Debbiejo Miranda: Teacher who connects with students through love

Debbiejo Miranda , the winner of Mariamma Varkey.
Debbiejo Miranda , the winner of Mariamma Varkey.

Dubai - Nominated by peers and chosen by a judging panel comprising members from Gems Education, KHDA, and the Ministry of Education, Debbiejo was awarded a cash prize of $60,000 (Dh220,200).



By Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 6 Oct 2016, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 7 Oct 2016, 11:04 AM

Years ago, when Debbiejo Miranda helped her little neighbour with her studies, little did she know that this gesture would make her realise her inner calling. "This little neighbour came to me, seeking some help with English. Although I was reluctant as I was young then, I helped her out. To my surprise, the little girl came running to me the next day ecstatic about her excellent grades. And that's when I realised my inner calling. I knew that is what I have to be, a teacher."
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On Wednesday, World Teacher's Day, Debbiejo Miranda was chosen as the "Most Inspirational and Outstanding Teacher' from the over 50 GEMS schools in the UAE. Nominated by peers and chosen by a judging panel comprising members from GEMS Education, KHDA, and the Ministry of Education, Debbiejo was awarded a cash prize of $60,000 (Dh220,200).
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In a grand award function ceremony, held at the Gems Modern Academy, founder and chairman of Gems Education, Sunny Varky, son Dino Varkey, in the presence of Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), announced the winner of the newly instituted Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at Gems.
Asked about her teaching approach, Debbiejo, who is Head of department of English (Secondary) at The Winchester Gems, Jebel Ali, said: " I love my children unconditionally and they love me back and that makes everything fall in place. You can achieve anything with them. You need to have a connection with your students. Even as I came for this event, they were online watching me, praying for me, waiting eagerly for the result of this awards ceremony. This happens when you connect to your students through love."
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Sending out a common message to both students and teachers, Debbiejo said: "Do not consider it a burden when your teacher asks you to do something. Believe in them and trust them as they trust you, love them as they love you and you will succeed. And that goes for the teachers as well. It has to be both ways."
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Debbiejo has been with The Winchester GEMS Education, Jebel Ali for the ninth year running but has been a teacher for 20 years now. "Teaching is about bonding, it is about showing them you care. I don't push them, instead I make them believe they can do better than they think they can do."
She was selected for the award for demonstrating consistent high level performance across all criteria, producing outstanding academic results. She has also contributed significantly towards professional learning and growth of other teachers in the school whilst maintaining strong connections with parents and the local community.
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Talking about the award named after his mother, Sunny Varkey said: "The Mariamma Varkey Award for Inspirational and Outstanding Teaching at GEMS Education is part of the GEMS Education mission to raise the status of the teaching profession within the country and in recognition of the drive and passion that the founder of its first school, Mariamma Varkey, put towards education."
saman@khaleejtimes.com  


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