'Extra classes': As some UAE students return to school after 2 weeks, teachers tackle post-flood challenges

Most schools had a two-week spring break at the end of March, followed by a week of Eid holidays


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 4:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Apr 2024, 8:59 PM

On Monday, when Sharjah teacher Lubna Syed returned to class, she saw the heartwarming scene of her Foundation Stage 2 students hugging each other. The class of 15 were seeing each other after several weeks. “They were just so happy to see their friends and be back in class,” said the teacher of Al Ansar International School. “It was really sweet to see how excited they were to be back.”

On Monday, all private schools in Sharjah returned to face-to-face lessons after almost two weeks of online classes in the aftermath of the unprecedented rain and flooding. This came after the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) teams completed inspections of numerous schools, ensuring their readiness and addressing issues.

For many students, the return to class came after an extended break. Most schools had a two-week spring break at the end of March, followed by a week of Eid holidays. The students returned to school on Monday, April 15, before the storm on April 16.

Lubna said that she had assigned homework and interactive lessons for her students during the online lessons but many were not able to complete it. “A lot of them had power and connectivity issues due the rains,” she said. “Others had older siblings so the parents were not able to give them due attention. This has caused some of them to lag behind a little bit but nothing that can’t be resolved with a little extra push during regular lessons. I am just happy to have my kids back in the class.”

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Extra lessons

For another Sharjah teacher Bushra, the break has brought some challenges. Teaching Biology to Grade 9 students at Sama American Private School, she said she could see that some students had gaps in their learning. “Although we finished their portions during the online classes, some of them have not fully grasped the concepts,” she said.

“This is partly because many of them faced a lot of difficulties during the unstable weather and partly because they were just distracted. So, I will be holding extra classes for the kids to go over the concepts again, clear doubts and fill the gaps.”

According to Bushra, many of the students were tired but also very happy to be back in school. “Many of them had power and connectivity issues, as well as challenges getting out of their houses,” she said. “So their sleep schedule was all over the place. But I am really happy to see their faces and teach them face-to-face. I was also excited to meet my colleagues. It was a great way to cheer up.”

Other emirates

For several students in other emirates as well, Monday was the first day back at school after the rains. Dubai resident Zahra chose online learning for her sons in Grade 6 and Grade 8 at GEMS Legacy School. “When offered a choice, I went with online learning because our car is damaged because of the floods and there was no way for me to drop them to school,” she said. “It was a little difficult to have them at home but luckily, the school had proper online lessons so their learning did not suffer.”

In Abu Dhabi, Sajjad was happy to have his 5-year-old son back in school. “He attends the GEMS Winchester School Abu Dhabi and they resumed classes on Monday,” he said. “Yesterday, we got an email from the Principal saying that the campus had been deep cleaned and sanitized and that multiple water tests were conducted. My son was excited to go back to school today and see his friends.”


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