Teachers in the UAE have shared the moments of joy that make them cherish their careers in the classroom.
While a day in the life of a teacher comes with plenty of challenges, helping to shape young minds can be richly rewarding for those hugely passionate about the profession.
On World Teachers' Day, The National spoke to three teachers in the UAE about what they love most about their jobs.
Helping to enrich young lives
Early starts and late finishes are familiar territory for Bethany Austen, an Irish nursery teacher and assistant head at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, who is up by 5.45am to start the school day at 7am.
She embraces the responsibility she has to support her class of pupils, which includes her own children.
“A day in the life of a teacher is certainly very busy, especially because I've got lots of responsibilities as I am an assistant head and also have own children in my own nursery class," said Ms Austen.
“My favourite thing about being a teacher, especially in early years, is the progress you see the children make.
“There are several moments throughout the week when you see something click and a child demonstrates something they haven’t before.
“It might be that they write their name for the first time or read a word for the first time. To be the person who teaches a child to read is a really special thing, as reading is something that will enrich them throughout their life."
Ms Austen started her career in 2010 and has taught in Abu Dhabi for six years.
“It goes without saying that there is a lot of work that goes into being a teacher, and this work often stretches beyond school hours," she said.
Pupils arrive between 7.30am and 7.50am.
In early years education, learning is play-based, with teachers setting up engaging activities focused on improving core skills such as reading and counting.
While pupils may begin to head home by 1.30pm, teachers will often stay on until 4pm or later to take part in meetings and make plans for the next day of learning.
Never stop learning
Nadia Alamgir, a Pakistani kindergarten teacher at The Indian Academy, Dubai, relishes that her job remains "fun".
She said the favourite part of her role was the love and trust from the young children in her care.
"I just had my birthday and I have these twin sisters in my class who made a lovely card sharing my memories with them," said Ms Alamgir.
"I enjoy teaching and because I love to learn from it. It's been almost 11 years I've been in this profession and there are some day when pressures are there."
She said teaching in the UAE was vastly different from her native Pakistan and recalled having to equip herself with the digital skills needed to thrive in the Emirates.
Noor Nazia, an Indian kindergarten teacher at Credence High School, Dubai, said creating a happy environment for children was crucial.
"I look forward to them being happy and coming back to school and being able to create a bond with them," said Ms Nazia.
Ms Nazia spoke of the challenges of educating children under the age of 6 when classes moved online during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Initially, we were thinking 'How it is going to work? How am I going to get a response from the children? How am I going to assess the children? How we can assess children through technology?'"
But she said teachers used the opportunity to boost their own skills and harness technology as a key learning tool.