A Day to Appreciate our Teachers
Our teachers do so much for us, as students.
They are our means of knowledge, the ones in whom we place our trust, grant our (mostly) undivided attention and look up to as practical role models – real people.
As students, we are aware that we need to look beyond only accumulating knowledge and scoring high marks. Bringing home an impressive report card or fancy titles is not the desired measure of our success.
Although excellence is something a Muslim must strive for, we are reminded by our very teachers that our score is kept with Allah, and that is the true test.
I’ll be honest.
This reminder does ease the academic pressure a little. But it also opens the doors to all sorts of students, young and old, new and experienced. More importantly, it reminds us to make sure that study of the Qur’an is more than an academic exercise and that it actually changes our hearts – our characters – how we live in relation to others and Allah (swt).
Serious stuff aside, our teachers are so much more to us than just that. Allow me to elaborate. They arrive each day to their class of eager students waiting to grasp whatever knowledge they intend to share in their own endearing way. After a year of sitting in the seat of a student, we have grown to know our teachers well – their unique natures and eccentricities.
Using these insights, we planned a super fun Teacher Appreciation Day, which sounds a bit fluffy, but was really just an opportunity to mix heartfelt thank you’s with a round of Fun Awards and way too much food. One of the students suggested that we cater only wholesome food options (because Zahraa Institute is cool like that); to which another responded, “But it’s Christmas, Zurina”. Hilarious. Yes, our end-of-year class party slash Teacher Appreciation Day was going to be a festive one, filled with ‘you’re off-the-hook for now’, treats.
So fast forward to the party and the Fun Awards.
Whereas we, as students, would be receiving certificates for completing the first-year Qur’an Focus Course, we awarded each teacher a special certificate reflecting their achievements.
The Lady with the Lamp Award went to Mu’allima Radia, for her voice like a Nightingale and her unconditional concern for everyone, nurturing the light within. Ml. Ielhaam took away The Jihaadi Warrior Award. She won this title hands-down, having led us through so many battle stories found in the Qur’an. For all of the other juicy stories intertwined with Arabic Grammar, our Nahw teacher, received The Storyteller Award. As her chapter with Zahraa Institute drew to a close (we were her final students), we are sure that her stories will always be with us when we travel through the Qur’an, inshaAllah.
The Special Effects Award went to Ml. Gairiyah. Sharp as a whip, far too insightful than we could keep up with and possibly a ballerina in another life, her classes were always littered with her own sounds, gestures, skips and jumps – bringing the Qur’an to life.
On a lighter note, Ml. Faatin, a beautiful example to aspire to, was awarded The Nunu Niswa Award. As our Sarf (Arabic Morphology) teacher, she had a knack for finding creative ways to make each lesson stick in our memories. After her adorable, albeit accidental request for us to, “Now, repeat after Mummy” while reciting our Sarf scales, we couldn’t resist following her learning methods. To help us remember the ‘Nunu Niswa’ concept found in Sarf, she would always associate it with a visual of a pretty flower.
Because it sounds pretty, right?
Next, Ml. Hajr was awarded our version of The Masters Award (in advance) for completion of her Master’s Degree and owing to her being a master in teaching. How could she not be, when she’s always remarking, “Hai, you’re such a smart class!”. Yes, our teachers are always right.
For traversing through the Qur’an with us on reflective adventures, Ml. Saffaa was granted the Dora, the Explorer Award. Her appetite for historic and geographic things in nature, mapped our way through several chapters of the Qur’an. Bringing a contemporary spin to our classes, Ml. Malikah, received The Timeless Award, because of her timeless advice that was relevant to so many of us, whether in reference to the One Direction boyband or the struggles faced by parents and their children. In her absence, The Trevor Noah Award went to Ml. Shaaista, our fast-talking and even funnier teacher, “for always making us laugh and being an awesome narrator”. Lastly, in answer to the riddle, “Who’s the bomb?”, Ml. Laylah received The Dynamite Comes in Small Packages Award.
Why? One student explained: “She may be small in stature, but when teaching, she transforms into a knowledge giant that makes everyone stop to listen”.
These are our teachers. With our associations of them rooted in their unique natures and eccentricities, I doubt we’ll ever forget them.