Hannah Nesbitt

Role: Pre-School Teacher/EYFS Assessment Co-ordinator

School: King’s College Doha

Country: Qatar

Hannah joined King’s College Doha in 2016 as part of the School’s founding team. Prior to this, Hannah was a Primary School teacher in Wales, where she had worked for seven years. The start-up nature of the opportunity at King’s College Doha was a real attraction for Hannah when she applied for the role.

Learn more about Hannah’s experiences below.

What were you doing before you joined King’s College Doha?

I had been teaching in Wales for 7 years prior to moving to Doha. I’ve taught across the Primary age phases from 3-11, including working in a learning resource unit with children with Severe Learning difficulties. I enjoy working in all age phases, but my heart has remained in Early Years.

I have always enjoyed travelling and began thinking about teaching abroad. I spoke to friends already working around the world and decided to focus my search around the Middle East. The appeal of King’s College was the fact that it was a start-up school. We all knew from the outset there would be challenges that would require a strong team, and I felt I was ready for the challenge. In a very short space of time I interviewed for my position, applied for visas, said my goodbyes and moved to Doha to start the next chapter in my teaching career!

What is your current role?

I have worked in the Pre-School since King’s opened in 2016 and have seen the rapid increase of students passing through our doors. Due to the immediate success of the school and it’s rising reputation, our classes filled very quickly.

The co-curricular clubs have also proved very successful and have provided me the opportunity to work with the older children too. It was definitely interesting sharing my love of fitness and introducing a circuits class once a week. The children soon became familiar with the routine and understood my love/hate relationship with squats, sit ups and even burpees! Currently I hold a Board Games club with year one and two pupils. It is great to see the children exploring new and exciting opportunities.

How have you found working at King’s College Doha?

I have been very fortunate to attend a number of training courses whilst working at KCD. Last year it was excellent to be part of the OLEVI – Outstanding Teachers Programme. This was a 12-week course, allowing us to develop certain teaching and learning strategies whilst meeting teachers who worked across Doha. It was a fantastic opportunity to network! Fully supported by the leadership team, we aim to incorporate some of the key principals of this course into the day to day life at KCD during this academic year.

With KCD investing into their staff’s career development and CPD, I have recently taken on the exciting challenge of EYFS Assessment Co-ordinator.  I am looking forward to the extra responsibility this position will give me and how I can make a sustainable impact to children’s learning.

I have personally found the parents at King’s to be highly supportive and have positive relationships with both the students and parents. It is always very difficult for parents to leave their crying three-year-old in a classroom, but their trust and positivity means that the children always settle very quickly and sometimes don’t even want to leave at the end of the day!

Accommodation is always a topic of interest to new people that I meet. After living in staff accommodation for 6 months, four of us decided to combine our living allowance and move into a 5-star hotel tower in the city centre. The original accommodation was perfect for our arrival, it provided us with a one bed apartment, allowing us our own personal space. But we quickly realised that if we were willing to share our living room and kitchen, the opportunities were endless and actually very prestigious! I have since moved into a smaller apartment near to the beach, which suits me perfectly as being outdoors is quite rare in Doha. The opportunity to therefore step out of my door onto the beach allows me to feel a little more ‘at home’.

I have thrown myself head first into Doha life and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. Even though school life can be very busy and hectic, there is a more realistic workload expectation than in the UK. As long as you can adjust to the early mornings, life in Doha is far more sociable. There is such a community feel wherever you go here. Not many people have their family nearby, so you often find that you quickly meet likeminded people who become an integral part of your ‘expat experience.’ My highlight was definitely my 30th Birthday. When I moved in August 2016, knowing not one single person here, never would I have imagined that nearly 40 people would gather with me to celebrate in style.

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