Summer is quickly winding down. As it comes to an end, the one thing on many people’s minds is going back to school. For me this doesn’t just mean going back to classes in college, but also going back to substituting for public schools, and going back to teach at the Saturday School at the local masjid. ( I want to be an Islamic school teacher, just in case anyone’s wondering why I love schools so much) 🙂
I’m 100% sure that one of my friends in particular will be very happy to read that this year, Insha’Allah, I will be going back to teach at Saturday School. (She knows who she is) The kids are ages 6-9 (1-3 grades). This is actually a relativley new Islamic weekend school in our community and is a branch of the local masjid.
I’ve taught at the masjid’s Sunday School for the past 3 years as a 1st grade teacher. I took off last year, but I really began to miss the whole Sunday School experience.
I realize that Weekend Schools at the masjid have MANY problems, but like one of my friends told me: you can’t just leave and expect to come back to perfect bliss. You have to work really hard as a teacher to improve anything you don’t like about the school.
One thing that is very true is that the students NEED to have teachers who can relate…in short they need teachers who were also born and raised in America and went to public schools. While teachers from abroad do put in a noble effort in doing their best, it can be a much more fruitful year if the teacher has a good understanding of where the kids are coming from.
One of the things I really loved about Sunday/Saturday schools was lesson planning! 🙂 Although this doesn’t sound like the funnest thing to do in your free time, it’s actually very engaging. It opens up the creative side of you (especially if you’re teaching younger kids who can barely read or write). You learn a lot about the students and their learning styles and how to tweak your teaching methods to encompass their differences.
I’ve always tried to make my classroom at weekend school as close to public school as posssible (in terms of procedures). We have morning work, homework folders, awards, treasure chests, newsletters, and the list goes on. I feel that the kids take you much more serious if you actually have a set schedule and know what you’re doing.
One thing I found annoying was how there is a lack of resources for Islamic weekend school teachers. One must realize that you’re only with the kids for 3 hours (actual teaching time is probably 2 hours) and only once a week. Absences are very common and homework is usually taken lightly. Many parents are not too serious about weekend school and treat it more like a daycare. However, I would also like to say that there are many parents who love getting involved with their child’s Islamic education and well being. They are always involved with the teachers and usually the ones who choose to volunteer. I love the Islamic textbooks that have come out, but they really aren’t well suited for the weekend school style. I usually would make my own worksheets on the computer and just teach with those. I always wanted to post them online, so that if any other teachers were struggling with coming up with lesson plans, they could take ideas from something I have. Rest assured that Insha’Allah I plan on putting up my lesson plans and worksheets on this blog. I hope they help out Insha’Allah. 🙂
Insha’Allah I get my class curriculum next week! I can’t wait to see what becomes of this year and will keep posting about my experiences as a Saturday school teacher for 2008-2009. 🙂