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The teacher’s Diary: kintsugi, the philosophy of my choice

As a philosophy, kintsugi can be seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.source: Wikipedia

No one escapes life unbroken. We all come across hardships and tragedies that break something within our soul. Most of the times, when we move on, we carry the scars with us and try to hide them, pretending they’re not there. We feel compelled to act “normal” and “forget” what we went through. And most of the time, we fail!

I am now convinced that this is really what we do wrong: moving on does not mean hiding what we went through as if nothing ever did, but it means embracing our mistakes and scars and experiences as part of who we are. Those scars, when accepted, will define who we are because they are so special and cannot be repeated or recreated ever again. When we accept the beauty of our imperfections, the artful combination of our shortcomings and insecurities will finally stop haunting us and start to become a source of pride and hope.

As a teacher, I strive to teach this philosophy to my kids and live by it every single day. Life becomes much easier when we accept that mistakes are bound to happen, and learning from those mistakes will always make us better people.

The Teacher’s Diary: How teaching taught me lessons

It is not often people understand the fact that getting a degree, finding a job, and building a future does not mean you have the answers to all the questions. It is plainly logical to me that a person is alive only if he learned a bit every day.

In my early education years, once I figured I would irrevocably become a teacher, I came across a quote I really liked and used in my final project:
“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” ~ Richard Henry Dann.
Although this may seem odd to you, I never fully understood this until I became a teacher.
The fact that each year, a student(or many) will help you become a better teacher is not an illusion, it’s a fact. There is only one condition for this to work though: you must let them..
Over time, I noticed how stubborn and unyielding teachers may become; they would get “used” to teaching in “their way” so much that they will think it is THE way to teach.. they would even try to convince you to try it, after all it did “work” for them for so many years.. it must be the “right” way..
Teacher all over the world, my message to you (and me ) would be this: Never forget that teaching involves two sides, and to be stuck on your side for so long will compromise your ability to inspire.. isn’t that why we teach in the first place? Inspire?

This year was full of challenges, both on the personal and professional levels, but the most exceptional thing happened: I  learnt a few valuable lessons from my students that made it worth while..

I learnt how much my country is important to me, even when i try to deny it, even when i hate it, even when i wish i can leave it… I learnt that from a little grade 6 amazing girl who was syrian and who left school. She said to me before school ended: “You are supposed to endure the bad things in your country. Because it is yours, you are lucky to be home!” I felt humbled and took what she said, carved it into my heart, so that I can always rely on it whenever my country depresses me.. Thank you sweet Mona!

I learnt compassion is ageless.. at a time where my mom was struggling with a respiratory disease that kept her away from us ( and caused my absence from school at times) I was surprised with the reaction of a grade 7 student, who kept asking every day, until one day he told me: “I pray that your mom goes home soon, I can’t imagine my home without mom!” I felt human, and once again humbled by the sweet prayer: it meant so much to the tired, overworked, overdepressed teacher i was back then. I really appreciate it Rachid!

I learnt I am more than just a teacher, to some students I was an example! Students are smarter than you think (beware!) And every once in a while, you’d be surprised by a student who will stand up to you and say: “if that was true, why don’t you do it?” You would feel ashamed because you dared preach what you are not in fact applying.. for that lesson, I am grateful to you Majd..

My discovery of the year is finally this: I am in debt to all of my students, because they helped me become a better teacher- and a better person. As a matter of fact, I highly have a single doubt anymore that teaching is a one way highstreet.. it actually goes both ways!