Meet Our Fellows: Fatima El Atrach

Name: Fatima EL Atrach

School: Tyre Community School (TCS)

Education: Hospitality Management and Tourism, Lebanese International University

Hometown: Dairentar, South Lebanon

Hobbies: Reading, Swimming, Taekwondo

  • What inspired you to join Teach For Lebanon? What was the main reason that made you join the Program?

I loved the idea of contributing, indirectly, in bettering the education field in Lebanon. Teach For Lebanon, a one of a kind NGO, offered that. It makes me proud now to say that I am part of an organization with such a long track history. It supports learning and development on the job and really rewards hard work.

  • What are you hoping to accomplish with your students?

As a teacher, I look forward to learning from my students while using my experiences to guide them through their struggles. Leading a group of 200 students is forcing me to be flexible yet strict. Goals for students from under-served communities should never be set lower because of their background, and as a fellow I hope to raise expectations for all students.

  • What excites you most about teaching in Lebanon?

Going back to my country after growing up abroad, teaching in Lebanon allows me to rediscover my own country.

  • What are your future and professional goals or targets?

I want to continue learning things that will make me a better leader. I always strive to better myself. My goals include undergoing my Master studies. My ultimate goal is to use my knowledge to help others reach their full potential and help them develop their skills and understanding of different subjects.

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Meet Our Fellows: Josiane Atallah

Name: Josiane Atallah

School: Paradis d’Enfants – Jounieh

Education: Biology – Lebanese University (Fanar)

Hometown: Nabay

Hobbies: Photography, Hiking and Writing

  • What inspired you to join Teach For Lebanon? What was the main reason that made you join the program?

During my graduate studies, I saw a big disparity between my own experiences, being taught at a private school, and those of my peers, who were mostly from public schools. I saw many students that had a lot of potential but could not succeed due to their poor education.

On a more personal level, I noticed that in many private schools, there is a difference in the way some students were treated. I realized that I wanted to make a change when I tutored some of the latter, and found that investing in new learning methods or just striving to find and solve their individual problems, made them excel and boosted their self-esteem.

  • What are you hoping to accomplish with your students?

Although I believe that education in Lebanon needs reform, what I hope to achieve with my students goes beyond the traditional curriculum. I want to instill in them an appreciation for the environment, Human Rights, Arts and Culture. I aim to make my students more aware of these issues, and hopefully help them gain an appreciation for all that this country, and its history, has to offer.

  • What excites you most about teaching in Lebanon?

Lebanon is a beautifully animated and written book that is just craving to be picked up. From its rich history, to its newly thriving art scenes, to the hope that we can make a change. Lebanon is my country above all, and if we hope to improve it, we must thrive to instill a love for our country in our youth. Teaching in Lebanon offers you endless historical lessons, architectural wonders and countless stories to tell!

  • What are you future and professional goals or targets?

At the moment, I am trying to take things one step at a time. My current target is to survive this school year, and hopefully the next one. In the long run, I hope to further my own education so that I am able to contribute more to my students and to my country.

Meet Our Fellows: Ghadeer Saghir

Name: Ghadeer El-Saghir

School: Sahaguian-Levon Meguerditchian College

Education: Mathematics (LIU), English Literature (LU)

Hometown: Beirut

Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Baking, Music

  • What inspired you to join Teach for Lebanon? What was the main reason that made you join the program?

Unlike the majority of Lebanon’s organizations, Teach for Lebanon has a mission to accomplish and a vision to truly work on. I was still a junior year student when TFL made a seminar at my university. I thought this is what I want to be part of when I graduate; an active member of a professional, kind-hearted society with an educational goal to reach. Apart from this, TFL was overwhelmingly promising in terms of character-development.

  • What are you hoping to accomplish with your students?

I am hoping to make my students active members in the Lebanese society, by trying to fill the language gap. Along with plenty other personal-level activities, extra-curricular activities and educational strategies, they will be ready to face any societal challenge and make a change in it. I am very excited to start my two-year journey; I can feel it will give me the great privilege of inspiring little souls, and I am looking forward to make a change.

  • What excites you most about teaching in Lebanon?

The most exciting part is that it is challenging. Teaching in Lebanon triggers all sides of a personality; it tests patience, knowledge, social abilities and definitely the educational part. All these wrapped up under one platform: the privilege of teaching.

  • What are your future and professional goals or targets?

My target is to focus on the two years ahead. The main goal will be being able to make a change, I will fully dedicate my time to try being the teacher my students have always dreamed of.

