In the Teacher Spotlight, we sit down with a member of our academic team who helps impact our students’ lives on a daily basis. Today we chat with Mark Bishop.
Mark Bishop – PE Teacher and University Counselor
1. Where are you from?
I’m Welsh. I was born in Wales, I’m not English, I’m definitely Welsh!
2. How long have u been in Dubai?
Well, my family has been in Dubai for 26 years. My mom and dad live in Dubai and my sister has been here for 12 years. So my association with Dubai has been a long one. Me, my wife and our two kids moved here in 2010, my idea was I wanted my kids to grow up knowing their grandparents and cousins. We were looking for a long time before moving here because we were trying to find a school that suited everybody. I joined Greenfield Community School with the secondary school opening. I think I am one of the few teachers left who was appointed with the original secondary school opening.
3. Did you work in the UAE before?
No, we had many offers but it was finding what was right for us. So we waited till we found the right school. Back in those days GCS was more like a family than a school because it was so small. I remember having to move the tables and chairs into the secondary buildings over the holidays so it would be ready for the kids starting in September 2010.
4. What do you do at GCS?
I joined the school as head of PE. I then became director of sport (athletic director), and now I teach PE and university counselling and I’m looking to develop professionally beyond the classroom. I’m doing this thing where I’m trying to become workshop leader and part of the IB education network team where I would visit schools and help inspect them. I’ve been the head of sport for 20 years now I want to do something different to continue to grow professionally. In August I will visit Oman, with Andy (GCS Principal), for the IB Education Network Team training.
5. Did you always want to be a teacher?
I wanted to be a professional squash player. So I left school early to pursue that. But realized there was not enough funding available in squash to fund a family. Then I was a tennis coach, my life has always revolved around sport. My dad was a professional football referee so I was always in that environment, so whatever I was going to do was always going to be related to sport. I had already been coaching children by the point where I realized I couldn’t be a professional player, so at around 17-18 years old, I knew I was going to be a teacher.
6. What do you do for fun?
For fun and relaxation now, I play golf. My son wants to be a professional golfer. I enjoy watching him develop as a golfer, he is 13 years old now. We will spend the summer traveling so he gets the opportunity to play in tournaments. When I first came to Dubai I coached a boys football team, because my son played soccer then. It was very expensive when I first moved here to play on a league, like 5,000 AED. So I took 10 boys who were family and friends and joined a league and I coached them for 6-7 years and we came from the bottom to the top. So I did that free, no charge, it was just simply to coach kids football.
7. What is something few people know about you?
I used to love to act back when I was in school,. We did a production of ‘Oliver Twist’ and I was Oliver in the school production. I enjoy singing (which a lot of people already know because I will blast out in song to get the kids to move out of the locker rooms). But I don’t enjoy it in public, I don’t like having to see the audience. So if you ask me to go in front of an assembly I won’t enjoy it!
8. What advice do you have for new teachers?
I think for me, one of the things I always talk about is the students. They always amaze me. Whenever you are either down or not having the best day, the students always seem to pick you up. The life lessons the students teach us always amaze me. We can learn a lot of from them. My advice to new teachers is to get to know your students first because you don’t know why that child is acting like that or behaving like that until you get to know your children. Once you get to know your students you will achieve more. You will build trust. There is a genuine feeling here that the kids are good kids. If it’s not about the children why am I doing it? – This is my philosophy. This place is all about the kids and that’s why I’m still here.
Contributed by: Jewelia Dakin
Greenfield Community School