One of our journalists conducted an interview with Ms. Jennifer Leather, a beloved MYP English teacher among many students, teachers, and staff members of the RIS community. She had been teaching at Raha International School since 2008 until she had to leave at 2011, due to unfortunate circumstances back home. However, now she’s back! And the entire school gladly welcomes her back. Upon her return, Raha Voice asked many questions about her journey back to Australia during the interview:
Q: Did you have a good time back in Australia?
A: Well, I wouldn’t say it was a good time, because I had to rebuild my house and replant my garden which both had been destroyed during a cyclone. To be honest, it was a very big job for just one person; but I was able to get it done.
Q: How does it feel being back in Abu Dhabi?
A: I’m really glad to be back, because I didn’t want to leave in the first place. However, I just had to leave and take care of my business in Australia. So it’s very nice for me to come back here.
Q: Tell us about your stay in Australia. What tasks have you accomplished while you were there?
A: Like I said before, I rebuilt my house and redesigned it. I also got different fielders, gardeners, tradesmen, etc. They finished nailing down my roof the day before my flight, because unfortunately when they built it, another tornado came through – this one not as bad – and it lifted the roof. But hopefully there will be no more. So that’s all I did back in Australia.
Q: And did you teach while you were away? If so, tell us the differences and similarities between your school in Australia and Raha International School.
A: I did actually teach there in a public high school for approximately 10 weeks, but I did not like it at all, because the kids back in Australia w ere unbelievably naughtier than the type of students I’m used to. They were very different than the students in Raha, so I really wanted to come back. I didn’t want to go back there.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
A: Well, I always thought I would be a teacher. There was no doubt that I would become one. I don’t know why, but I became a teacher and have been one all my life.
Q: Whereabouts are you from in Australia, specifically what city?
A: I’m from Tropical Queensland. I live near Sunshine Beach, which is an absolutely wonderful, expensive tourism area. It’s a beautiful place to live in.
Q: How do you like life in the UAE?
A: I love it. I love being in a diverse, multicultural society. Everyone’s so nice. The weather might be too hot sometimes, but we all learn to live with things. Besides, it gets absolutely wonderful during wintertime here.
Q: Have you lived in other countries?
A: Well, I lived in many places: Germany, United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Solomon Islands. These are the only countries I li ved in besides UAE and Australia. Other than that, I visited 60 countries around the world so far.
Q: What did you miss most about Raha International School?
A: The students! I love watching them grow and achieve their educational goals.
Q: What made you come back to Abu Dhabi to continue your teaching career?
A: I didn’t want to leave. I just had to go back and fix my home, because I don’t have any more family. I simply had to attend to this business, because my house is a big asset and no one could fix it except for me. I didn’t want to leave, so I was very happy when Mr. McInnis, the school’s principal, invited me back.
Q: What are your expectations of the school for this year now that we’ve got a new vice principal?
A: I have very good expectations for this school, because it simply gets better and better. The education systems are stronger, the facilities more resourceful, and the students are so respectful and well-behaved. In fact, I thi nk Raha International School is the most prominent school in Abu Dhabi.
And so, we’d like to thank Ms. Jennifer Leather for agreeing to the interview, and we hope she spends a great time continuing her teaching career in RIS.
For background on the tragic death of Ms. Jen's husband Mark Pringle, visit the Suraya Foundation website.
Interview with Ms. Jen
by Fernanda Alvarez and Lara Joy-Zinn, Grade 6
1. How many schools have you taught in?
Probably about 5.
2. For how long have you been teaching?
This is my 13th year.
3. What kind of music do you like to hear?
I listen to old and new music.
4. What is your favorite subject?
Humanities and English.
5. Where do we find you when you’re not on school?
At the movies or shopping.
6. Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a cat.