Faces of Tomorrow - Mrs Coffey
JESS Dubai

Faces of Tomorrow - Mrs Coffey

JESS Dubai
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Mrs Coffey is an extremely talented teacher, who recently became Science teacher of the year! She incorporates a lot of technology into her lessons, such as augmented reality and robots, which provides a fun and exciting approach to learning. She regularly delivers workshops on various aspects of teaching and learning and has presented at teaching conferences in Dubai and elsewhere.

Q&A With Mrs Coffey

How long have you been at JESS and where did you work before?

This is my second year working at JESS. Before this I worked in a British International School in Doha, Qatar.

What opportunities are there at JESS for you to progress and how does JESS support these?

JESS offers fantastic opportunities for teachers to progress. In my short two years at JESS, I have had many opportunities to progress in my career. Joining the ‘Teaching and Learning’ group in JESS has allowed me to contribute to whole school CPD workshops. I am constantly learning from my colleagues and improving as a teacher. This year was I appointed as Head of Chemistry and will be attending the Aspiring Leadership course in 2018 which is run by our Director Mr. Steed. I also started my Masters in Teaching and Learning with the University of Bath and JESS has also offered me a place on the NPQML (National Professional Qualification in Middle Leadership) course for 2018. The opportunities are endless and teachers are always encouraged to develop themselves further. All in all, I would say JESS is very supportive of my career aspirations.

What have been your greatest highlights so far?

As cliché as it sounds I honestly feel like I am in my dream job. I left the pharmaceutical industry where I worked as a chemist but was very unhappy to go back to university to complete a second degree in teaching Chemistry. There are times teaching when it becomes stressful like any other job but I genuinely enjoy coming to work and seeing those ‘lightbulb’ moments with my students every day. My greatest highlight though so far has definitely been winning Science Teacher of the Year 2017 for the Education Journal Middle East. While I feel it is very important to recognize the efforts of students I also think that it is just as important to recognize the efforts of teachers. I was honored to have won the award in such a short time teaching at JESS.

List things in addition to your normal teaching role that you have taken part in. 

Since joining the ‘Teaching and Learning’ group I have been involved in presenting workshops on different areas at whole school workshops in JESS. I have delivered workshops on ‘Engaging Learners’ and how to effectively use OneNote in lessons at the JESS Talks Workshops. I have also presented at JESS Digital Innovation Summit and EduTECH Middle East on Flipped Learning, an area of teaching which I am very passionate about. I am also currently involved in a working group developing a ‘Making it Stick’ guide for learning to revise in the best way for students, parents and teachers.

What do you enjoy most about working at JESS?

The kids! Every day is different. I am very passionate about teaching. Often I have students come into my class for the first time and tell me they are not very good at Science and I always bet them that by the end of the year they will enjoy it and be getting good grades. 99% of the time it works. If you are passionate about teaching this comes across to the students and they automatically want to do well.

I also work in a fantastic department where everybody helps each other and share good practice. It is just as important to enjoy the company of your colleagues in your job as well as the job itself.

Where / how do you see yourself progressing at JESS?

The long term goal is to become responsible for some aspect of ‘Teaching and Learning’. I know I have a lot to learn and need to develop more as a teacher before I reach that stage but hopefully if I work hard enough it will happen.

Describe some of the fantastic things that you do in lessons!

I love integrating a lot of technology into my lessons. Students nowadays are using technology all day every day. I want to keep students engaged in my lessons so when opportunities arise I try to integrate appropriate technology in my lessons. Last year we were given a trial with Lifeliqe which allowed me to use augmented reality in my Chemistry lessons. Often concepts in Chemistry can be very abstract and this app allowed me to show students 3d molecules when they were learning about shapes of molecules in IB Chemistry. Sometimes I flip my lessons which means I give the students a video on the lesson to watch at home and then when they come into the following lesson we can get much deeper into the learning of that topic. I have purchased a Swivl robot which allows me to capture some of my lessons and upload the content for students to re-watch at home on their OneNote class books. This allows the students to go back over any content which they may have struggled with in lessons. I also like to make games for revision lessons like ‘Roll-it-Recap’ where students get more engaged in their revision without even realizing it.

How would you describe JESS to somebody who knew nothing about it?

JESS is a non for profit British International School in Dubai. The grounds of the school are the most beautiful that I have ever worked in. Students at JESS are fantastic and eager to learn and all the staff are very hard working and helpful. JESS offer teachers fantastic opportunities for progression in their careers if they so wish.

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