Teaching is one of the most influential and underrated jobs in the United States. Many students see education as a means to an end. However, in other parts of the world, individuals see this completely different. In 2018, I was given the opportunity to teach English in Thailand, Jordan, Mongolia, China, and Cambodia. What I experienced overseas were smiling faces, eager hearts, and open minds. To Asian peoples, an English education is access to a better life, and as English teachers, we have an opportunity to give them that.
An English teacher must be willing to learn more than teach. Coming from the United States, I have a specific view on how people ‘should’ be or act. However, that is not how other peoples view the world. They are coming from a different culture with different core beliefs and values. Thus, those factors will affect their education. It is pertinent that teachers try to learn their students’ beliefs and values and integrate those into their teaching.
In Jordan, I taught refugee women coming from Syria. As Middle Eastern women, they often have the responsibility to watch after their children while their husbands are working. Sometimes the women needed to bring their children to class because they could not afford a nanny. In a normal American classroom, having a child sit in on a class would be considered strange or even rude. However, for these women to receive their education, they needed to make do with what they had. As a teacher in a foreign context, I believe it is important for us to meet students where they are at, specifically understanding where they are coming from. And THIS is how to build relationships and to offer healing.
Living in the Levant area will not be an easy endevaor. However, with the correct team, right skills, and love of God, I believe mountains can be moved. I wish to see women, as well as men, in the Middle East feeling confident to express who they are in God and start the walk of true faith. The mission is to build up the Middle East with love and true life through servant leadership;to grow spiritually, to learn humbly, and move only by God's grace.