Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School Hunting In Dubai

I'd like to share my experience in finding school here in Dubai. Very tough and search is still going on.

We reached here in May , which means Registrations and Admissions in every school is closed. I knew what to expect as I knew how schools here work. Most of the schools' yearly session begins in the month of September. To be able to get the admission, you need to start making calls for registration a year before like in the month of October at least. If you want your child to be enrolled in the school for the September 2013 classes , you need to have him registered in October 2012. Registration dates vary from school to school so you need to be vigilant regarding this. You should always be aware of what is "going on" in schools.
Since I was too late already , I ended up calling just any school around our area and everyone told me no more seat available. I literally begged some schools as I didn't want to waste my child's year. I had no idea, that I will never get admission anywhere. I wanted a school not very far from where we live so preferred areas were Jebel Ali, The Gardens, Discovery Gardens, even till Al Barsha but all efforts in vain. Not a single seat anywhere.

 My daughter is supposed to be in FS2 , which means she is too old for a Nursery School but I convinced myself to put her in one just so she can experience a normal routine of going to school, have friends, socialize and learn at the same time. So I started my search for a good decent Nursery around. There were couple of Nurseries like Chubby Cheeks Nursery, Bubbles & Giggles , Jebel Ali Village Nursery.  Okay first and foremost the nurseries are very costly. Okay now if they are charging so, I asked what are they going to teach the children. What curriculum is to be followed, what will kids learn after coming out of the Nursery. They had vague replies. None of them satisfied me. Just by speaking to them I came to know that Nurseries here are basically Day cares. Kids will go there, play till they want, eat, drink, sleep and sing. They might be taught the abs's and 123's but that's it. There is really no serious teaching and learning. So why pay that much then? I dropped this idea as I can teach better. Why throw away money for something I don't even want.

So now, I am my daughter's teacher preparing her for Grade 1. I had her registered in GEMS Winchester for the year 2014. I paid registration fee of AED500 . So one whole year ahead of us. There are couple of schools more in my mind where I plan to register too as registration doesn't mean you got the seat, it means you are in the waiting list. So I can't take any risk and should be in waiting list of more schools hoping to get a call form any one with the good news that we can enroll our daughter now.  But my search is still on, keep making calls hoping someone to withdraw and the seat be given to my child. 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Should Teachers in Karachi Wear Uniforms?


My vote is "YES"
I personally think that schools' administration should start thinking about the idea of setting a particular dress code or uniforms for their staff.  There is this daily issue of what a particular teacher might be wearing today or whatsoever, so to avoid such puzzles, why not set a really nice and decent uniform for them?
While some teachers come to school in a presentable dress, some really disappoints you. But we cannot blame them for that too. What if that's what they can afford only or they really have this weird choice.
Once they come in uniforms, not only will it add to the standard of your school, they will look very decent and professional at the same time. Three sets of uniform for the whole year is not a bad idea at all.
Some teachers may find it expensive and extra expenses but it is all justified by the fact that now they will be able to save from making new dresses once in a while and instead spend just once on these.
Another important thing that just be part of the rule is Teachers' Hygiene which is very important not just for the school environment but for students too. Remember , children learn from what they see more than what they hear. They should take shower daily and come to school smelling fresh. They might not be able to retain their freshness till off timings, so a solution for this is they use deodorant. They can easily buy one from Rs.95 and above depends on the brand, this should be a burden for them. Rs. 95 or even 150 every month shouldn't be a burden. But if the school administration is rich and has a big heart, why not gift your teachers one if not every month every three months ? :D
Picture taken from http://www.graphicsfactory.com
This post is related to my previous post "Should Teachers Dress Up" and I'm kind of giving a suggestion to solve the issue discussed earlier which is neglected by most schools. I hope somebody authorized reads this and would make a difference.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Should Teachers Dress Up?


