March 18, 2020 Powered by Hartland International School

How coronavirus is affecting Dubai teachers

UAE schools and nurseries have been closed for an initial 4-week period under government direction following the recent coronavirus outbreak. We hear from Mairead Cashman, an FS1 teacher at Hartland International School, to understand the impact that non-contact time will have on both students and teachers over the coming weeks.

It seems surreal. I cannot get my head around it! As I sit here, I ask myself the question: why are we not at school? I do know the reasoning behind the closing of our schools. I am grateful that the Government has taken precautionary action to keep us safe. I know about Covid-19 sweeping across the world but I cannot fathom not going to school and not seeing the faces of my little FS1s every day!

I know for some, the teaching profession is dismissed as being an easy job. I know because I have friends that feel it necessary to remind me of this. And during the current crisis, it seems that many think that we teachers are really enjoying the enforced break.

But for me, they are so wrong. They look from the outside in and a reoccurring argument is “look at all the holidays you get!” They have never walked in our steps to the inside of our classrooms. They have never watched us ‘in action’. They do not realise how much we all, teachers and students, can achieve in any given day.

No one can foresee the impact that non-contact time will have on both students and teachers but we, as a teaching community, hope to be back in school as soon as possible. Because you see, I love my job and I love what I can achieve every day.

I may not be landing a million dollar deal or acquiring a multi-million dollar company, but what I and my students can achieve every day, well, it is truly unbelievable.

From the child who is in tears leaving their parents on the first day of school to bouncing in the door of our classrooms, or the child who refuses to speak to you on the first day to the child who cannot wait to tell you their story. Then there is the child who spoke a different first language on day 1 and is now the child who is slowly but surely interacting with both me and his peers in a new and exciting language. Perhaps it does not make news headlines, but to me, its breaking news and a major breakthrough all in one. And what, if anything, have I learned from teaching these little people?

I have learned as much from my little Rosefinchers (FS1 class) as they have from me. Our interactions on a daily basis allow for the teaching opportunities that I cannot plan for, including:

  1. Honesty – A three year old will rarely lie to you and I know this because the day I go to school feeling less than 100%, they will tell me – “what is wrong with your face today Miss?” or when I ask them about a certain interaction, they will tell me “yes, I said this…but…”
  2. Friendship – At a young age, they will be friends with everyone in the class, they are very slow to judge by first appearances. They give everyone the benefit of the doubt. My mum used to always say to me, “never judge a book by its cover.”
  3. Fairness and Justice – These little people have the utmost sense of justice I have ever witnessed. A little friend who does wrong by them, who does not follow the rules, or who hurts another child – they will question it, they will look for answers and they will seek these answers. They will also refer to it 10 days later, during another lesson “remember when this happened…

Mairead Cashman

About Hartland International School

Hartland International School prides itself on delivering a traditional values led British education combined with the richness of international approaches to learning. Structured to meet the needs of the 21st Century learner, we aim to inspire, challenge and empower young people on their journey to excellence. This is balanced with rigorous academic challenge and the holistic development of all aspects of young people. Our high-quality pastoral care in a safe and approachable environment will help shape your child to become well-rounded, fulfilled and successful individuals.

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