Teacher of the Week: Divya Anilkrishnan, The Winchester School, Jebel AliSeptember 17, 2017, 5:35 am GMT
THE WINCHESTER SCHOOL, JEBEL ALI
Why and how did you get into teaching?
Teaching is my passion and I understood this when, as a secondary student, I used to teach younger students in my village, which gave me an opportunity to share what I knew and it was really exciting to research and learn more. Also, my teacher was a real inspiration and a great mentor. His patient and friendly attitude towards children, his simple way of teaching inspired me a lot to become a teacher. He always took the time to offer extra help and was always an unbiased teacher. He was a real role model and I always wanted to be a teacher like him. My teachers fostered within me a desire to learn, challenge myself and explore. I wanted to share that same experience with others.
How long have you been teaching for? How long have you been in the Middle East?
I have been teaching for the past 11 years – of which I've spent seven and a half years in Dubai at the Winchester School, Jebel Ali, and more than three years in at a CBSE school in India. I believe these experiences have given me unique insight, understanding and knowledge of teaching and learning.
What is exciting about your role?
Being with the students itself is really exciting. It is really thrilling to create a huge impact on them, making a massive difference in the lives of young people, enriching the students' lives by acting as their role models, providing knowledge and caring them by forming personal connections with them beyond the lessons that I teach in the classrooms. Apart from that I am constantly learning new skills and new strategies that will make the learning environment more interesting.
What is challenging about your role?
While teaching is a rewarding job it is also very demanding. The lessons need to be powerful and engaging as in this technology driven era, attention spans tend to wane much quicker. True learning is all about student engagement. Considering the sheer number of students, various needs, management and discipline concerns and the complexity of planning, this is beyond challenging as an educator. Nevertheless, I do rise to the challenge in order to provide the students with what they need.
What's the biggest myth about teaching?
That teachers work from 8am to 2pm. The fact that people believe that teachers only work till 2pm is laughable. Most teachers arrive early, stay late, and often spend a few hours on the weekend working in their classrooms. Throughout the school year, they also sacrifice time at home for activities such as grading papers and preparing for the next day. They are always on the job.
People also think that teachers have the entire summer off work, but we utilize the summer to plan for the next year, read up on the latest educational literature, and pour through new curriculum that we will be teaching when the new academic year begins. Most teachers also start showing up weeks in advance of the required reporting time to start preparing for the next new academic year. We may be away from their students, but much of the summer is dedicated to improving in the next year.
Who has been your inspiration throughout your career? Why?
There are many people who have inspired me, such as my parents, my teachers, my husband, my sister, and my colleques. I always try to copy the good things in them into my lifestyle so that I may also inspire someone through my achievements.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement over the course of your career?
The awards, accolades and appreciation received, including being shortlisted for the Education Journal Middle East Award for Maths Teacher of the Year. I was also chosen as a MIE expert (Microsoft Innovative Expert) for 2017-18.
I feel my greatest success in teaching is my own growth as a teacher. It is because of each and every student I've taught in my 11 years of my teaching career. Over the course of my career, my students have challenged me to know my subject matter like the back of my hand. Also, the discovery of the different learner styles has humbled me to understand my own learner style and to always teach the student as they need to be taught. I'm always striving to do better than the day before and learning should never end; that is what makes this journey so exciting. There is always something new to experience. I feel like as a professional I am always learning, trying to better myself and ultimately improving the classroom learning environment for my students. Many times I have recognized the importance of the relationships that I have developed with my students that result in positive academic outcomes.
How do you get students interested in the subject you teach – have you found an innovative way to engage students?
I find the best way to engage students is through innovative and engaging lessons. They learn more through the VAK (Visual, Audio and Kinesthetic) style of learning. I try creating engaging lessons, through interactive games, use of technology, connecting to real life and a range of pedagogies.
I believe when the lessons flip from teacher-led to student-led learning, coaching and mentoring will be identified as a technique where a teacher stays only as a facilitator and students become more proactive and independent learners in the learning process. In my lessons I prefer to remain as teacher who plays the role of facilitator and student led lessons to ensure their development, learning and enhanced performance at all levels.
From my personal experience and from the data collected from observations of whole-class lessons, alongside individual interviews and focus group discussions with class teachers and students, has provided opportunities to consider the potential of using various technologies to facilitate a more creative approach to whole-class teaching in all subjects especially the core subjects like Maths, English and Science.
Are there any specific goals you would like to achieve in your career?
I aspire to move into leadership positions particularly in the field of teaching and learning. I aspire to educate, to inspire, to learn and to affect positive change. I consider myself to be a highly motivated person, who will continually look for ways to increase my learning through reflective practice.
echo $body; ?>January 14, 2018, 12:16 pm
"GEMS to open international school in Sharjah community
echo $body; ?>December 18, 2017, 7:29 am
"GEMS Education pilots drones programme within school network
echo $body; ?>December 17, 2017, 7:22 am
"GEMS students form world’s largest human waving flag to set Guinness World Record
echo $body; ?>November 28, 2017, 11:03 am
"GEMS Education offers personalised learning driven by artificial intelligence
echo $body; ?>November 22, 2017, 1:50 pm