Dubai: As the world marked Teachers Day on Wednesday, the story of a Dubai-based Math teacher has been the doing the rounds on social media, thanks to well, its element of calculated coincidence.
When schools reopened after the summer vacation recently, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) made it a point to thank teachers who had shared their stories on TeachersOfDubai, an initiative by the educational regulator, providing an opportunity for teachers to speak about themselves.
The initiative received a great response with 785 teachers giving thousands of parents and students a chance to get to know them better. One of them happened to be Ahmed Shaikh, a 45-year-old high school Math teacher at a private school in Dubai. He wrote of how he was the first in his family to become a teacher and how all his three brothers followed in his footsteps. Not just that, all the four spouses of the four brothers are also teachers.
“When we sit down to have dinner, it often feels like a mini school,” Ahmed wrote.
When Gulf News managed to trace him, Ahmed said he was delighted to share his humble story.
“I come from Mumbai in India where my parents did not receive any formal education. But they encouraged me, their eldest son, to pursue teaching as it is a noble profession. My three brothers – Salim Shaikh, 42, Javed Shaikh, 40 and Aslam Shaikh, 38, found what I did very inspiring, so they also took to teaching,” he said.
With a measure of pride, Ahmed revealed how all the four brothers also found teachers as partners. “While Salim and I met the love of our lives - Nuzhat and Mumtaz - while studying (Bachelor of Education), Javed and Aslam met their spouses – Inshia and Heena -- in the schools they were teaching. I cannot explain how it feels to be an entire family of educators.”
He said he looks forward to spending every vacation he gets with his three brothers, who stay as a joint family with his mother in Mumbai. “It is so much fun when we get together. At the dinner table, it feels like it’s a mini school as we have so much school talk going on.”
He said like him, Javed and his wife Inshia also teach Math while Salim and Nuzhat teach Chemistry. “My wife Mumtaz teaches Social Studies, Aslam Geography and his wife Heena English. So we have a lot of notes to exchange.”
He said it gives them much satisfaction to be in their profession. “The common notion is that teachers teach. But I can tell you, we are life-long students too because we are constantly learning as we go along. Keeping up to date with newer and newer technologies and methods of teaching itself is a wonderful learning. Also, we learn many good things from our students, thanks to their diverse backgrounds and requirements. In the process, we build a huge network of contacts too through our profession,” he added.
Ahmed said the four brothers and their wives share a common dream: To open a school of their own.
“But we know that is not easy as it requires a lot of money. But hope springs eternal. One day perhaps, by the grace of Allah and the blessings of our parents, we will be able to do it.”