Dubai: Mohammad Abusenenh from the GEMS United School was announced as the Most Inspirational Teacher at the fourth edition of the annual Mariamma Varkey Awards for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching held at GEMS World Academy in Dubai on Thursday.
This year, 45 teachers were nominated in different categories for their year-long drive in motivating students and inspiring their colleagues. Abusenenh’s work was deemed transformational over the last three years both inside and outside the classroom as his students were quoted as saying his classes stretch them to think, react, imagine and create, not just regurgitate knowledge. “This has had an evident impact, with a steady improvement in progress and attainment in Arabic and Islamic,” a press statement by GEMS Education said.
“Outside the classroom he gets involved in everything from coaching soccer teams to KHDA panel participation and his commitment to educating the community about Islamic values and Arab culture is clear through numerous initiatives, particularly the school’s first ever student run National Day celebration,” it added.
Abusenenh, who received a prize of Dh220,000, said: “I feel overwhelmed with pride and joy after winning this prestigious award and it motivates me for years to come to do better and give more. I would like to thank first and foremost my dear students who are the reason behind my success, and I would like to thank my fellow teachers and my school for supporting me. Thank you GEMS Education for this amazing opportunity, and I am very happy to be here and celebrate between my family and friends.”
Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education, said: “The Mariamma Varkey Award recognises the exceptional commitment of educators who have helped foster both the personal and academic growth of their students. They enabled them to achieve success and unlock their full potential. We strongly believe that the influence of teachers is the driving force of student success. With these awards, we celebrate our teachers for the profound impact they have on shaping the future generation of our students.”
He added: “The Mariamma Varkey Award is particularly close to my heart, as it reflects the high standards set by my grandmother when she first arrived in Dubai as a teacher 60 years ago. Thanks to her efforts and unwavering vision, GEMS Education is what it is today, and it gives us great pleasure to host this special award in her honour.”
Teachers were nominated based on specific criteria and had to demonstrate remarkable impact upon their students and the wider community, while also employing pioneering, creative, inclusive and innovative pedagogical practices that engage and challenge students in their learning. In addition, nominated teachers had to be reflective practitioners who continue to inspire and motivate students and colleagues while engaging parents in the progress of their children’s learning.
Other teachers who were awarded for their outstanding commitment to the holistic development of students were: Annamma Lucy of Our Own English High School (Boys) - Sharjah (Early & Primary Years Teaching); Ayesha Aslam of GEMS Westminster School - Sharjah (Secondary Years); Elspeth Mackie of GEMS Wellington Academy-Al Khail (Inclusion); and Ramy Wagdy Aboudishdish of Cambridge International School-Dubai (Arabic & Islamic).
Each received Dh88,080 as cash prizes along with a citation. The total cash prizes presented through the awards were over Dh570,000.