A shelter in a teacher's heart

teacher.jpg

© UNESCO

It was going to be a typical school year, with typical lesson plans and typical classes. However, it wasn't. It was 15 August 2013. The Syria crisis was at its peak and waves of refugees were arriving in Jordan. Under a project funded by the European Union, the UNESCO Amman Office began offering a professional development training course to prepare teachers for the Syrian students that would be entering Jordanian public schools. I was one of the lucky teachers involved.
One August day, Raneem, a fifteen-year-old girl opened her eyes in a new country. She had to walk on different roads, go to a different school and make new friends, leaving behind all the warm memories that she once had in Syria. Until we met, Raneem was shy, unsociable and anxious. It was then that I realized the tremendous impact of the professional development training I had received. Understanding the needs of traumatized children, after all, is not an easy task and managing an inclusive classroom takes a certain skill. By applying the...

It was going to be a typical school year, with typical lesson plans and typical classes. However, it wasn't. It was 15 August 2013. The Syria crisis was at its peak and waves of refugees were arriving in Jordan. Under a project funded by the European Union, the UNESCO Amman Office began offering a professional development training course to prepare teachers for the Syrian students that would be entering Jordanian public schools. I was one of the lucky teachers involved.

One August day, Raneem, a fifteen-year-old girl opened her eyes in a new country. She had to walk on different roads, go to a different school and make new friends, leaving behind all the warm memories that she once had in Syria. Until we met, Raneem was shy, unsociable and anxious. It was then that I realized the tremendous impact of the professional development training I had received. Understanding the needs of traumatized children, after all, is not an easy task and managing an inclusive classroom takes a certain skill. By applying the new techniques I learned during the training course, I was able to engage Raneem in classroom activities and focus on her needs.

Raneem did not only improve academically, she also improved socially. She made a few friends and they used to walk the same roads to school and life suddenly became colorful. They laughed together, dreamt of a better planet where everyone can be sheltered and live peacefully. One day, Raneem told me she wanted to chat. She cried bitterly and she told me that her family had decided to move to Germany and reside there permanently. I validated her fears, and found myself telling her that it doesn't matter where we go; what matters the most are the hearts that shelter us. I asked her to start keeping a diary and she promised that she would become a famous writer one day. She left peacefully after filling the home within me with joy. My heart will never be an empty home; there is always a shelter for those who need it.