Well YES! Teachers in most of other countries wear uniform and look really good and decent in that. But in Pakistan, uniform is not introduced in schools yet for teachers, well not that I heard of.
We are individuals and have our own taste in every matter including dressing up. Not everyone looks as pleasing as you might expect because you might not like her choice of dress. But, hygiene and neatness is something that is common and should be common to each of one whether you're a Pakistani or American.
In school, one get to see teachers cat walking around the school ,showing off their style and fashion which I,as a Head love to see because I like teachers to look their best all the time.
Here's the actual situations in most of the schools. In normal days, like during regular classes, teachers do not pay too much attention on what they wear and end up looking like a great disappointment. The young teachers , the ones below 30 try their best to look good which is appreciable. Though some of them over do it by wearing really large accessories. The "little bit older" teachers, the married ones you can say, come to school in their house dress, very lousy looking and stinks a lot as if they have changed their babies' diapers but not their clothes.
Coming to school in a bad condition shows how disorganized, un-interested and unhappy you are. When you are in school, you are a different person and should leave behind all your worries at home because you are going to deal with different people specially your students. Before anything else, you are the first your students are going to interact first, so the more pleasant you look,the more happy the day will be for your students as well as for you. Kids idolize their teachers,  they look up to you as someone they would want to become when they grow up specially the girls. Show them how you would want to see them and how you would want to be seen. Think about this deeply.
So prepare your clean clothes the day before going to school so you get enough time to choose for the best, doing this in the morning the same day you got to school, will make you choose hurriedly and you'd end up picking a "not-so-good"  dress or a dress you've been wearing for the last 4 days. You don't want that , do you?
Iron your clothes neatly and shower daily to avoid unwanted and unbearable odor.  Please take care of how you smell too, I get a really bad headache whenever a staff member enters my office spreading a really unpleasant smell around the place and you don't want to leave such an impression to anyone. Buy yourself a good deodorant , a nice body powder or perfume/body spray. Your kids will love you for this as well as colleagues.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Healthy Snacks For School


Since our kids are about to be going back to school soon, it is very important to plan what we should put in their lunch box.
As a teacher, what I observed was, three out  of ten students brought along with them junk food which was so disappointing. I always wanted to raise this issue but was never supported by my heads.
Through this blog , I will definitely make my voice heard ,well to some extent.
Eating healthy food is always recommended even for adults. But for age group 0 to 6 years  it is very important to give kids of this age only healthy food as their body and bones are still growing and very soft that they can absorb anything you give.  And of course that's when you teach them what to eat and what not and it's up to them till when they continue this habit. This is the period where you build a proper eating pattern with regards to timings and menu.
Now regarding snacks/lunch for school, some parents tend to be lazy in preparing home-made food for their kids for several reasons and for some parents, they think that sending junk food with their kids might make them happy when they open their lunch boxes just to find their favorite eatables. No one can deny the fact that kids love junk food or let's say any food that is not prepared in their own homes.
Some of the junk food found in kids' lunch box:
1. Candies
2. Chips
3. Chewing gum- the most dangerous , I think it shouldn't be given to kids at all!
4.  Lollipop
5. Chocolates
Some Healthy Food that you can give :
1. Sandwich - Make a quick spread of boiled eggs and mayonnaise
2. Instant Noodles - I suggest boiled in a chicken stock
3. Mashed potatoes or potato balls
4. Sliced cucumber, carrots or any fruit. Kids love this a lot. My kids love eating fresh veggies and fruits.
5. Roasted green peas-roast or fry green peas in butter for 7 minutes, mu=y kids can eat this for hours.
6. French fries - Personally I think French Fries prepared at home isn't junk at all.
And many more.
The above are some quick-lunch that you can make and send along with any juice. Prepare what you can at night so there won't be any excuse the next day like getting late, busy attending other members of the family because this way, your kid gets neglected.
Set your priorities and this one is one of them.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to School 2012


This time Summer vacations was changed and instead of June/July it was moved to July/August due to Ramadan in the month of August.
Now as Eid is just around the corner, holidays are about to come to an end too and parents' nightmares start again specially parents of pre-schoolers as kids will start crying all over again like they did the first day.
I will not be giving any advise  on what parents should do that their kids don't cry because this is a very normal routine and parents should not worry about it . Handle the situation like the way you did on your child's first day of school.
Image from Clipartof.com
What you can do as of now is, start talking to your child about school and their teacher. Tell them that their teacher is waiting to give them starts.

Take them with you when shopping for their school items like bags, pencils, scales, eraser etc.

Ask them to prepare their bags themselves , with you guiding them.

Check their homework and revise.

Ask them to check whether their uniform is still in best condition and make them polish their shoes.

The above are simple things you can do with your child that will strengthen your bond and at the same time boost up their excitement to be back to school.

