Connector June 2023

CONNECTOR.AE 34 CONNECTOR.AE 35 Kids And Education Kids And Education Meet The Teacher: Gillian King Teaching plays a vital role in the development of a child’s life as well as in assisting them in reaching their full potential. The elementary years are a crucial time in honing in on skills and values, that then form the foundation for their future growth. Gillian King is a Grade 3 Homeroom Teacher at Dunecrest American School, situated at Wadi Al Safa 3, and found her passion for teaching by shaping the lives of students during their formative years. With over 14 years of teaching experience, Gillian loves heading to school to assist students in building their love for education, as the school prioritises innovation in teaching and allows the students to contribute to their individual growth. Having moved from Canada, Gillian has spent 11 years moulding children in the UAE, and started out as a kindergarten teacher, now teaching Grade 3. In conversation with Connector, Gillian shares her journey as a teacher, from how she adds a spark to the daily life of the students studying at the school to her favourite teacher during her schooling years. What inspired you to start teaching? I have always had a great respect for teachers and the teaching profession. My mum was an elementary teacher, and I used to love spending time in her classroom, watching her engage with her students. I had an opportunity when I was in Grade 11 to be a teaching assistant for a kindergarten class. I loved working with the younger students and always looked forward to the time I got to spend with them each week. Their love for learning, and their enthusiasm in the classroom was inspirational for me as a young adult. How did you decide to teach your current subject? My first teaching position was as a kindergarten teacher. I loved having an opportunity to support my young learners as they became beginner readers and writers. However, I knew that eventually, I would make the transition from early childhood to elementary. I have been teaching in Grade 3 for the past 8 years, and I have come to appreciate that third grade is a critical year in a child’s academic and social development. Why do you love teaching? Teaching is an incredibly rewarding profession because it allows us to make a real difference in our student’s lives. My students come to school every day excited and eager to challenge themselves in the classroom. Their love for learning and positive attitudes motivates me to continue to build engaging lessons that foster lifelong learning. I am hopeful that each day I am able to create positive moments in the students’ lives that encourage them to be the best they possibly can be. Do you remember your favourite teacher from school? I have been fortunate to have the support and guidance of many excellent teachers over my educational journey. However, one of my favourite teachers was Mrs. Julius. She came into my life at a pivotal moment when my family moved overseas, and I was struggling with my reading and writing comprehension. Mrs. Julius was a warm-hearted, patient and supportive teacher who worked tirelessly with me to build my confidence in literacy. Through modelling her own love of reading and writing, she inspired me to work hard, and it is because of her that I remain an avid reader to this day. How do you make everyday classes more interesting? Elementary students are naturally curious and enthusiastic learners. As a teacher, I can foster this curiosity by creating a classroom environment that encourages exploration, experimentation, and discovery. Through project-based learning and cross-curricular activities, the students in my classroom learn to apply skills and strategies in a way that deepens their overall understanding and allows them to make authentic, real-world connections. What is a unique part of the school? I feel that Dunecrest is truly unique because of the vibrant and supportive community of people. It is a combination of the diversity of students and staff, the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, and the way that everyone works together towards common goals. The CREST values of creativity, respect, excellence, service and teamwork remain a central focus in everything we do. Through school-wide events to everyday interactions, our community of students, teachers, and parents come together to make sure that Dunecrest is a place everyone can achieve success. What would you do if you were not a teacher? I am currently in the process of completing my Masters in International School Counselling. As an elementary school counsellor, I will have the opportunity to work with young students during a critical period of their development. One of my favourite things about working with children is helping them to develop their social and emotional skills, as well as providing a supportive and safe environment for them to grow and learn. I also look forward to working alongside teachers, administrators and other education professionals to support students and promote academic success.