We wouldn’t be the school we are today without the hard work and dedication of our staff. In celebration of our 10th anniversary we will be sitting down with staff members who have been with us for the past 10 years! Thank you Ayham Bahsas for all your hard work!
Ayham Bahsas – Secondary Arabic Teacher
Where are you from?
I am half Syrian and half Lebanese.
You’ve been at GCS for 10 years, where did you work before?
Yes, that is correct, I worked in Choueifat School Dubai before coming here.
What brought you to GCS?
The school building didn’t exist yet so I interviewed with the principal in the Marriott Hotel. Our school was held in the Marriott Hotel until our actual school building was finished. I remember the principal at the time drove me to the current school location and pointed to sand and said the school will be here. This was in March and it just looked like sand, I said to her, “So when I come back in August for the school year there will be a school here?” She told me there would be and she was right! The school opened up that August.
What was GCS’s first year like?
We only had 63 students! And 23 of them were the teachers’ kids. The International Baccalaureate system was a totally new system to Dubai, there were only two other schools following this curriculum. So the first year or two was so hard, but it was also fun. Sometimes I would stay till 7 PM, go out to my car and see the car-park full. Everyone was working really hard to make the school a success. Now when I see my grade 11 students who were once my grade 1 students, the ones that I taught that first year, I think two things: First, I am so old! And second, I think how priceless and valuable it has been to have this experience teaching them for all these years.
What keeps you here?
There are three things that I love about our school. 1) GCS itself has a spirit that you don’t find anywhere else in Dubai. It is like a true community, everyone gets involved here. 2) I also like that it I am a part of Taaleem; you have the protection of a larger company and they treat everyone the same no matter what you teach. When I first started with Taaleem they were very open and honest with our salary for example. 3) Is the IB system. I came from the British curriculum and now that I’ve worked with IB I don’t want to work with any other curriculum.
Why’s that, what do you like about teaching IB?
IB gives teachers the opportunity to be creative, to help their kids and to give all kids no matter their ability the chance to achieve and succeed. It’s not so much about the ratio of teacher and kids it is more about how you and the students work together as a team to help them achieve their goals. So you never get bored in IB there is always something to learn and grow in!
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job?
Every few years the IB system changes and having to apply those changes is sometimes difficult, so that is a challenge. Also encouraging my students to speak in Arabic outside of the classroom can be difficult. For some of our kids, Arabic is their 4th or 5th language, to convince them to speak Arabic outside of the school, when they don’t need it to get by, is often hard.
Why do enjoy teaching Arabic?
I believe the Arabic language is so beautiful and creative. Teaching Arabic here in Dubai where most people speak English is very challenging but the Dubai government and KHDA is so supportive. They work so hard to spread Arabic. It is a totally new language for the vast majority of our students so it is a lot of fun to see them experiencing the language for the first time. That gives me a lot of happiness.
What’s one of your favorite memories?
I used to play basketball growing up until I got glasses and because we didn’t have contact lenses back then I had to quit. When I started with GCS I had the opportunity to coach the basketball team which was so much fun. I used to coach the GCS basketball team for U18/16 and we won the Taaleem tournament. It was great to build team spirit in the school with our basketball team. One of the things that makes our school really special is that there is no one main nationality that predominates. I know a lot of other schools, I visit them often, and the behavior of our students is something special. The way the students welcome new students and staff is really amazing. The welcoming nature of our students is something that will stay with me forever.
Contributed by: Jewelia Dakin