Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
I want to be a superhero. I want to solve all the world’s problems. I want world peace. I want children all over the world, regardless of race, gender, religion, or culture to grow up without fear or pain. I want them all to have food, all day long, and have fun…of course have an education as well.
Did I add I want a cape to go along with that? And flying abilities would definitely be necessary.
In reality, these are all dreams. But hey, who can blame me for dreaming? Well..not everything is a dream–today I was told essentially I was a superhero to someone. Let me give you the background story…
Last year, I was asked..okay maybe not asked, but “coerced” (in a good way of course) to teach Sunday School at my local mosque. To be honest, I was apprehensive about teaching, especially when I was told I would be teaching first grade Quran memorization and Quranic arabic. That year I was MSA President at my university, a Biochemistry major in my Junior year, working on top of that, and many more things that I can’t even begin to remember. So trust me when I say, my plate was full and I was just topping it off.
The first day of class was nervewracking for me, as much as it probably was for the kids. Some of them came in with that apprehensive look on their face, but quickly warmed up as soon as I talked to them. Others were not so quick to warm up, one of them especially broke my heart when he started to tear up. So on the spot I decided to play a game; one that sometimes I wonder why I did…I asked the kids to stand in a circle, tell me their name, and their favorite something (animal, color, car, etc.). My favorite response was from a child named Adam, he told me his name was Adam and his favorite animal was a “cock-a-roach”. I couldn’t even keep a straight face to thank him and move on–all the kids started giggling, except that one little boy with tears in his eyes.
After that game, we played the “Let’s guess how old Sr. Sara is” game. That my friends, was a complete FAILURE! Talk about wanting to make you feel old, never ask kids under the age of 15 how old they think you are. Here is the responses I initially got: 30, 35, 32, 40, 41, 45, etc. And then one student goes “OH OH OH OH!! I KNOW SISTER SARA! I KNOW!!” So I called on him…only to my dismay, he yells “YOU’RE 60 YEARS OLD!!! I KNEW IT!” Sad to say, he was wrong, about 40 years off the mark, but hey what’s 40 years when you’re only 7? The whole class busted out laughing when I pretended to sulk in the corner because they couldn’t guess that I’m 20.
As the semester went on, I started to have more and more kids added to my class. I ended up with about 28 first graders, and without a TA. Did I also mention I taught them for 2 hours STRAIGHT!? Talk about a sore throat! I had some wild children in there–but overall my kids were awesome. I loved them…one of them turned out to be my neighbor! Which when your student comes over to play with your little brother and you have no clue, and walk down in a ratty sweatshirt and sweatpants half asleep…it tends to break that teacher-student bond of “we’re not cool like that”
I had one student that came almost in the middle of the year and she was really shy. Right away I picked up that she was already ahead of the class, which was fine because half my class was ahead and the other half was like wayyyy behind. It balanced out. Her mother used to be in and out of the classroom, one of those awesome involved parents that you could easily talk to without feeling like you were being judged as a teacher. Nonetheless, it was great having parents like that, that took interest in things we were doing and offered to help at any chance. (This is not making any claim on the parents I didn’t see, I’m just appreciating those who I knew of).
The point of this story is this:
Today I went to Sunday School, this year I’m not teaching–I evaluate students from KG-3rd grade on their improvement throughout the year on Quran memorization and reading to make sure we are all working on one curriculum and maintaining it.
And today I found out I was a superhero.
My students; like the shy boy who was crying on the first day of school last year, ran up and hugged me today. The little girl who came in the middle of the year, her mother (who has become a friend of mine) told me today that the reason her daughter came to Sunday School every Sunday last year, was because of me. That same little girl wanted me to have lunch with her today.
I found out I don’t need a cape or flying abilities (though they would be nice) to be a superhero. All I have to do is teach some kids some Quran, which by itself is a miracle and blessing of Allah, and let them try to guess my age from time to time.