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There is a special week in May that I hold near and dear to my heart: Teacher Appreciation Week.   I believe children hold the key to OUR future, and in order to ensure a favorable future we must entrust some very special individuals to help make it happen.  So this month I would like to honor:

Ms. Channin Becker
Third grade teacher Extraordinaire!

I first meet Channin at a Real Housewives of Abu Dhabi’s Girls Night Out about a year ago.  “Hi” she said, “I will be your daughter 3rd grade teacher….  I don’t think I answered because I was trying not to choke on my bruschetta. But over this year I have realized how amazing Channin is on so many levels not just as my daughters teachers.  Anyone who is willing to dress up as Captain Underpants for the school’s fall festival AND win best costume truly has a passion for her students. Ms Channin Becker is one of the most caring, outgoing and funniest ladies I have ever meet!

 What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?

I’m not sure I have just one. I think every time a student falls in love with a book, overcomes a challenge, or just enjoys learning that is a great achievement.

Do you have children and have they influenced your career? 

I don’t have my own kids, but I am very close to my nieces. They help remind me that my students are someone’s pride and joy. I think about how I want Brooke, and Bailey, and Riley’s teachers to care for them, and I try to be that teacher to my own students.


How do you stay connected through social media? 

I use Facebook a lot to stay in touch with my friends and family. It is so helpful to keep up with day-to-day news with my loved ones back home. I just started to use Twitter for professional learning.

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? What is your goal for retirement?

I can’t really think of any job I’d rather do than teach! Someday, maybe when I retire from teaching, I would like to start an organization that helps families with special needs children. So many countries don’t have support, fund or educational opportunities for people with disabilities. I can picture myself in a center where these kids can get an education or training and the parents can get the help they need. Jane Goodall recently visited my students in our Roots & Shoots club. She is 80 and is going strong. I want to be like that-making a difference no matter how old I am.

How do you maintain a work/life balance? 

I like to spend time with friends. I travel quite a bit on school holidays. I also sing in a choir and enjoy quiet time at home. During the week I am quite a homebody.

What websites do you visit every day? 

I love Pinterest. I look up everything from recipes to new poster ideas for my class. I do a lot of spontaneous Google searches for random information because I love to learn about new things. If I heard a tidbit of news, I go and search it just to find out more. I also like teacherspayteachers which has a lot of nice resources from teachers who are much more artistic than I am! I love Facebook. I keep in touch with everyone back home, and I love to hear what they are up to in their daily lives.

Who is your hero and how have they helped make you who you are today?

There are a lot of women I admire- Mother Theresa, Jane Goodall, Durga Ghimire, but the person who had the biggest impact on me was my mom. My mom raised three kids as a single parent. She came to every performance and sporting event we were ever in. It drove me crazy as a teenager, but I appreciate that so much now. I know she often had her reservations about sending her kids off for a summer away or to travel to another country, but she was always supportive of our choices. She taught me to be independent and stand on my own, two feet. She made me who I am because she never said no to our dreams.

What are your top 3 favorite people/places/things in Abu Dhabi? 

There are so many great places to go that it’s difficult to narrow it down. I do love the Corniche. It is always so full of life, and they have amazing activities all year round. I seem to find myself at the Belgium Café at the Intercon a lot. It’s such a nice, casual place to meet friends and relax after a long day at work. I also love the beaches on Saadiyat!  

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? 

I think this goes back to the retirement questions. If I couldn’t fail, I’d take the risk, move to a new country, and start my own organization. It’s a big step with a lot of risk.
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