Kingdom of the Sun Theme: Education- The Love of Teaching

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Dear Readers,

Like this blog, the theme of education and what it means “to be educated” is strongly present in my book Kingdom of the Sun (to be published soon).  The love of teaching is of course significant in that one should, or as some would say, love what they do.  In order to be successfully and truly influential as a teacher and educator, I do believe that one has to have a love and connection for what they are doing.  However, I would like to discuss the love of teaching as it pertains to receiving it.  My thoughts and words are not only based on my past experiences of being a student, but on my most recent experiences of witnessing this love through the eyes of a volunteer ESL teacher.

For a short time, I was an ESL teacher to a group of 30+ adult immigrants and refugees from all over the world.  Before I was to actually teach them, I had stopped in two days prior to observe the class and meet the teacher that I would be subbing for.  On that day, I had spent some time alone with them for about half an hour before their teacher arrived, and as soon as I stepped in the classroom, I immediately noticed an energy and atmosphere that was different than anything I had ever experienced.

These students had joy, radiance, excitement, and most of all, they had respect, admiration, and gratitude.  All of them.  I was simply an observer that day, but it was not long before I was called something that I didn’t quite expect or see myself, something that Christ Himself was called: “Teacher.”  And so, it was no surprise that my heart actually fluttered, and a form of love that I did not anticipate was conceived.  I found that love growing each time they smiled wide and their eyes lit up when they saw me.  I found it growing when they thanked me when they understood something, when they thanked me at the end of the day, and when they thanked as they placed their hands over their hearts.

I constantly found myself comparing these students and their behavior to students that I was surrounded with in the past.  There were of course those who had respect and gratitude, but this was mostly not the case, especially for substitutes.  I thought about those substitutes and educators whose first days and experiences of teaching were not as joyful as mine.  I thought of them and thanked God for being truly blessed.

Once this experience was over, I then thought about how what I was doing for these students was no different than what my teachers and professors of the past did for me.  But why was the reception so different?  As I’m sure you can imagine, these ESL students are in this new place, virtually new world, and are dependent on the teacher for guidance and support to ultimately survive and prosper in their new lives (and for many of them, it was the first education they had received).  Yet, this was mostly the same for me when I was a student.  So, what is the underlying difference here?  Well, I think this answer lies in just one of the main issues with education today.  There is a poem written by a high school student that discusses how he sits in class all day, bored and pretending to be interested when all he wants is to learn something that can better himself and his life, something that he cares about.

The poem can be found here: High School

What if the education system was less about numbers and placement standings, and more about giving students what they want and need?  What if we were to listen to these students and their needs, and help them follow their own path?  Would we see changes in behavior as well as joy and passion in our students?  My experience as a teacher has strengthened the fire in me to teach and inspire through my words because with them I hold the power to change hearts, minds, and the world.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

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Posted on June 24, 2013, in About Me, Education, Kingdom of the Sun and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Love your passion. Have you watched the Hindi movie, English Vinglish? All about an Indian’s tourist’s journey to New York and her need to be able to communicate with those around her. A lovely touching movie about teaching, learning and love and respect. Look forward to seeing your book.

    • Thank you so much for your compliment.

      I have not seen the movie, but I just checked iTunes and they have it! The trailer looks great. I’ll be watching it this week. Thanks so much for recommending it!

      I incorporated Japanese and Malayalam speech in Kingdom of the Sun as a way to signify the importance and influence of language, so I look forward to learning some Hindi!

      Peace and Blessings

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog! My late grandma told all her gandkids to learn as knowledge is the best asset that we could have and not like money, people could cheat or steal your money but no one could ever steal your knowledge! Good on you!

    • That is very true! Your grandmother was very wise.

      I thank you for visiting my blog as well and commenting. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

      Peace and Blessings!

  3. Hi, Ariffa, thanks for stopping by my blog recently. 🙂

    This post holds a lot of truth in it about today’s education. I agree with you.

    Education should be based on what the students really need, not only within the classroom but also when they go out after their years of schooling. Help bring out their true potentials, and help them find their own voice and discover their own wings so they can head for their dreams. And make themselves and their lives better, as the high school student says.

    • Hi Melisa,

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment!

      I absolutely agree that education should be more about helping students find their own way instead of about test scores.

      Peace and Blessings!

  4. What an interesting essay. Going to university, I find one commonality with all my professors in their teacher/student relationship; if you care, they care!! (I’m saying this on a basis of comradery that’s a shared item between them and me due to age and life experience.) At times we, my instructors and I, speak of the younger students hung-up in the “make-it or break-it world of “Academic success” and the “circus” it has become. They all agree on one thing: “if the student shows he or she is willing to work – no matter the barriers that lie before them – the professors will take them by the hand and work towards their success. But, I’ve also found this: if a student abuses that which is offered – it will probably never be offered again.
    The biggest problem most young people of our nation suffer is ignorance to what reality really is.
    Best!
    G.

    • Yes! I cannot agree more that most students have no real sense of reality. It is partially due to them being fed lies and partially due to their upbringing. For example, the belief that working hard will always pay off was instilled in me and it remains today…I’m not sure it’s like that for most students unfortunately.

  1. Pingback: Light on the Way: Kingdom of the Sun Available on 10/14/12 | Hope, Honor, and Happiness

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