Dubai English Speaking College
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Issue 5 – Shoot for the Moon!

 ‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars!’  Oscar Wilde

It seems that there are a number of unprecedented events taking place around the globe at the moment. The situation in the UK with the attempted prorogation of Parliament and the subsequent legal ruling becoming yet another chapter in the ongoing Brexit saga which, in itself, has brought political scenarios never seen before.

On the sporting front the Rugby World Cup, being held for the first time ever in Japan, has already thrown up some shocks. Whilst it’s not the first time the host nation has caused an upset, having beaten the Springboks in 2015, the victory over Ireland by Japan was indeed an unexpected result and one that BBC News called the ‘biggest rugby upset of all time!’

Eclipsing all of these, however, was an event much farther afield, yet so close to home. A momentous occasion for the UAE took place last week as the first ever Emirati astronaut, Hazzaa Al Mansoori, rocketed into space. Understandably, this landmark event has dominated the media and the achievement is rightly being used as a symbol of ambition and progress of the UAE as a nation.

I have followed the coverage with interest although, I must admit, space exploration is not a topic that I usually give my attention to. However, when it is somebody from the nation where you live and you gauge what it means to the people of the UAE, you cannot help but be in awe of such a massive achievement and recognise it as a great source of inspiration and motivation – two nouns that we consider to be very important at DESC.

There may have been a few cliches quoted in the press, including several references to ‘reaching for the stars,’ when reporting on the mission but it is, undeniably, a success story from both a personal and national point of view. It is also true that many of the quotes from Hazzaa himself and from UAE leaders Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed forces, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, can be applied generally to us all, as a whole College and as individuals.

As a PE teacher, I have always believed greatly in the value of excellent role models and the part they can play in helping to build aspirations as well as shape character and behaviour. The impact that Hazzaa Al Mansoori can have on inspiring the next generation in the UAE was recognised when Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said of the mission, “[It will be] a journey that will inspire future generations to achieve new national achievements.”

The message is very similar to one that we pass to our students at DESC on a daily basis, that they can achieve what they want to if they work hard, believe in themselves and learn from mistakes and failures. The House assemblies this week have delivered exactly that message to students. The assemblies, presented by our Deputy Heads of House, provided three quotes from some of the most successful people on the planet and asked the students if they could identify who they were. The quotes are below if you’d like to take the challenge yourself:

  1. “I’ve missed over 900 shots. I’ve lost 300 games. 26 times, I missed the winning shot which would have brought my team to victory.”
  2. “I was once told to, ‘get a job as you will never make money writing’. 12 publishers turned me away and I was unemployed when I wrote my first book.”
  3. “5126 of my invention designs failed. No UK company wanted any of my inventions. It took me 10 years to bring my inventions to the market.”

If you’ve worked out who said any of the above, you’ll know that these people are regarded as being hugely talented and successful, yet they have experienced numerous failures on the road to their massive achievements. Everybody will experience failure, but it is necessary in order to learn, move forward and improve.

Jumping back to the earlier conversation between Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and the UAE astronaut, Hazzaa showed great appreciation for the efforts of the nation’s rulers as he replied, “What we have achieved today would not have been possible without your support and the great attention you give to the UAE’s youth,” he said. Again, this has great parallels with us as leaders and teachers at DESC. We must understand our young people, guide them and give them the opportunities and belief so that they can flourish and succeed in their ambitions.

Such examples are evident within College every week. Last weekend our Senior Sports Teams enjoyed an excellent High Performance Training Camp in Abu Dhabi. Approximately 100 students attended and, as well as being put through their paces with some intensive training sessions, they were able to further develop those relationships which are so crucial when aiming for success. Our sports fixtures began this week as we embark on another exciting sporting year across the full range of sports and activities. We will, of course, experience highs and lows but as Nelson Mandela once stated, “We don’t lose. We win, or we learn!”

The very same attitude could be adopted by our students as we enter into our first RED week of the year next week. Please remember the tips about how we can all help students get the most out of RED week and support them in their preparations. Encourage them to work hard, revise and try their best but, if they do not do as well as they’d like, then reflect with honesty and look for ways to improve.

One final piece of advice from the UAE’s first man in space, when asked by a five-year-old for his advice to those aspiring to be astronauts, Hazzaa replied: “You should try to be outstanding in your studies.”

Very simple advice that we at DESC would certainly endorse, and not just for aspiring astronauts!

As it’s Thursday and I feel generous, I’ll give you the answers to the earlier challenge:

  1. Michael Jordan
  2. J K Rowling
  3. James Dyson

Have a wonderful weekend!

Michael Fallon

Assistant Headteacher

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