Speaker: Khalida Qattash

Long before pursuing a B.A. degree in Literature, and an M.A. in Education, Mrs. Qattash knew she wanted to teach. As a student, the idea of taking without giving has always been a haunting one that led her, early in life, to the conclusion that learning has to be reciprocal even if one is a teacher, especially when one is to be a teacher; people don’t grow otherwise. Accordingly, Khalida’s journey, which started as a substitute teacher in public schools, to her position now at The Ahliyyah School for Girls as a teacher of Language, Literature, and Theory of Knowledge and Head of the Library and Media Center, has enabled her to crystallize what she consider to be her mission in life: to provoke. She has learned throughout this journey that change is a constant a person must embrace to develop. As a result, each day, semester, year, and course is a new one that invites exploration, reflection, and transformation. Mrs. Qattash’s fifteen years of experience in teaching feel to her as if they began yesterday.

Mrs. Qattash believes that another corner stone in teaching/learning is that it is ongoing, and the only way to keep it as such is to sustain the passion for learning. It does not stop when one reaches the last page of a book, or the end of the school year; it actually starts there. She also believes there is always more, because the difference between an education and learning is that the culmination of the former only testifies what one knows theoretically, while the latter enables one to demonstrate that his/her productivity lives beyond the test of time. Perhaps this is why she says she can claim that passion is the number one qualification to being creative. Mrs. Qattash considers other requirements, ignited by passion, to be the ability to innovate, diversify and read reality well enough to be proactive.

Khalida deems it a rule of thumb that if the teacher can do it students can do it, and this too is reciprocal. They both learn life skills together in a process governed by their humaneness, ethical inclinations and love. When she writes poetry, her students converse with her in poetic lines. And as they do their technological magic, her IT literacy evolves. They learn and teach, teach and learn constantly and the relationships continue to be, despite the physical and/or time boundaries. Mrs. Qattash’s final proclamation is that she finds pride in her ex-students, who have graduated and now teach her own daughters by her side as colleagues; and- in her words- “as they grow, I too am growing younger, richer, and more enthusiastic to give”.

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