The Principals’ reading list

Looking for some literary inspiration? We asked some of our principals what books they’d recommend. Teresa Varman, Principal/CEO, GEMS Millennium School – SharjahRecommended book: The Power of Moments (Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact) by Chip and Dan Heath “I enjoy the Heath brothers’ writing style. I like the way they weave stories in and out of what they are trying to communicate. One of these stories, ‘Made to Stick’ which focused on why some ideas stick while most are quickly forgotten, was particularly brilliant and engaging. The focus is on the power of ‘moments’ (read: experiences) to raise one’s brand…

GEMS staff get 10% staff discount on professional courses at British University in Dubai

GEMS Staff and their families can now get a 10% discount on selected professional courses at the British University in Dubai.The university, based in Academic City, offers a vast range of courses and qualifications from risk management to Certified Design and writing reports.The exclusive offer gives GEMS staff and families discount on 30 courses, with 15% off the Digital Marketing training, and 10% off all other courses. Full list of courses on offer to GEMS staff and families at BUiD Certified Water Efficiency Professional (CWEP) Construction Law and Arbitration – CLDR Certified Innovation Professional – CInP Certified Design Thinking Professional Certified Innovation Strategist – CInS Certified Chief…

KGS teacher Nisha Mohsin tops UAE CENTA scores

The Kindergarten Starters School has topped the scoreboard for UAE schools participating in the Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) Teaching Professional’s Olympiad (TPO) as one of only 10 schools worldwide to register seven finalists.  CENTA’s teaching practice competition attracted around 25,000 individual entrants from all over the world, of which 500 were shortlisted as finalists on March 5, 2021. The organisation aims to elevate the teaching profession by assessing and certifying competencies, connecting teachers to great opportunities and supporting their professional development. Sixty-six teachers from KGS participated in the competition, and Nisha Mohsin, a Middle School English teacher at KGS,…

How to… adapt year end assessments for distance learning

Educators were asked to completely change their practices during the COVID-19 distance learning period last academic year. Justin Kirby, Curriculum Coordinator at GEMS American Academy – Abu Dhabi (GAA) outlines how the high school teachers at GAA took on the challenge of adapting year-end exams to fit a distance learning model. We have all faced something unique and challenging over the course of the last academic year. We all rose to the occasion and as educators, became recognized for the outstanding ability we have to be flexible, committed and undaunted. In light of this, I want to reflect on something…

Top tips to start writing your novel

By Abimbola Gbemi Alao The phrase, ‘Everyone has a story to tell’ sounds like a cliché, but those words are valid! Why are humans addicted to stories? It is because we are ‘wired’ for creating narratives. We understand our world and individual lives through storytelling. Everyone is a storyteller, and we ‘tell’ 24/7. You are either listening to a story or telling one every moment of the day. Even when asleep, you are either an active participant or a passive observer of tales in your dream. At some point, some of these story ideas may grab you, and they may…

4 GEMS teachers reflect on their ‘sheroes’

Matt James, Assistant Principal Secondary, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis In 2011, my sister’s first born son, Archie, was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I’ve always seen my sister as my little sister. She was the little girl who I would avoid in school, the girl who would invite friends over to the house and annoy me with their music, the one who would tell our mother when I had done something wrong. I have always loved my sister but it wasn’t until 2011 that I realised how much I admired her. I didn’t see a little girl anymore.…

Safeguarding & Inclusion Seminars begin

Starting Tuesday 9 March, GEMS is inviting all staff to attend a series of nine exclusive seminars covering a range of safeguarding and inclusion topics that impact all our professional lives. From understanding inclusion and special education needs in the UAE, to recognising self-harm and exploring the impact of Wadeema’s Law, this series has been carefully curated by Emily Ellington, Head of Inclusion, and Sara Hedger, Vice President of Safeguarding and Child Protection, to give GEMS staff direct access to some of the top regional and international experts in this field. The series kicks off on Tuesday at 4pm with…