The Hult Prize

The Hult Prize Foundation, in partnership with President Bill Clinton and Banque du Liban, has launched a ground-breaking national level entrepreneurship and innovation program in Lebanon. The aim of this program is to  empower University students to have a unique opportunity to compete for a local prize and the USD $1 Million Global Prize at the 2017 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York.

The 2017 Hult Prize “President’s Challenge” is “Refugees – Reawakening Human Potential”. It focuses on restoring the rights and dignity of people and societies who may be, or are forced into motion due to social injustice, politics, economic pressure, climate change and war. They also work to restore the rights and dignity of those currently living in informal / illegal settlements.

Ola Al Samhoury, a Teach For Lebanon Alumna, is part of a team who participated in the Hult event at the Lebanese American University (LAU). The team members Ahlam Al Omari, Asmaa El Ladan and Ola Al Samhouri presented an idea for a social enterprise that empowers refugees by allowing them to take control over their lives and health. Among other teams from LAU, her team won the first place and will represent LAU at the semi-final regional event in Duba! Final presentations will be held on March 4th after going through training sessions on March 3rd!

“Our passion to empower the refugees is what united and motivated us to work towards the benefit of our community. I can’t but thank Teach for Lebanon for empowering me to improve my leadership skills throughout my fellowship program. During the second year, I taught Syrian refugees who suffered from several health problems due to the deprivation of their basic rights. Whenever I reflect back on my teaching experience, I remember how much they enjoyed learning and how motivated they used to be to achieve their dreams, regardless of the obstacles that they faced on daily basis.

As an active member in society, I want to target the health aspect which is one of the building blocks for having a descent life.

Overcoming Challenges

By Rani Obeid- Cohort 7 Fellow

The first thing that drew my attention the moment I entered Grade one was one student sitting alone on his desk. All other students sat in pairs except for him. After knowing the names of most of the class, it was this boy’s turn to stand up and introduce himself to his classmates. When I asked him to do so, he started shouting and crawled under his desk. He made weird sounds. I couldn’t distinguish if he was laughing or crying. I sat down on the floor and tried to speak to him in a nice way. I wanted him to know that I was there to help him. It was a complete failure. He refused to even look at me.

I continued my work with the class and left the boy hiding under the desk.  Sessions passed and Amir was the center of complaints in the school. Teachers couldn’t bear him in class. Seeing him being pulled out of class became a daily view. He refused to use his books, pencils and to do any classwork.

I tried to sit next to Amir during every session without talking to him. At first, he hid under the desk. Then, he sat beside me and listened without any interaction. After that, he started to participate in the classroom.

Amir’s parents left him since he was a little boy. His only guardian was his grandmother. Amir was certainly in a psychological crisis. Amir started to show up during warm up activity. He didn’t speak much, but he laughed, moved and clapped most of the times. He only needed to speak up, I wanted him to be able to speak without being scared. He didn’t read or answer questions or even talked to any of his classmates.

One time I thought of singing the words of the lesson to students following a certain tune so that they could sing along and learn. Amir was so happy by the tune. He started to move in his desk and eventually started repeating the words with his classmates.

Amir spoke!! he obviously was so scared to expose his voice alone. Several times, Amir used to whisper something to me; an answer, a request. I used to say it out loud for the whole class. Day after day and due to the atmosphere of acceptance created in the class, Amir became more engaged in speaking up in either answering questions, giving his opinion or even talking to his friends.  It is a real success story to see a child fighting his fears and overcoming a challenge. I’m so happy to be part of it.

 

 

 

Fellows’ Impact

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When I first started working with Teach For Lebanon(TFL),I had my doubts. I was not sure that I will be able to fulfill the vision and mission of TFL. Some other times, I wondered if two years are enough to leave an impact on all these students. On the other hand, being chosen to teach in Wadeh El Samad public school, a school located in Bakhoun-North Lebanon, made it even a greater challenge for me since the school had many TFL Fellows in the previous years. The moment I met my students, all these fears turned into a great motivation and a drive to give my best.

For me, it was amazingly surprising seeing the differences between the students who have been taught by previous TFL Fellows and the ones who did not have them as teachers. On the behavioral level, it was much easier to set the class promises with those who have already met previous Fellows. They were able to share more thoughts and show a great understanding for the importance of keeping class promises. On the academic level, these students were among the best. They were able to follow instructions easier, and show great analytical and critical thinking skills. On the personal level, the Fellows’ students showed more openness in debates and were able to defend their opinion using more structured arguments. This made it easier to bring new topics to the classroom. Students who were not taught by TFL Fellows, showed less readiness to discuss new topics.

When I noticed the difference a TFL Fellow can make in the students’ lives on different levels, I found myself dedicated to make as great impact as possible in my students’ lives.