From Volunteer to a Very Own Classroom: Ahmad's TYO Journey
During my third year at An Najah National University, several of my friends began to volunteer as both translators and volunteers at Tomorrow's Youth Organization- and after I heard about some of their work, I was inspired to start volunteering myself. Since I was studying English language and literature, I felt the experience would improve my language skills, and help me grow professionally. After that first session as a volunteer with the International Internship Program, I knew I needed my time at TYO to continue- it was an excellent learning opportunity, and I forged strong bonds with both fellow Palestinians, as well as international interns. The experience also helped me secure my first job as a public school teacher in Palestine- and instilled in me the strong value of creativity, critical thinking, and cognitive development. Yet while I wanted to take those values into my classroom at the public school, I struggled with the different teaching methods and lack of resources that didn't allow me to emphasize early childhood development in my class. I wanted to utilize the techniques and concepts that I'd gained at TYO, because I knew how needed it was to start children on the right track in their educations.
So recently, I was thrilled to become an official employee of TYO- and I just began my first session as a Core Child Program teacher. After my time as a volunteer, it is an honor to join the team full-time. Most importantly, though, is the ability to invest full-time in the lives of children in our classroom.
While volunteering at TYO helped me grow professionally and personally, it's also taught me the importance of early childhood development, and showed me the strong impact that short-term interventions can have on children. In my classroom this session, we are focusing on themes like community and communication- through these, we are working to instill a strong sense of identity, and promote healthy emotional expression. To accomplish this, we use a variety of activities and games, like creating art projects that promote community, and designing family trees on the computer to boost IT skills as well as instill a sense of belonging. I'm privileged to yet again be emphasizing the needed mental and emotional skills for early childhood development, and feel as though we have a valuable role in Palestine's future.
So while it's my first time as a teacher in the Core Program, it's not the first time I've witnessed the impact made by TYO's programs- it's remarkable to watch children I've worked around for years continue to grow and make good progress in their behaviors, and there's no greater blessing than seeing a smile that you helped put on a child's face.
Ahmad Bshara is a Core Program Child Teacher at TYO. Above, he shares his journey from TYO volunteer to teacher, and how it has impacted his understanding of early childhood development.