Saturday, November 21, 2009

In their shoes!

I regard teaching as a very influential profession. I’ve always liked it and think a lot that if I wasn’t an engineer; I’d like to be a teacher. Or may be when I finally retire, I shall go to some rural area, build a school there and start changing the world :). I may be thinking in this way because I had some teachers who have really changed my life and I’d like now to mention them by name to show my gratitude to what they’ve done to me or just to the kind of teachers they have been. They were both my teachers during the preparatory stage; my Arabic teacher Mr. Ahmad Suleiman, and my English teacher Miss Hayam.

Beside the great message that teaching can deliver and all the nice things such process may involve, it can be really hard and frustrating. I’m not going to talk about the situation of our educational system, because it’s really bad and just talking about it is depressing, I’d rather talk about a personal experience that I’m having. For about a month now, I’ve been teaching Arabic (Egyptian Colloquial) to foreigners (actually they’re just two) as a volunteer in a non-governmental organization that offers free course to students, mainly by other students. Such courses include language courses that are preferably taught by foreign students who happen to be in Egypt. In return, such students need to learn Arabic in order to be able to communicate more easily in their daily lives. When I volunteered I was planning to teach computer but it somehow ended up with me teaching Arabic. This is almost my first experience in teaching and though it may seem easy, because after all it’s 3amaya! It isn’t that easy at all. This is because 1st 3amaya has no rules, 2nd many rules in Arabic hasn’t a match in English, 3rd the last time I studied the rules of Arabic (grammar and such stuff) was back in high school and now I don't remember most of the rules. I’m trying to do my best but I really feel bad and become frustrated when I find my students not paying attention, making gestures that show that they’re waiting impatiently for the lecture to end or at least don’t get what I’m saying. I feel that I must be interesting all the time and that my students should understand each and every word of what I’m saying.

After this experience I really became more compassionate with all the teachers I’ve ever had, because I simply stood in their shoes! I felt that I should have paid more attention and should have never fallen asleep during the lectures, even the boring ones :).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Treat people in the way you’d like to be treated not in the way they treat you!

In my trials to follow the manners of a true Muslim, I tend not to judge others, I try to find excuses for them, I try to see things from their perspective etc. Also from my readings in management and communication skills, it is always mentioned that this is the best way to deal with others and have successful communication with them. The problem is that not all people follow the same attitude and though I may be doing my best to deal with people in this manner, I many times get shocked with their mean attitudes. At the same time I find others around me, who doesn’t try to presume the good intentions and see things from others perspective, are less socked because they saw it coming or at least have always presumed the worst scenarios. I began to doubt my policy in dealing with people, though I don’t feel like changing it because I think that it’s a good policy after all and presuming good intentions is better that presuming bad ones because by then dealing with and trusting others would be really hard and life would be miserable. So should we just keep the good intentions and try to see things from others perspective, or should we do that while being cautious to avoid latter shocks or would it be easier to presume bad intentions and worst case scenarios from the start?!