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.
By Farah Mhanna, Cohort 6 Fellow
May 18th, 2015
Nader Association is an orphanage that aims to protect and educate children with serious social problems. These children are at risk of delinquency, and this association provides them with shelter and care. When I first came to Nader Association, I noticed the aggressive attitude of most of the students. This is because they come from a difficult socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Some students are orphans, others live at the orphanage because their parents can’t afford taking care of them.
As a Teach For Lebanon Fellow, my mission is to help these children not only on the academic level, but on the human level as well.
To enhance their sense of creativity, I decided to lead a painting project “Paint and Learn” to help the students change their vision towards the world and towards the core values in life. I wanted them to see the colorful side of life.
Together we painted the school playground walls with colorful drawings about the values, and I gave the students the opportunity to unleash their imagination and to participate in decorating their playground ( stairs, wheels)
I have planned and managed the project, and with the collaboration of the talented artists team of AIE Tripoli club, the project was successfully implemented.
The school administration was unable to cover the costs of the project, and I had no time to find a fundraiser. I decided to take charge of the financial support.
It was the first time I see my students energetic and enthusiastic about something. There weren’t fights during the recess. They were playing together or looking at the painted walls and discussing the paintings. It was the first time I felt that I could really touch their minds.
Every long-term impact needs time to be noticed. I think I have taken the right decision when I chose the colors to be the seeds of happiness and hope for children.