DAA Daily

From Clovers to Cacti, Poking the Truth Out of Liam Kirwan

By Natalie Chamwada & Taj Pillott, Staff Reporters, The Pawprint

Liam Kirwan is a returning teacher at Dubai American Academy from the Republic of Ireland. He spent a handful of years in the United Arab Emirates gaining several experiences in the field of education. Mr. Kirwan shares his teaching history and counsels today’s generation, both teachers and students alike, to future success.

Is this your first time in Dubai? 

This is not my first time in Dubai. I’ve been living in the UAE for 11 years. This is my second time teaching in Dubai American Academy though. I was here previously in the 2020-2021 academic year and I returned a year after really enjoying the community of teachers, students, and all that’s on offer in the school. 

Tell us about your teaching history before DAA.

Before DAA, I was an athletic director and the head of K-12 physical education and health in a school called Gems United School which merged with DAA prior to the pandemic. I’ve taught students from literally KG1 up to grade 12. Majority of my years’ experience has been teaching high school PE. I much prefer that as I feel that I could build possible relationships with those students. And I like the students trying to find the path that they will take beyond school or beyond their PE classes in terms of health and fitness journeys. 

Do you have anything to improve on as a teacher?

Many, many things. When I’m “hangry”, my ability to have some patience. I think as humans, we all have our days when we could’ve been a bit more understanding or we could’ve maybe waited a second before jumping into an assumption about a situation. I think I can be really good at it at times, and sometimes I can be really bad. Time management is definitely an issue for me at times. I do focus on the small times sometimes (too much) rather than look at the bigger picture, which can mean that smaller details– I spend too much time on them when really I should’ve stepped back, reflected, and looked at the bigger whole. 

As an adult, what are some of the values you wish your students understood and appreciated? What would you preach?

Manners make a man or a woman. I believe manners are a dying skill or characteristic in, not just young people, but in just our generation and I think it’s something that I personally grew up with. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ can go a long way in the kind of relationship you build with somebody. Whether it’s somebody working at a service station or serving you coffee or who is your boss, just being able to start a conversation in a polite way, I think, means a lot to people. 

Teaching here in Dubai, his home away from home, Liam Kirwan’s presence serves as an oasis to the DAA community.

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