Do share some of your tips too. Remember , send your child to school a smile. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Checking of Notebooks/Copies- A Problem for Teachers


As a child, I always saw my teacher as a celebrity who wears good clothes, nice shoes, carry a good handbag, who can sing very well as she teaches us how to sing the nursery rhymes , gives us work to do and checks them. Checking was the best part of being a teacher, I thought so. I just loved the idea of being able to mark a tick with a red pen.
But only after I became a teacher myself did I realize , checking copies is no game for kids and in fact the most difficult task for a teacher. Being in this profession, you get to do a lot of checking whether as a teacher or Head. As a Head the main problem with teachers as per my observation is very late checking of notebooks. For me it's a blunder not just by a teacher but from the school too. As a teacher , I had no one to guide me on how to solve this problem but now, I would like to take this opportunity to share what I learnt and discovered to be the best technique in keeping track of your checking.
How to be on time in  checking students' work
After giving the students their work, keep moving around the class and watch out for the student who finishes her/his work first and check it immediately. Continue this till the last copy but don't worry if you are left with few copies to be checked after the period is over because it's normal. You must be wondering how you will be able to check the copies so quickly as it would need a thorough concentration. So there's also a solution to that. When you are on round, don't move blankly but instead keep an eye on what the student's are writing and catch their mistakes and make them correct it there and then. In that way you will only just need to put a "tick" on it.
Another important point is, do not waste your time in chatting while in the staff room and make checking of copies a priority. Once done, you can chat as much as you can. ;)
Voila!! Problem solved.
The above is what I think is the biggest problem but I'll be coming back with other problem that teachers face while working.
Do let me know if you have any problem that you face in the classroom and are seeking for solution.

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Preparation For Class 1 Admission Tests (A Private Teacher)


As I promised to all parents , this post is about the lady who can prepare children for Class 1 admission tests for different schools such as BVS, Mama Parsi, Convent Schools, Beaconhouse etc etc.
First of all a little bit of background. Mrs. Ayesha Naveed was my colleague when I was with White House Grammar school.  Very hardworking and dedicated to her work. Was never hesitant to ask questions and kept learning more and more. Until now she's been in touch with me with queries related to teaching and I highly appreciate that as it makes me feel good seeing dedicated and serious teachers around.
She is no longer with  White house Grammar School and nowadays have started taking students at home to prepare them for admissions in "big" schools. Upon knowing this ,I decided to let parents know about this and check for yourself if you feel comfortable with this set up.
Mrs. Ayesha has a proper syllabus with her that she follows to prepare kids for the tests. Besides this, she uses books from U.S as a teaching aid. She takes up maximum of 5 students at a time for preparation so she can give them quality time and good attention.
I may not be able to do justice to her performance as a private tutor here in my post but I suggest you contact or visit her for your own satisfaction.
I would like to advise parents to relax and take it easy while searching for schools for your child as you may end up choosing the wrong school because of that. I understand the pressure you are in as I went through that but always have patience.
Don't end up like this in search of school :D
For those interested in contacting her may contact me on my page.
Hope I helped. :)
PLEASE NOTE THAT INFORMATION GIVEN IN MY POSTS REGARDING SCHOOLS OR INDIVIDUALS IS SOLELY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND BASED ON MY OBSERVATION AND RESEARCH. I DO NOT TAKE OR ACCEPT ANY KIND OF PAYMENT FOR ANY OF MY POST IN MY BLOGS.

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My Daughter's First Day Of School :)


