and I moved abroad together and I had never traveled outside of the United States, so when I moved to China for my first teaching position, that had been the first time I’ve ever left the U.S! So I guess that’s pretty crazy… it was a bit nerve-wracking… but I was ready for an adventure and I would say that that was pretty cool!”
If you could travel to any place, where would you go?
“If I could travel to any place I would probably go… since I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot… I think next on my list would be to go to Peru… and kind of back-pack Peru… so that’d be very fun.”
If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
“If I could change one thing right now, it would be to change the way that we … as a society… communicate to one-another, and try to help us a society find ways to communicate more effectively, because I feel like most of the times we communicate things in-effectively, and therefore not understand the other person’s perspective. So, I think I would try to find a way in which we could understand the other perspective and find a goal instead of fighting about what’s wrong.”
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done as a student?
“As a student? The most interesting thing I’ve done as a student, I would say… would be our senior prank, I guess? It was actually kinda funny… we staged a silly dress-up day where we dressed up like administrators or teachers that we liked. I got to dress-up as the school’s assistant principal… his name was Tom Blye. I even got glasses and a wig… it was really fun! It wasn’t to poke fun at anybody, it was kind of like a thank you. We all stood by our teachers and took pictures to see who had most in common.”
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done as a teacher?
“I think the most interesting thing I’ve done as a teacher was that some students wanted to surprise the teachers… and then we found out about the surprise presentation, so-to-speak, and so the teachers learnt a surprise dance, surprising them with thank-you dance in return… so that’s kind of interesting. It was really funny! Like the videos are hilarious of us trying to choreograph the dance!”
Is there anything anything else you would like to add?
“No not really.. I guess that’s about it!”