Colette Doughty: Breaking Traditions and Realizing Dreams
Colette Doughty, Head, Secondary Section, Jebel Ali School | The Knowledge Review

Rightfully said by Nelson Mandela, “It always seems impossible until it is done,” these words describe the journey of Colette Doughty. To achieve success or the vision one has set in mind, it is very important to start. We often hear people say that it is usually the start that is scary and the desired future seems impossible. However, the groundwork of success can only be laid by those who learn to swallow the trepidations and start anyway. At present, heading the Secondary Section of Jebel Ali School, Colette’s journey to prominence teaches us to be brave, confident and to chase our dreams no matter how hard it seems to be.

The biggest challenge one faces in life is finding his/her purpose, as the saying goes, everyone on earth has a purpose to serve. Colette was lucky in this matter, for it did not take much time for her to find her passion; teaching excited her. However, the transformation from teacher to an educational influencer and leader was not easy; she took a rather circuitous route into teaching.  Her uncertainty about her academic qualification did not stop her from seeking what she desired. “I didn’t know if I had the academic ability to do so. I left school with minimal qualifications, got a job and spent three years in night school to gain the necessary qualifications to be in a position to apply,” asserts Colette.

Colette Doughty lives by the words, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking.” Coming from a community where people did not go to universities or dropped out from schools and opted to work in the local community, Colette chose to beat the odds. Thus, her decision to join university was a milestone in her life, let alone, graduating.

Her strong will to achieve her dream was all the motivation she needed to go ahead and achieve what she sought. Upon enrolling at the university there was no turning back. Colette first earned a degree in Chemistry, which was followed by PGCE, and a few years later, she earned a Master’s degree in Education.  Completing her studies, which Colette had once thought was impossible, was the first step towards her glorious journey.

On her quest to spread the gleam of knowledge, Colette kicked started her career by working as a teacher (trainee). Recalling her initial days of teaching, Colette says that she had never felt so satisfied. “I still remember my first ever lesson as a trainee teacher, the buzz, the interaction and coming out of that classroom, feeling like, I had arrived home,” recalls Colette. Today, Colette Doughty brings with her three decades of experience in teaching and her decision to enter into this profession had marked the era of a new beginning. Her service, dedication, and utmost passion towards the educational fraternity have earned her the mantle of an ‘educational leader’. Changing and influencing lives as she moves ahead, Colette has left an imprint in the minds of her students.  “This was the career for me and I have never ever doubted it,” asserts Colette.

Miraculous and Serving the Purpose

Colette has dedicated her entire life to ensuring that students receive the education that they rightfully deserve. However, a dream this big and influential is not easy to achieve. Nevertheless, Colette’s devotion towards children and education is never-ending. Her biggest motivators are students. Walking through the corridors of the school and interacting with students is all the motivation that she needs. “Just walking around the school and talking to the students is enough to keep me motivated. They deserve the best education we can give them. Listening to their opinions, feedback and general ideas about all aspects of their life is a privilege, and it spurs you on,” asserted Colette.

One can undoubtedly agree with the fact that teachers are the heart of any education system. Anyone who remembers their own education remembers their teachers, not methods or techniques. Colette Doughty is one such teacher who has left a long-lasting imprint in the minds of students. Students who have studied under the guidance of Colette have awakened their own expectations, talents, and potentials and successfully achieved beyond expected.  “I would like to think I have had a positive influence on many of the students I taught. Maybe some went on to be teachers, or chemists, perhaps in some small way because of our interactions,” she adds.

About the School

Aiming to nurture confident, reflective, and emotionally intelligent learners, JAS enjoys a fabulous reputation as a successful Primary and Secondary School. Sought out for its brilliant academic rigour, holistic and community approach to education, the school empowers its pupils to become resilient, responsible global citizens, and lifelong learners. This student-centric school turns all the tides into the student’s direction so that they are benefitted and learn from any situation.

A very good example of this is, when the school faced challenges while developing a new school in a new site, it considered all the plausible strategies and initiated step by step (year on year) growth of it. This approach followed by the excellent academic performance of the students has paved the way in creating the ethos of JAS; community and holistic education while maintaining very high academic standards and expectations. Growing together along with its students, the school now has developed a close relationship with every student. This in return has helped the school to align or mold the curriculum and personalize its approach. “Our mission of ‘Putting Students First’ is at the forefront of every decision we make and every action we take, and involving our parents in a true community-based school makes us stand out,” comments Colette.

When asked about her time at JAS she replied, “This is my 3rd year at Jebel Ali, I am enjoying the journey all over again. To eventually walk away from Dubai knowing I had a part to play in the creation of two great schools; JESS and JAS for students to enjoy their educational experience is quite an honor.

Jebel Ali’s students are motivated, positive and full of energy to take on anything thrown at them; you can’t fail to be energized by them!

The ever-evolving trend of the educational sector has challenged many schools. However, Jebel Ali has managed to stay at par with the changes occurring in the educational sector.  Following rigours strategies like attracting professional and highly motivated staff, using their expertise and passion for specific areas of education further instigates the growth of Jebel Ali.

Words of Wisdom

There is no easy way to achieve your dreams, one has to work towards it, no matter how hard the path is and Colette Doughty’s journey justifies it. Though Colette achieved success after stumbling at failures and hardships, her persistence is what drove her to work harder and build her persona.  Her advice to the students all over the world (especially students of UAE) is to, “Make every day an opportunity to learn, to challenge yourself, and improve yourself in any way you can. So many young people don’t get the opportunities that our students in the UAE take as the norm, so don’t sit back, instead, roll up your sleeves and dive into learning and realize that failing is a successful part of learning too!” She encourages individuals to choose a job that excites them and makes them happy. Sketching her road ahead, she plans to grow together with the Secondary School and continue to work towards a better educational system.

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