Amal Hirani: Shared Values | Aga Khan Academies

Amal Hirani: Shared Values

"The students are delightful and a real pleasure to teach. I feel teaching the IB has developed me as a teacher, as has the emphasis the school puts on the professional development of its staff."

"My route from university to Mombasa was somewhat strange. After graduating with a Masters in Civil Engineering, I flirted with a career in banking before settling on teaching. I entered teaching through the Teach First program (the UK’s version of Teach For America), which not only made me into an educator but someone who actively wanted to address educational disadvantage and open doors for students whose options at times seem limited. Two years on, the desire to move abroad and learn about a different culture kicked in, which led me to spend a great deal of time looking for a school abroad that shared my values, and whose mission resonated with me.

I didn’t join the Aga Khan Academy because I’m an Ismaili, I came here because I truly do believe in what it stands for. The school is a national school rooted in Mombasa that thinks globally. The IB curriculum is adapted here to great effect, and the student body is extremely diverse. It is so nice to see students from a range of backgrounds interact with such sincerity in and around school and in the residences. The MYP and DP programs demand a lot of teachers and students alike, and they are by far the best programs that I have been exposed to, whether as a teacher or student. The school doesn’t just put an emphasis on knowledge, but skills and dispositions are thought of very highly and this is reflected in the lessons.

I have enjoyed my time in the five months I have been here. Teaching here does come with its challenges, as things are not as readily available here as in the West, but you learn to work with this. The students are delightful and a real pleasure to teach. I feel teaching the IB has developed me as a teacher, as has the emphasis the school puts on the professional development of its staff. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in things outside the classroom, whether it’s taking sports teams or Model United Nations, and these have allowed me to get to see just how talented our kids are."

Amal Hirani, originally from London, UK, is now an MYP and DP teacher (Mathematics) at the Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa.