It all started two years ago, when I was accepted to take a leadership position as a Teach For Lebanon Fellow. Teaching for two years in a challenging environment and being able to leave a positive impact on my students and my colleagues at school developed my leadership skills. Once the Fellowship was over, I was admitted to the Masters in Business Administration at The American University in Beirut. These acquired leadership skills from my Fellowship enabled me to become the first president of the MBA Students Society and gave me the chance to enjoy my MBA journey.
The MBA Students Society aims to ensuring a unique experience for MBA students by planning entertaining events. MBA students can enjoy their time while developing their soft skills. In addition, the Society aims at organizing professional events where regional speakers can share their struggles and recommendations regarding the business world. Some of the prospective topics are: Entrepreneurship, Women Leadership and PhD programs. Finally, the Society aims at finding solutions side-by-side with the Business School at AUB to provide wider education opportunities for MBA students and rise to international levels.
A final Thank you goes to Ms. Maya El Helo, the Director of Graduate Programs at Olayan School of Business, whose mentorship and enthusiasm aided my success in reaching where I am now.
Being a successful teacher requires good problem solving skills. The fact of having 32 students in grade one drove me crazy. The mission starts where problems arise. Kids talking, misbehaving, moving around, etc. Only few wanted to learn and listen. Being a second-year Fellow, I believe in my abilities and my skills to manage a chaotic classroom. After setting the rules and discussing them with my students on daily basis, the class became much better. However, this wasn’t enough to maintain a peaceful classroom for the whole session. High achievers started to finish their tasks and telltale. Low achievers slept or chatted. Chaos was everywhere while some truly focused on the activities given. My creativity and productivity fell into hands.
I needed to find a way to solve my problem, so I invented what so called an “Activity basket” and “collector basket”. The procedure was the following: every time a student finishes his task, he checks whether the activity basket is free. If yes, the student move silently and choose either an activity-sheet or a white paper. Meanwhile, his peers complete their work. When he’s done with the activity-sheet, the student must place it in the collector basket. My role is to collect the sheets from this basket every Friday. Points will be given to those who followed the procedure without causing any mess in the classroom. At the end of the semester, a reward is granted to the students who deserve it depending on the number of points they obtained. This way, I was able to ensure quality time and a well-managed classroom within a given framework.
A Mirror of a Two- Year Fellowship
“The average of unemployment rate in Lebanon was 7.8% in the past ten years”. You read such fact in a newspaper or hear it from the public when you are a senior student, and the panic starts. It is not always easy to choose your career path as a senior or a fresh graduate. There are always many possibilities. Teach For Lebanon recruitment team have visited our university and introduced their vision and mission to us. It was actually very impressive to know that someone is supporting youth in Lebanon. I am a huge defender of the “theory of change” that they adopt.
The matriculation events arranged by Teach For Lebanon (TFL) were very helpful to break the ice among the Fellows. As the summer institute started, we were already familiar with each other. The whole atmosphere felt a bit odd at the beginning, but the way the education team worked with us day by day helped re-tailor my whole thought of living with these people. Although we met only few weeks ago, we started to feel more like a family!
As the summer school started, we were already well introduced to many concepts of the classroom management and the way our lessons should be planned. We were also introduced to the background of SOS students whom we were supposed to encounter during our summer school training. It was the first time for most of us to teach, to ask children from a completely different background to line up in the morning. It wasn’t easy to let them listen to us explaining lessons.We were working day and night to achieve the goals we have set to benefit these children. They have shown us a great potential and huge margin of progress throughout the three weeks. In three weeks, we were able to see a reflection of what we might be able to do in two years of Fellowship.
Going the Extra Mile
By the end of my last year as a cohort six Fellow at Teach For Lebanon, I have decided to make a formal house visit to Madian El-Masri, one of Saida Generations School students. Madian has always had a very poor academic performance at the school and had a negative behavioral influence on the rest of his classmates. Failing grades one and two, Madian made me very curious to understand further the reasons behind this. Madian lives in a small apartment shared with two other families. He comes from a background where higher education is considered a luxury.
After giving the parents recommendations on how to establish discipline for their son using an appropriate consequences and rewards system with an emphasis on the importance of consistency, Madian introduced me to his elder brother Abed El-Masri. Abed is a grade seven student and is very talented as an inventor. During the visit, Abed showed me some of his inventions: A telephone box which provides a 3D image, a portable speaker that has an internal rechargeable battery and can work through cable or Bluetooth connection and a lock that requires a series of numbers to unlock.
Watching as Abed explains the inventions’ mechanisms, I was disappointed to notice many financial and social obstacles. Contacting Teach For Lebanon regarding his case, I have received the contact information of Nawaya Organization ;an NGO that deals with talented children who lack guidance and other forms of support.
Nawaya Organization was very receptive. I met with them and discussed Abed’s situation. Nawaya Organization sent a social worker to meet Abed and his family, and they decided to involve Abed in a training workshop. The workshop intends to teach Abed how to apply his inventions to the local market, connect him with other talented children across Saida and Lebanon and teach him necessary skills utilized in such fields.
Abed plans to pursue his higher studies and major in engineering at a well-established university. Now, I am confident that through this training, the continuous follow-up and Abed’s determination, Abed will achieve his vision.