An interview with Janet Carew, principal for the Kuwait English School

“No dreams are impossible if you want them enough and if you work hard enough for them to come true.”

Janet Carew, principal, Kuwait English School

Janet Carew has been with Kuwait English School since joining in 1983, and has been the Senior Principal for the past 25 years. She has contributed immensely to the local education system. During Carew’s career, which has spanned more than three decades, she has overseen thousands of pupils and hundreds of staff members. Kuwait Times had the opportunity of interviewing her.

Kuwait Times: You have taught at KES for 34 years. When did you realize that education was your passion in life?
Janet Carew: At the age of 10, I wanted to be a teacher of mathematics and this ambition remained with me throughout school and university. My ambition was finally realized when I became a maths teacher at a school in England. When I came to Kuwait with my husband in 1980, this was my first role, and my passion for education has continued.

KT: Being a principal is an amazing feat, but to have reached this position, a lot of sacrifices must have been made. How did you find the will to achieve your dreams and goals?
Carew: I did not have to find the will to achieve my dreams as it was just something in me. I enjoyed every minute of every role I was given, whether it was as a teacher of mathematics, head of house, head of mathematics, deputy head and then head teacher [eventually principal]. Each role added more responsibility, and for me, more enjoyment. It is very important, I think, to enjoy your work, and I have been very lucky in this respect.

KT: What are some dreams that seemed impossible, but have now come true for you in both Kuwait and at Kuwait English School?
Carew: I am a great believer that no dreams are impossible if you want them enough and if you work hard enough for them to come true. My dreams came true when I became deputy head of Kuwait English School and when my two children joined KES as students. The one dream I did not expect to be realized was that of becoming the principal – but that came true too!

KT: Tell us about some of the changes you have witnessed in the mindset of the children and their parents during your lengthy tenure.
Carew: Honestly, the mindset of the students and parents has not really changed a great deal over the years. Students still want to get the best possible exam grades that they can and parents want the same thing. Parents seem to be getting younger every year – but I think that’s just because I am getting older! I think that perhaps because parents are getting younger, they now have more realistic ambitions for their children, and of course there are so many different jobs out there for their children. As is commonly said these days: “Children are being educated for jobs which have not even been thought of yet.”

KT: Students are constantly pressured by their parents due to their assessments. What would you like to advise parents of children in schools?
Carew: I always advise parents to allow children to be children. Whilst grades are important, being a child is also important. Time must be used sensibly so that each day there is time to play as well as time to work. Play hard and work hard. I also advise parents that not all children are the same. They should not be compared to their siblings – they are individuals. Not all students will gain A grades, but all students can [and should] do their best.

KT: Lastly, what is a philosophy you would like to share with our readers?
Carew: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This is a favorite saying of mine which has proven to be true time and time again – not just in school, but out of school too.

By Ashlyn Sequeira and Snehika Srivastava