Getting to know you: TELLAL Teach Best Mentor

Lama Rawdah

So many people are expressing interest in our innovative Teach Best programme that we have had to add more information session events to help guide people prior to the course start in September.  It does offer a range of opportunities to current and prospective teachers for them to gain the right qualifications and contacts to secure a teaching position in Dubai.  For those of you who might be considering a TELLAL course, we wanted to dive even more into what you can expect.  One of the most beneficial elements to Teach Best is our Mentor involvement; in which you have the support of an educational professional to guide your progress and offer much needed advice.  To help you get to know the type of people we work with, we are interviewing some of our mentors and asking them more about their work.  This week we spoke to Lama Rawdah who is a 5th Grade Homeroom Teacher at Dubai American Academy.  She has been living and working in Dubai for twelve years and has been a TELLAL Mentor for almost two years.

Hi Lama, thank you so much for talking to us!  You’ve lived in Dubai for a long time now, what do you like most about calling the city home?

My most favourite thing about living in Dubai is that I get to embrace both my Canadian side and Lebanese side as this city is so diverse and multicultural.

What does working with TELLAL entail for you?

Working with TELLAL means engaging with graduate trainees and ensuring they are receiving adequate attention from me as their mentor. TELLAL also ensures that I am trained to do just that by providing on-going training modules.

What made you want to work with TELLAL?

When I was working towards my B.A. in Elementary Education, I had a very inspirational mentor. She taught me all she knew about being a wonderful educator. Most of all, she taught me about the importance of connecting with my students and how forming those connections with them are more important than just focusing on academics. This is a critical lesson I felt was my duty to pass on to any person working towards becoming an educator.

What unique skills do you think you bring to your work with TELLAL?

I love working with TELLAL as they embrace the future fluent school that I have been a member of for the past 10 years. I feel like my journey as an educator (17 years this fall) allows me to bring a comprehensive insight to teacher training and what needs to be done in order for graduate trainees to meet their full potential.

You are originally from Lebanon and Canada, what would you say is the biggest difference between the education industry here in Dubai versus there?

The education industry in Dubai is amongst the most progressive in the world. The fast-paced and rigorous atmosphere allows teachers and students to engage in learning at the highest level. In Dubai, the technological advances that exist in the classroom have yet to be matched by both Lebanon and Canada. Students as young as 4 are learning to code and program robots.

Tell us a little bit about your career history?

I started off as a teacher assistant at the American Community School at Beirut before becoming the 2nd Grade Homeroom Teacher.  After two years I decided to move to Dubai and I joined The International School of Arts and Sciences in Al Warqaa.  There, I was teaching while also taking on the role of coordinator in the Elementary Division.  After two years there, I began working at Dubai American Academy as a homeroom teacher in 1st Grade. As I have been at DAA for 10 years now, I have been blessed enough to teach grade 1, 3 and 5.

What got you into education?

I actually started my university career as an Economics major. I happened to take an extra course in the education department which I really enjoyed and did well in. After that experience, I started to think about who I was as a person and what connections I really had to the field of economics. I realised quickly that I loved working with children, and the rest is history!

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

One of the biggest challenges I have faced as an educator has been learning how to let go of students when the end of the school year rolls around. I don’t think people not in the field of education know how difficult it is to say goodbye to students you have spent a whole year with.  To help, I try to focus on the bright side and feel happy that I have set them up for success and that they will go on to do well.

Is there a stand out moment of your career that has made you particularly proud?

As a teacher watching your students grow is likely to produce quite a few moments that will make you feel proud, but sometimes you experience a moment that totally surprises you.  Recently I learned that one of my students, who has a medical condition that requires daily care, had been given permission to join us on our annual 5th Grade camping trip; which they had not been able to do in the past.  When I told the parents how happy I was they would be attending, they said that they had only approved it because they felt so confident in my abilities as a chaperon and that their child would be taken care of. Not only was this a huge compliment, but it underscores my belief that positive education influences don’t just come from the curriculum. 

What do you love most about teaching?

It would have to be reading the kind words my students have put on cards they have been working on so diligently in their free time. Kids are the most honest people on the planet and their words are priceless.

What do you love about your work with TELLAL?

I have very much enjoyed the challenge of being a mentor and having the opportunity to help others realise their dreams of becoming a teacher.   

What has your experience of working with TELLAL been like?

Working with TELLAL has been wonderful so far. The professors are super supportive and thankful, and truly make me feel good about the work I am doing with the GTs.

Lastly, if you weren’t in education, what other career path would you have taken?

As I am super organized I could have gotten into event planning. I also like to cook, so maybe even working as a chef! 🙂

To apply for our Teach Best Programme and to be included in one of our last interview sessions for the September 2019 Cohort, you can apply online here.   If you have any further questions, please get in touch via info@tellalinstitute.com.

Jyoti Cropley
Teacher Training Manager
Getting to know you: TELLAL Teach Best Mentor
As Teacher Training manager at TELLAL, Jyoti is engaged with the development of pre-service teachers and leads the International Professional Certificate in Professional Practice for in-service teachers across the GEMS Network.
Getting to know you: TELLAL Teach Best Mentor
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