Sajida was born in Amman, Jordan, but is originally from Palestine. She taught in Jordan for a year, after which, she took up teaching in Dubai and has been doing so for over two-and-a-half decades. Ten of these years have been at Repton Dubai School and she is now an Assistant Head Teacher at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai.

She teaches Islamic Education, Arabic and Social Studies to her much-loved students whom she addresses as “my family”.

“Every school that I have worked in has been a minimum of six years. I was in Repton for a decade; before that, I was with Dubai British School (DBS) for six years. I believe in working in a school for several years as I want to see the fruits of my labour – to see my students grow in front of me.”

Sharing a secret on recruitment of new teachers, she says, “When I look at their resumes, I always try to gauge how many years did a teacher spend in his/her previous school. When you start a relationship, you want to see it grow. This will not happen if you keep on moving from one school to another. You should stay long enough for your students and their families to trust you.”

How her pupils remember their teacher is important for Sajida. “You want to be remembered as a kind and caring person. As a teacher who helps children fall in love with their chosen subjects. Children should love coming to school. It’s a huge responsibility for us because teachers impact their students not only during their school lives but even as they move on, and in their later lives.”

A mother of four, Sajida has been instrumental in the advancement of progressive teaching methodologies in Arabic across the UAE and beyond. Calling herself a life-long learner, she underlines what has made her teach every day for over two decades. “Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes when I see my students in the morning, greeting me. For me, this is the best moment. I know how important I am to them. Students spend more time with us than with their parents, and you have to make it the best time for them. I know I am important to them and they are to me.”