The largest education operator in the UAE has paid tribute to its longest-serving teacher, who has retired after 41 years of service.
Gems Education said goodbye on Sunday to Daisy Justus, 69, who teaches English.
Her education career began in 1980 when she joined Our Own English High School in Al Warqa, Dubai, one of the oldest schools in the country.
Ms Justus, who is Indian, first moved to Al Ain with her husband in 1978, then joined the Dubai school two years later, when it was in the historic district Al Bastakiya.
“I have had the most incredible experience at Gems and the school. It’s been an enlightening journey,” she told The National.
“I started teaching when the school was very small and was in the Al Bastakiya neighbourhood. Then it shifted to Karama and we were teaching inside a Portakabin.
“Later, it moved to Oud Metha and in 2005 we were relocated to the final location in Al Warqa. So I have a lot of memories with the school.”
When Ms Justus first joined, the school taught only up to year 5. She became head of the English department in 2008 and served for seven years, then began teaching in the senior section.
Her two children are alumni of the school. Her daughter, 40, now works as cabin crew for Emirates airline and her son, 36, works for a private company.
Now she has retired, she plans to take on social work and teach underprivileged children.
“Teaching – the noblest of professions – enabled me to sculpt generations of students who ‘lead the light of knowledge’, making a mark wherever they choose to be,” she said.
“The challenges faced during this enlightening journey were milestones that made me stronger and worthier in all my endeavours. The students have always been a source of inspiration and encouragement.”
Dr Anjuli Murthy, the principal of Gems Our Own English High School, said the establishment was grateful to Ms Justus for her years of dedicated service as a teacher, mentor and guide for her pupils.
“Gratitude fills the portals of Our Own as we bid farewell to Ms Daisy Justus, a dedicated teacher whose 41 years of teaching has made a real difference in the lives of her students, to whom she imparted values for a lifetime as she listened, encouraged and shared lessons that shall remain in their hearts for posterity,” she said.
Her pupils also wished her a happy retirement.
“Teaching is a profession that creates all other professions, and we are grateful that you chose to be a teacher. We are blessed to have been mentored under your guidance,” said Krish Arya, a year 11 pupil.
Pranav Nair, also in year 11, said: “English was one of those periods which I particularly looked forward to, and I really enjoyed it because of the way she taught us. Her wit and humour added to her interactions.”