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 Lubna Khawaji for her dedication not just to our school but to her students who she continues inspire every day.
Lubna Khawaji – Grade 5 Teacher
Where are you from?
I’m from the Manchester in the UK. But was born in Kenya and moved to the UK when I was eight years old, so the UK is home to me. I have been in Dubai 16 years now.
What brought you to Dubai?
I followed my husband here because he is an aircraft structures engineer for Emirates so I’ve gotten to travel all over the world.
What’s your background?
When I was back in the UK I started teaching and I’ve taught all over the world. In Brunei I was a principal and was also a vice principal in a British curriculum school here in Dubai. Because I’ve had all these experience I can really appreciate where I am now and for the moment I’m happy to stay as a homeroom teacher! It was here in Dubai at the American Scientific School when I met Farin Padamsey and Sonnette de Lange. Farin told us that this school was opening and we applied and here we are 10 years later!
What was your first year at GCS like?
Amazing. Incredibly amazing, because IB (International Baccalaureate curriculum) was a whole new concept that we had never heard of and never taught. It was just something that we had to embrace whole heartedly in order to understand. I would never, ever go back and teach another curriculum ever again. I’ve taught a lot of different types of curriculum in my life but I’m never going back to them. My grand-kids will go to IB schools. My kids complain why didn’t you send us to an IB school? The answer is very simple, because I didn’t know about the IB back then! As you can tell, I’m very passionate about IB.
How many children do you have?
I’ve got two boys and a beautiful daughter-in-law and an adoringly cheeky grandson who is turning one soon.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love travelling, exploring new destinations, and meeting people from different cultures. I’m very passionate about education. I love seeing little minds grow. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I complain every year about marking and paperwork but I can never give up teaching! It’s my passion. I love to see kids develop a hunger for knowledge. After I retire I want to work with refugee children. A lot of those children have been out school for a while and I’d like to help them. Also, I’m an avid supporter of Manchester!
What misconceptions exist about the IB Curriculum?
That we don’t really test. That they don’t have set books and that there’s no curriculum, but there is! We’ve got a scope and sequence that we follow and we align everything with it. We have continuums through the grades. We don’t believe that there is one assessment that shows us how the child is doing, instead there are a lot of ongoing assessments that we continually do. In the beginning we had a lot of parents that didn’t understand what we were doing, but for the past 7-8 years, parents understand better what an IB curriculum truly looks like so that doesn’t happen anymore.
What are some of your favorite GCS memories?
There are so many. Especially the team coming together, rallying together whenever someone needed it. The bond is very unique that we have with the ones who first started with the school. Sitting together at the end of the day and sharing what went on during the day, that bond was just unbelievable. We are still in contact after all these years.
Best and worst thing about working at GCS?
The best thing is that it’s a unique school and the kids are really happy here. Worst thing about the school is the pressure from inspections, which is something that happens across Dubai. I wish they would just drop by unannounced so they can see who we really are without any pretence. They will see the real essence of the school and our passion for teaching will be rekindled.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
My mom is a teacher but she never influenced me by telling me I need to be a teacher. I think it happened once during summer holidays. My mom took me to school and a teacher needed some help reading to kids so she asked me to help. That’s when I realized I’d like to do this for a living. There are lots and lots of teachers in our family now. We have a lot of family members living overseas so it’s nice to all go home during the holidays and discuss our experiences. The rest of our family knows when we start talking about teaching, we get in the zone and forget everything else. So it’s really nice to be able to share that with my family.
Contributed by: Jewelia Dakin