Daisy Justus (centre) receiving well wishes from a student

Dubai: An Indian teacher in Dubai has retired after 41 years of service, amid an emotional farewell for her retirement and tributes by students and colleagues.

Daisy Justus, who became the longest-serving teacher of GEMS Education since joining the group’s Our Own English High School in 1980, concluded her career on December 9 – her last day in school before her retirement.

During her time at the school, Justus held numerous positions including English Language Teacher, Coordinator of English, Editor of the school magazine, and Head of English Department. She also mentored numerous students who went on to win accolades for public speaking, debating and creative writing.

First interview

She began her teaching journey with GEMS in September 1980, when she joined Our Own English High School, one of the oldest schools in Dubai, which follows the Indian curriculum under CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education). She was interviewed by the late K.S. Varkey, father of GEMS Education Founder and Chairman Sunny Varkey, and went on to enjoy a close professional relationship with the late Madam Mariamma Varkey, who passed away earlier this year.

Daisy Justus addressing students and colleagues from GEMS Education during her farewell recently Image Credit: Supplied

‘Students have been my inspiration’

Looking back on her career in education, Justus said: “Teaching – the noblest of professions – enabled me to sculpt generations of students who ‘lead the light of knowledge’, making a mark wherever they choose to be. The challenges faced during this enlightening journey were milestones that made me stronger and worthier in all my endeavors. The students have always been a source of inspiration and encouragement.”

She added: “Blessed with passionate mentors and colleagues, I had the most encouraging and rewarding experience at Our Own. Words cannot express the support and the sustenance I received all through my journey, from the management, senior leadership team and colleagues. I am indebted to this country [the UAE] and its visionary leaders for providing the multicultural environment and opportunity for everyone to grow and prosper.”

Over the years, Justus has witnessed the UAE’s exponential growth, pioneered by its leaders. She has also seen Our Own English High School flourish from its humble beginnings at its first campus in Bastakiya, to its subsequent sites in Karama and Oud Metha, and then on to its present campus in Al Warqa’a.

‘We are grateful’

Krish Arya, a Grade 11 student at Our Own English High School – Al Warqa’a, paid tribute to Justus, saying: “Teaching is a profession that creates all other professions, and we are grateful that you chose to be a teacher. We are blessed to have been mentored under your guidance.”

Fellow Grade 11 student Pranav Nair said: “English was one of those periods which I particularly looked forward to, and I really enjoyed it because of the way you taught us, with wit and humour added to your interactions.”

‘Values for a lifetime’

Dr Anjuli Murthy, Principal and CEO of GEMS Our Own English High School – Al Warqa’a (OOW), and Sanjeev Jolly, Executive Principal of OOW, said in a statement: “Good teachers are the reasons why ordinary students dream to do extraordinary things. Gratitude fills the portals of Our Own as we bid farewell to Ms Daisy Justus, a dedicated teacher whose 41 years of teaching has made a real difference in the lives of her students, to whom she imparted values for a lifetime as she listened, encouraged and shared lessons that shall remain in their hearts for posterity.”

They added: “GEMS is grateful to Ms Justus for her years of dedicated service as a teacher, mentor and guide for her students. We wish her a healthy and happy retirement.”