How every student can be a high-performance learner

Gemma Thornley, Secondary Principal, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, shares how introducing a high performance mindset and framework at school can radically transform learning outcomes. We know that children inhabit two different worlds – one in school and the other at home. It is vital that schools and parents work closely together to connect these two worlds and help students transfer the skills learnt in one to the other. That’s because children thrive when they have ownership of their learning in all contexts of their life, be it in the classroom, on the sports field or on stage. If…

Look who’s answering now

Created by Romulus Miclat in 1997, name one of the most lovable mascots found in the UAE.      What connects Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Deepak Chopra, Michael Crichton and Mahathir Mohamad? What common factor links Cliff Richard, Vivian Leigh and Rudyard Kipling? Who am I? Identify the personality through this set of clues:Candy, Sugar, Spick and Span among many others have been the centre of royal attentionA rare opportunity to be served by 14 and to serve millionsUniquely, no need for a driver’s licence. Moreover, no sense of uneasiness for the wearer of this crown Who am I? Identify the personality through…

Top 10 must-read books as recommended by GEMS alumni

March is the UAE’s ‘Month of Reading’ – and we’re excited! Reading is without doubt one of life’s great pleasures. Turning the pages on beautiful words that transport you to wherever your mind’s eye takes you. This month in GEMS in 10 we’re sharing some recommended reading from across the GEMS community.  Ten of our alumni have shared what’s on their reading lists, and we’re sure you’ll agree that they include some life-affirming texts for GEMS staff to read. If you have a book that you’d like to put forward during Reading Month, or if you’ve perhaps even penned your…

Vaccine drive update: Eight schools reach 100% first dose vaccination

The drive to ensure as many eligible employees are vaccinated continues apace and there are now eight schools that have successfully had their eligible staff vaccinated with the first dose of the Coronavirus jab. The focus continues to be to keep all of our schools, and the wider school community, as safe as possible. Figures are positive that GEMS is on its way to being fully vaccinated. So far, 80% of eligible employees have received the first dose 55% of eligible employees have received a second dose The eight schools that have achieved 100% of eligible staff vaccinated with the…

Revealed! Battle of the Waistbands winner

In the very first edition on GEMS in 10 we shared with you the news of a fun challenge between a parent and principal. Matt Tompkins, Principal GEMS First Point – The Villa, and parent Bader Obeidat dared to see who could be the biggest loser and trim the most weight following the festive season’s excesses. After four weeks of sweat, scales, and squats the results are in. We can confirm that Bader Obeidat is the winner! Just pipping Matt to the post, by shedding an impressive 9% body weight, to Matt’s 6.2% Bader, who credits his weight-loss success to…

Vaccination drive update: Is your school on the vaccination leader board?

The drive to vaccinate as many eligible employees as possible continues apace with more staff taking advantage of the free vaccines on offer. At the time of writing over 60 per cent of staff that can take a vaccine, have done so, and nine schools have 90 per cent of their staff vaccinated. Paul Slater, Vice President – Operations and Health, Safety and Environment, said: “These are fantastic achievements, in very challenging conditions. I would like to thank everyone for their efforts so far, we must continue to aim to vaccinate our remaining eligible employees, as soon as possible.” The…

How to … give applause-worthy presentations

Are your presentations a vision of PowerPoint perfection or are they snooze-inducing slides with dense text and dull images? Teachers have had to up their presentation game since remote learning became more prominent, and keeping kids fully engaged is a challenge. Jodie Quirke, Acting and Production Arts Programme Manager at GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, draws on her performing arts background to share tips on delivering great presentations. Slick, simple slides When you’re giving presentations you have the double concern of your slides and what you’re going to say, but if your slides are text-heavy, your audience will spend…

Coming full circle: Meet some of GEMS’ “boomerang alumni”

Have you ever thought that you could be teaching the next principal of your school or the next GEMS Education leader? These three GEMSters all went to GEMS schools as students, and are now staff members. Read more as these three ‘Boomerangers’ share their unique perspectives on coming back to where it all began. Betty Anthony has got Our Own schools in her blood. Following the footsteps of her mother who taught at Our Own Dubai for 33 years, Betty graduated from Our Own Girls – Dubai in 1992 and boomeranged back to GEMS Our Own High School – Al…