Greenfield Community School 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! We would like to thank Sonnette de Lange for her creative teaching and her obvious passion for her students.
Sonnette de Lange- Grade 4 Teacher
Where are you from?
Cape Town, South Africa.
What brought you to Dubai?
My husband. He was in the restaurant industry and we arrived here in 2005 where I worked at another school which is now closed. Farin, Lubna and I all worked at the same school and Farin told Lubna and I to apply to GCS. So that’s how I got here. And you know the whole history of us working in the hotel until our school building was open. Fun days those were. I think I had maybe 15-16 students.
Where did you work before?
Before Dubai, I was at a coastal school called Geoffrey’s Bay in South Africa. That’s where I met my husband and then we moved here.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
I love kids, they are my passion. I like learning what makes them tick and what their passions are. I take the holistic approach. To find out what their passions are and help them reach their full potential but not just academically as a whole. I love communicating with the parents and getting to know the parents. What makes a difference here in Dubai is all the different nationalities and yet we are still one family. There’s nowhere else in the world where you find such a diverse group of people. I’ve made some real quality friendships with the parents and with the teachers, of course! Some the students I started off with still stay in contact with me. They let me know where they are in the world, be it Australia, India, etc.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
Yes, well no! I’m lying. I am born to be a teacher. But I studied in remedial teaching which in south Africa is like special needs (for example dyslexia or learning difficulties) and I wanted to become an occupational therapist but I ended up here being a homeroom teacher which I love but when I go back to South Africa I want to open up my own clinic.
What is the best thing about working at GCS?
Starting off, we had a core group of teachers and parents that are still here today and having such diversity in my classroom. I have 23 different nationalities in my classroom, no two children come from the same place. The IB curriculum really helps them get along. They don’t speak the same language but because of the IB they learn how to work together, to buddy up, and to communicate. Even though my job is stressful at times I still have a feeling of family at work.
What is the worst thing about working here?
Being far from family. I think that’s the hardest. Missing out on birthdays, weddings, etc.
Being a teacher can be stressful, how do you recharge?
I love my spin classes and I do a bit of Pilates and I hang out with my friends. I love the beach, love the ocean.
What do you look forward to doing during your breaks?
I travel during school holidays. Usually Europe and then I go home to South Africa where I travel around there and up into Africa. But for the long holidays I tend to go home and travel around South Africa.
What IB learner profile trait do you most identify with?
Creativity! Well, creativity is actually an IB attribute, for the traits I would say Open Minded. And probably balanced. Those two. Being balanced, that’s where my stress comes in because I want to look after myself both mentally and physically and it is hard when you work. Okay, we can say I try to be balanced!
Throughout your teaching career is there a student that stands out in your mind?
Sarah, she is now in grade 6 at GCS. She reminds me so much of myself. We have just connected from the beginning. She will still come to my classroom all the time and ask me questions. She is also left handed like I am and maybe also very creative like I am. She always makes me laugh.
What is one thing you want all of your students to learn?
A positive self-image. To believe in themselves. To be uniquely who they are created to be, not to try and be someone they are not.
Contributed by: Jewelia Dakin