Staff Reflections

Head of Department – English: Maniue Vilsoni

 At the end of my short stint at Abu Dhabi University in October 2007, I visited AAESS to thank the administration officer for enrolling my daughters Harieta and Sylvia. Ray, a New Zealander married to Dr. Viliame Sotutu, greeted me with an unforgettable sunshiny “Bula!” welcome. That first impression of AAESS convinced me to join this wonderful school.
I had taught in Fiji for 26 years at primary, secondary, teachers college and lectured part-time at the University of the South Pacific but teaching here is a totally new experience. Teaching small classes, empowering students from over 54 nations, fostering a wonderful rapport with parents, being a sixth form tutor, supervising extra-curricular activities, accompanying students to Paris and London, celebrating their successes, coaching rugby at the Amblers Club, interacting with an international staff (from Fiji, New Zealand, Ecuador, Colombia, South Africa, Canada, UK, USA and Europe) and watching our students win the U-19 rugby 7s at the showcase Dubai tournament are highlights of my time here at AAESS.
I have enjoyed every moment! The students are a delight to work with – they’re open-minded, innovative, caring, respectful and generous. They support charities and take on challenges their international peers would engage in. They also enroll at universities around the world including Oxbridge and the ivy league colleges. Recently one of our students was invited to Brasenose College, Oxford for an interview. AAESS is a renowned secondary school in this Oasis City! Join the faculty and be enriched by its students, staff and the Al Ain City community.

English Teacher  – Head of Years 10 & 11: Mrs Beverly Abass


I remember arriving at Al Ain English Speaking School (AAESS) in March 2002 and being quite vociferous in reply to questions asked about how long my husband and I planned to stay in Al Ain. The answer was an adamant and very sincere, “Five and a half years!” Fourteen years later, and we are still here!

At the time, many of my colleagues tried to impress on me that they had arrived at the school with similar thoughts, but they, too, had allowed the school to creep under their skins and become their family! I think this is testament to the fact that we, like many before us, have been and continue to be happy in Al Ain and at AAESS. The city is just big enough to provide a range of entertainment while being a mere stone’s throw away from the “bright lights” of either Dubai or Abu Dhabi! The school provides a friendly and an accommodating environment in which to work, while the students, who hail from far and wide are mostly, well-mannered, respectful and keen to learn. A further advantage of being exposed to so many different nationalities is that students and teachers alike, learn very quickly, to be tolerant and accepting of one another.

I can honestly say that teachers considering taking up a position at AAESS should be very happy here – you’ll experience a warm (and I’m not referring to the desert heat!) and inviting atmosphere here with plenty of opportunity for exploring what the UAE has to offer, as well as travelling abroad.

Science Teacher: Steven Jones

Steven Jones

I had never been to the Middle East before coming to Al Ain and I had heard so many different stories I just didn’t know what to expect. To say I was nervous about coming here would be an understatement but all of my fears couldn’t have been further from the truth!

Everyone who works at AAESS are so friendly and welcoming. It’s the team I work with as well as the students who make getting up in the morning so easy! My advice?…don’t ask yourself if you’re making the right decision by coming here, instead ask yourself do you mind never wanting to return home!

English/Psychology Teacher: Rebecca Hopkins


Psychology is my passion in life. It affects the way people understand each other, the way we communicate and the way we see the world. But after seven years of teaching psychology in the north east of England, I became jaded with teaching and thought to myself, “There must be more to life than this!” I was lucky enough to secure a job teaching psychology and moved to the UAE. I had heard many positive things about life in the Middle East, from fellow teachers to people in various other professions. All of their comments were positive and after holidaying in Dubai several times, I knew it was the ideal move for me.

I am now in my third year in the UAE and have found that teaching here has enhanced my career and renewed my passion for the job. I have found that the students are co-operative and enthusiastic and that allows you to just teach, which was often very difficult to do in the UK. We have a really positive and supportive team of staff at AAESS and we are an internationally minded community. Everyone is kind and helpful and like a second family. I have met people from all walks of life and I find that there is something to be learnt from each one of them. My mind has been opened to new cultures and experiences. I am even learning Arabic, as I feel that it is courteous and respectful to try and communicate in the local language.

The UAE has provided me with a great base for travelling to other parts of the world, like Asia. Living in Al Ain is great because it is quieter and more peaceful than its livelier neighbours like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s also a great place for family and friends to come and visit. They are always envious of the year-round warm climate and often reluctant to leave! Other advantages of living in Al Ain are that there is more of a friendly and family-orientated feel and you can make far more personal connections than you can in Dubai. Accommodation is also cheaper here. But at the same time, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are only a short distance away and you can be there in no time for weekend visits. Living in a warmer climate is also very advantageous, as you can spend more time outdoors enjoying what the city has to offer; from the beaches of Dubai to the mountains of Al Ain.
All in all, I can say that I am very happy with my life and career and have made friends for life. I have no plans to leave just yet. This was the best decision I ever made.