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International Teacher’s Day: Ask a teacher in Abu Dhabi


Yalla turns the tables on teachers and instead of them asking us all the questions, we pose our own instead. 

It’s International Teacher’s Day and during these trying times, Team Yalla thinks we need to show teachers everywhere our appreciation and support for all that extra input into all that changes that have taken place, and the sudden delivery of online lessons. We take our hats off to you all!

So, we’ve gone back to school (kind of) and put questions to some of Abu Dhabi’s finest educators.

First on the class register is Adam Gibson, Head of Prep School, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, and who has been teaching for 26 years,

Q. What would students be surprised to find out about you?

They might be surprised to find out that I represented Great Britain (GB) at the European Triathlon Championships. I have always loved playing and watching sport. Soon after our first child was born, I gave up team sports and took up triathlon, as I wanted to try something new and it was easier to train on my own schedule. As I trained harder and gained more experience, my results and my ranking improved. One thing led to another and in 2006 I was very fortunate to be selected to represent GB as an age group athlete in the European Triathlon Championships.

For more information about the school, visit Cranleigh


We head over to class in Yas to meet Loandri Blignaut, a seasoned teacher of 13 years who is a Grade 3 Classroom Teacher in the Elementary School at West Yas Academy.

Q. If you were to be given a superlative when you were in school, what would it have been?

Superlative: most diligent. As a student, I was never satisfied with simply completing my work; I had to go the extra mile! I was the student arriving early for class or staying late to complete extra work. I have a very creative flair so I would use this in my work always, by adding artwork to my homework or thinking “outside of the box”. I still have this trait and use it in my teaching every single day! My classroom is known for the amount of detail in the decoration and with the shift to online learning, this has transcended into my videos and PowerPoints for my students. As a student, I loved learning and as a teacher I want my students to feel the same way!

For more information, visit: West Yas Academy


In teacher’s good books is Peter Jones, a seasoned teacher of 14 years who teaches Biology to Years 10 – 13 at Brighton College Abu Dhabi.

Q. If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?

Success is not measured in the grades you achieve or the money you earn. Success, for me, is to achieve a sense of total engagement. Engagement in your studies, your family, your friends, your hobbies, and your passions. This engagement in yourself will lead to happiness and success that you may feel impossible.
Never limit yourself or listen to doubters. Take every opportunity that life offers as each one allows you to learn new skills and meet new friends that could stay with you for a lifetime. Surround yourself with positivity and be the best version of yourself.

For more information about the college, visit: Brighton College


Next, stand by our desks at The British International School (BIS) Abu Dhabi and listen to Benjamin Stanier’ who is the Head of Year 9 and a teacher of English.

Q. What accomplishment at school have filled you with pride so far this year?

Despite the fact that we have been working virtually, and therefore separately, for most of the year, the continued sense of community and collaborative nature of BIS Abu Dhabi has made me very proud. One example is the creation and completion of our very own novel. A number of Secondary students, and staff, worked together during our Virtual School Experience to produce the novel over the course of several weeks. Throughout the whole process, the way the students supported and inspired each other was very special to be a part of. Their unwavering enthusiasm and collaborative nature in completing the novel was definitely an accomplishment that filled me with pride and we hope to have it published for all to enjoy very soon.

For more information about the school, visit BIS Abu Dhabi

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