Dubai: September 5 is celebrated in India as Teachers’ Day in honour of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who, apart from being a former president of the country, was also a renowned academician, scholar and Bharat Ratna awardee — India’s highest civilian award.
Here in the UAE, students at Indian curriculum schools did their bit to mark the day.
Students of GEMS New Millennium School — Al Khail, Dubai, for example, took charge of an entire 45-minute period. Some Grade XI and XII students took charge of the classes and doubled up as ‘teachers’ to mark India’s Teachers’ Day. Older students planned a surprise celebration and tribute for all 110 of the school’s teachers, while the Grade XI cohort took over teaching for the rest of the school.
The Calcutta Emmanuel School, a non-profit school serving under-privileged children near Kolkata, India, witnessed the school’s celebration via a live transmission.
‘Brainchild of students’
Fatima Martin, chief executive officer and principal of GEMS New Millennium School (NMS), said: “The celebration of the school’s teachers in a one-hour show on Indian Teachers’ Day was the brainchild of the students.” She said it was kept a secret by the students until Sunday.”
Martin added: “They worked on this for a month during their summer holidays. There were tribute speeches, videos, a quiz, a gentle comedy sketch about the school, slam poetry honouring the teachers and some amazing music and singing. The teaching staff were simply overwhelmed by the show. While all this was happening, our Grade 11 students took up teaching, replacing all 110 of our teachers, for a 45-minute period. It was a day that none of us will ever forget.”
‘A learning experience’
Advik Unni, head boy, said: “The teachers at NMS give us so much in terms of their time, skills and dedication. So this was a golden chance for us to offer something to them in return. Just seeing the smiles on their faces was enough for us.” Head Girl Keerthana Nair added: “It was worth all the hard work of Grade 11 and 12 students in preparing the celebrations as well as taking over the classes. The students also played their part by being well-behaved for their stand-in ‘teachers’. It was a learning experience to say the least for our young ‘teachers’ who now know what it is like to take charge of classes for a session.”
Teacher Stella Laus, who teaches marketing and political science at NMS, added: “The show was absolutely electrifying and I think I speak for all my fellow teachers when I say that we are both elated and exuberant after such a heartfelt tribute from our students. They have inspired us all to offer even more for our calling.”
A day of fun, frolic
The Indian High School Dubai (IHS) also celebrated the occasion with fun and frolic. “The day began with a special assembly hosted by the students council. It was an occasion to commemorate teachers and their constant efforts to streamline teaching and learning irrespective of the means, mode and medium,” said Punit M.K. Vasu, chief executive officer of IHS.
As a long celebrated tradition, students of IHS dressed up as their favourite teachers and experienced a day in the life of their heroes. The ‘student teachers’ from grades 9 to 12 connected with their teachers and delivered lessons to grades 5 to 8.
‘Thank you’ notes
“Students at junior sections hosted a series of performances including a fashion show, dance and music performances, skits, etc. The essence of the day was the special ‘gracias’ moment that the students had planned for their teachers. They presented personalised ‘thank you’ notes, speeches, cards, decorative displays, etc to show their gratitude and love for their role models. The students, as well as teachers, had a momentous day where emotions preceded all.”
Gulf Model School (GMS) also observed Teachers’ Day on its premises. “We always believe that teachers are the greatest resource a school can have and it’s our duty to cherish them and look after their wellbeing. Today, we greeted our teachers with a rose and a message from the principal and academic director,” said Shiny Davison, director of learning at GMS.
She said the students had organised a colourful event for the teachers. “Role playing was the highlight of the day with students from senior classes taking on the role of teachers.”
Letters of appreciation
GMS students also awarded and appreciated their teachers for all the hard work they put in. The school’s parent community, too, filled the teachers inbox with letters of appreciation. “We ended the day with a coffee session and snack time for teachers,” said Davison.
Michael Guzder, vice-president of education for GEMS Education, said: “The Indian schools in different countries of the world celebrated the day with a lot of pride and respect. Here in the UAE, Teachers’ Day is a joyous occasion with some pupils taking over the administration of the school for the day, organising special assemblies, a variety entertainment programmes, football, basketball or cricket exhibition matches, where staff play against pupils, and the like. Although gifts are not encouraged, teachers are usually presented with small tokens of appreciation. Staff and pupils alike enjoy a day of fun, bonding and mutual appreciation to make the occasion memorable.”