UAE: Pakistani teacher shares secret to bringing out the best in every student

The expat, who has dedicated her life to teaching for the past 19 years, was surprised with a special award for her contributions


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Thu 6 Oct 2022, 7:20 PM

For Pakistani teacher Suneela Bukhari Salman Chaudhry, it's not enough to inspire and shape the personalities of students. "You have to be their friend, too," she told Khaleej Times.

Suneela is one of the three outstanding educators in Abu Dhabi who were surprised with a special award on World Teachers' Day on Wednesday. The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) held an impromptu ceremony to honour them, presenting them with a bouquet of flowers and a balloon.

"I felt like a princess," Suneela said, as she recalled the moment she received the award. “The way they surprised me with a sudden visit to my school was so overwhelming. It was an experience of a lifetime being appreciated for my dedication to this profession."

The expat, an English teacher at Islamiya English School Abu Dhabi, has dedicated her life to students for the past 19 years.

Speaking about her profession, Suneela said a good teacher is like a candle—"it consumes itself to light the way for others".

“I feel it’s a great responsibility," she said. "I don’t believe in just being a teacher who delivers a lesson and comes out of her class. It’s about shaping the personality of my students and being their friend, too, so that they feel emotionally relaxed and are willing to absorb information."

Making students feel comfortable in class is her top priority. “I focus on the students’ learning styles and work on the improvement of their performance on an individual level. Helping them stay happily engaged in learning is my goal. I take interest in promoting their talent on different levels,” said Suneela.

Being the coordinator of extracurricular activities, she also takes special interest in grooming children's hidden talent.

"It also matters a lot to me that I can help them achieve their desired results in terms of their academic performance,” she said.


Supporting students all the way

If there are students who need extra help, Suneela goes out of her way to look into their weak areas and find solutions that can improve their performance.

“I provide sample answers to the slow learners to help them improve their performance. I also ensure that I provide them peer support too. I have been able to produce outstanding EDEXCEL IGCSE Board exam results. My student got 100/100 in English language in the Edexcel Board Exam,” she said.

Under her wing, many students have won several inter-school competitions. The most memorable of these was her pupils bagging the top prize in an inter-school debate and a competition held by the Emirates Environment Agency.

Suneela has also helped thousands of UAE teachers obtain professional licences by providing them tips through a YouTube channel she created two years ago.

“It feels great being acknowledged for my positive contribution as a teacher. Especially when you are a teacher who has given her blood sweat and tears to this profession,” she said.

“Adek has taken such a rewarding initiative and made us feel important. This recognition means a lot to people like me who give their all to their profession.”

Other teachers who received the special award were Greeshma Rajesh Anil Kumar from Mayoor Private School and Daniel Stephen Emery from The British School Al Khubairat. They were selected for their remarkable contribution and passion.

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