For those who experienced sending their child for the first time to school, will definitely understand how I feel.
After hunting for schools/Nurseries to put my daughter in, after coming to Dubai, finally I found one that suits us and her of course while waiting for the September admissions for FS1.
Today was her first day in school. And I felt like it was mine, I was so nervous and hardly could sleep the previous night. Walking here and there ironing her uniform, preparing her bag with an extra dress to take to school, kept her lunch box ready, kept socks and shoes  in front just to be sure nothing would make her late for school the next morning. With all things ready, I went to bed having cold feet.
I hate waking up early in the morning but today, her first day of school, I woke up at 7:00a.m though the schools bus was not to come till 8:35 a.m.
Now , came the time when I had to take her down 5 minutes before the arrival of school bus to pick her up. But I didn't feel like taking her,though I wanted to,but I felt like she was going to cry and not get into the bus if I was there standing waving goodbye. So I sent my mother in law instead and just watched her from our balcony. There went my little girl, suddenly all grown up to be going to school.
All the while , the only thought I had in mind was , she might be crying now and at any moment I'll receive a call from the school telling me she is crying her throat out. But didn't happen and instead I called and was informed that she was having fun. After hanging up, I decided to go and pick her myself one hour earlier as by now she might be crying a lot. But got so busy with house chores that I didn't notice the time. it was already 11:45. 15 minutes and it will be her off, so I  just called to ask for the expected arrival of school bus to drop her. After informing me, the receptionist herself informed me, that my daughter did well today, didn't cry at all, had fun and enjoyed. Oh what a relief!! Alhamdulillah!
Feeling as if I passed the board exams, happily I went downstairs to wait for my lovely girl. There she arrived, and wasn't at all happy to see me. It means , she didn't want to leave school. :) I know it's every parent's dream to not to have their kids crying in school.
Here is a piece of  advice which i think was useful in this whole scenario of not crying. I always did a role play with her, where she was a student and me, her teacher. She use to wake up in the morning, have breakfast, get dressed up, and we start our role- playing. I used to give her worksheets, coloring books  and many activities to be done.
From time to time, I keep telling her about schools, teachers and the other kids at school that will be her friends, in this way she is mentally prepared then for what she is going to have when she starts school. I talked a lot about school that recently she was the one asking me when would I be sending her .
Just a bit of experience I wanted to share to all of you.
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Worksheets


All new parents wonder what to teach their kids at home. Whether  to teach or not, is a big question. The answer to this question in my opinion is, yes! Parents should keep on teaching their child at home and not depend totally on schools.
When your child is still a baby, start reading books to him, start telling him the names of things around him. Though the baby may seem not to understand, but somehow, they catch those words and eventually start to understand. There is no fixed time as to when to start teaching your child. While still young , give them awareness about everything that you see.
I would like to share with all of you what activities I did with my daughter as now, I see a tremendous result of that. I will take it step by step. In this post, I will be showing you the worksheets I made myself which you can easily make too for your child. Soon I'll be giving you the link of a printable worksheet as right now I still haven't figured out how to do that. For those who are interested can give their email id on my facebook or over here on the comment portion and I'll send the worksheets to you so you can download or print directly. I will delete your email id's after doing so. If not suitable, you can either just copy and make a similar sheet as I did, it's very easy you will see.
I gave my daughter the first worksheet of her life at the age of 1.5. What I gave was simply a crayon and a blank paper. I just let her scribble on it. Make sure to make your child sit in a proper place so eventually he/she would know that this is his/her study place.
The above worksheet isn't the actual one and I just tried to make one with the help of MS Paint , just to give you an idea on how it would look.
After several scribbling work, start giving large objects for coloring. like balloon, leaf, circle, triangle. Make the object bigger for easy coloring. Don't give pictures such as scenery or fruits basket with fruits as it would just confuse them.  The worksheet here is of a balloon. I asked my daughter to color it red. While coloring I kept telling her short sentences about balloon, like , balloon flies up in the sky, balloon has different colors too, we see many balloons in a birthday party etc etc. In this way you can improve your child's conversation. Follow the same procedure when giving other objects too.
After several coloring and when you see your child is able to grip the pencil properly,then is the right time to give something for tracing. I have introduced phonics to my daughter from the age 1.5  and gave her tracing work at the age of 2 as she was a fast learner. Make this work interesting by encouraging your child to say "c"(kha) is round and round and stop! The word "stop" made my daughter smile every time she said it until now :) keep playing with words , you may never know which one will make your child happy and make learning fun and exciting. Give the same sound repeatedly with different objects. One "c" is candle ,so the second worksheet will have "cup", third will have "cake" and so on.
Example of number worksheet
1"one" ball
While tracing the number, encourage the child to say "one". After tracing, ask "How many balls are there?" Let's count. "one" One ball.
The other worksheet is a circle. Ask the child what shape is this? "Circle" Let's color the circle green/yellow/red .... What I did was after coloring the circle, I asked my daughter to make small circles and color them.
Needs a bit of time and hard work, but anyone can do this. It's fun and at the same time you get chance to bond with your little one.

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