A legacy of positive change | Rosedale teacher is dedicated to empowering communities and students, while running a UN-recognized global peace movement
Suraiya Essof teaches Business Leadership, English, and History as part of Rosedale Global High School’s Transformative Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with partner, Oakwood Academy, located in Zimbabwe. As part of the Rosedale Global High School community of teachers, Suraiya has earned Advanced Qualification teaching certificates through Rosedale’s Teacher Development Program in Business, Social Studies, and General Qualification. Her career as an educator in Zimbabwe is guided by a strong passion for preparing future generations to be capable contributors to a global society.
“Teaching is an opportunity to make an impact and leave a legacy of positive change,” says Suraiya. “Beyond teaching I have authored various curricula and developed training programs for teens in academic and personal enrichment, and have dedicated many years to fostering engagement in global communities.”
Such capacity for positive impact led Suraiya to create Kites For Peace, a movement that promotes community and understanding by bringing people together to fly kites. Inspired by the Guiness World Record for the most kites flown simultaneously in 2011, she reached out to people in her community and asked them to meet her at the local lake to fly kites together. Almost a decade later, what began as a local community activity grew into a fully volunteer-run global peace movement recognized by the UN. Schools, communities, and organizations in countries like Portugal, Greece, India, Mexico, South Africa, and more, have reached out to Suraiya to organize their own Kites For Peace events and sessions. Supported wholly by people around the world inspired to donate their time and effort, the movement brings people into a space for reflecting on social change and boosting community support.
Suraiya’s dedication to creating spaces for peace is informed by her belief that supporting and connecting with others should be expected, rather than exceptional—and she notes that Rosedale’s global citizenship education allows her space to empower her students to reshape their understanding of community involvement and its importance.
Being introduced to Rosedale’s Transformative OSSD program was key for Suraiya’s professional development. As an educator, Suraiya fosters the potential of her students—instilling in them the confidence and awareness to grow as “valuable citizens who can actually change the world.” For years she had taken it upon herself to find ways to include real-world application into her lessons and was thrilled to learn that Rosedale incorporates global citizenship education, empathy and awareness, and community involvement directly into the curriculum. Our OSSD teachers are guided through differentiated instructional resources that significantly improve their efficacy in building essential competencies that lead to life-changing learning outcomes for students.
“That’s what I find so refreshing, these competencies are not an additional thing that I need to fit in to my schedule. It’s all worked into the curriculum,” Suraiya says. “It’s beautiful.”
Guided by the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education, Rosedale students complete community involvement hours outside of class time as a graduation requirement. For many students, these activities are their first experiences with such work. Suraiya believes community work is crucial to character development and appreciates Rosedale’s Transformative Approach to Learning that connects learners with real-world application and innovation. With Rosedale’s OSSD, Suraiya can have a positive impact on her students and ensure they are ready and able to tackle problems with significant economic and social consequence.
“What I like about teaching the OSSD, is that it encourages transformation. When you build core competencies, you’re also building confidence, and when you build someone’s confidence, you’re literally changing their life,” Suraiya says. “It has been quite revolutionary for me in the classroom.”