Posts in STEP! II
The Power of Teaching: A Gift That Gives Years Later

As a child growing up in New York City enrolled in the public school system, I changed schools at every level of education (i.e. Elementary, Middle and High school). This meant I sat in the classrooms of upwards of 50 different teachers. Some of these teachers I liked, while some less so. Then there were some who changed my life. The most prominent being my high school Global History teacher, Mr. Moscow.

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Life May Not Always Be a Party, But While Here, Let's Dance... Dabka!

Life for a vast number of human beings all over the world may not be the party they hoped for. The road to success is wild, unexpected and plenty of obstacles to overcome. My Colombian compatriots, just like my new Palestinian friends here at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, understand the meaning of being challenged by life day in and day out and this is why I believe we connected from the very beginning. Since the moment I arrived in Nablus, I got enchanted by the smiles and energy of the people, their kindness and their powerful will to help each other.

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The Power of the Student

After classes let out on the last day of summer EFL classes at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, I went back to sit in my classroom. For eight weeks I’d led a class of amazing, strong women and earlier in the day I’d watched as they recited poetry, did a powerful skit, and gave a speech on women’s rights. Afterward, we played Apples to Apples and said our goodbyes. And there I was again.

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Growing By Leaps and Bounds

On the last day of class, I instructed my students to not only stand in a circle, but literally tie themselves together using a piece of light blue yarn. The yarn was short and didn’t quite reach all the way around all twelve of us while still leaving room between my students. Therefore, as each student wound the yarn through a button hole on their jacket or a shoelace, we were forced to renegotiate the distance and come closer together.

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When an Opportunity Presents Itself: The Success Story of Haneen Zitawi

Haneen Zitawi is from Jamma’in, a village outside of Nablus. She attended Al-Quds Open University and graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Teaching Methods. She learned of Tomorrow’s Youth Organization when she saw an ad on Facebook published by Al Quds Open University advertising volunteer opportunities working with children. Haneen plans to be a teacher in the future and wanted to know how to deal with students and children and learn how to solve problems in the classroom.

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A Change For the Better

As one of the final assignments I gave to my elementary EFL class this session, I tasked my students with writing a poem in the form of a letter to one person who changed their life in some way. The only parameter to the assignment was that it outline the impact that this individual had  made on their life trajectory— that is, that they clearly describe themselves both before and after the change had been made.

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9 Weeks is a Short Time

9 weeks is a short time, and every successive week of this fellowship felt as if it went faster than the last. First and foremost, I am grateful to have been given the time and resources to live in and explore Palestine and the myriad issues facing its people with patience and tact. There is no doubt in my mind that I have just scraped the surface, but, again, 9 weeks is a short time.

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Creating Culture Vultures

The Step II EFL instructors at TYO use many methods to inspire and encourage their students’ English Language Learning. Language learning should be enjoyable, as well as academic. Therefore, the English Fellows at TYO incorporate various mediums in our classrooms, including music and movies. These alternative teaching tools enable our students to hear different native English speakers with varying accents and cadences, familiarize themselves with informal phrases and tones, and discuss various cultures. It also breaks up our day and brings more laughter into our classrooms

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Humans of Nablus 27

Tomorrow's Youth Organization is investing in the Palestinian leaders of the future, and I want to be part of that process. I want to make a lasting difference in the community by helping others. The real meaning of happiness is in helping those in need, and I am happy here at TYO because I was given the opportunity to collaborate with amazing youth to help children grow in a better environment.

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Getting Comfortable in the Classroom

My students love to laugh. Every day in class they will erupt into laughter multiple times over. Their laughter makes the classroom a comfortable and exciting space.

Students’ comfort in the classroom is one of the strongest tools to build as a teacher. The ability to push their levels of communication and creativity intensifies when they are at ease with the rest of the class, when they feel free to laugh and make jokes.

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Humans of Nablus 26

I came back for a second class because I benefited so much from the first one. I am more experienced in the language now and the methods used at TYO are different than other places. At school we just read from the book, a very traditional way of teaching.  At TYO, teaching is given in a fun way through activities. We learn vocabulary while playing- learning and playing at the same time. 

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Striking a Balance

Across the education field, a major shift in focus is taking place: while the teacher was once viewed as the sole purveyor of all knowledge, with learners sitting passively as empty vessels, we now consider students’ active participation in classroom activities to be of central importance to the learning process. As such, teachers are now increasingly viewed as facilitators of educational experiences, by which which students inquire, experiment, and, ultimately, discover new ideas for themselves.

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Humans of Nablus 25

When I graduated from university, I wanted to work in Dubai with my brother. I went, but I wasn’t able to stay because I didn’t have good English speaking skills. So now, I work with my father in his restaurant during the week and with an electricity company on the weekends. I am studying English at TYO because I want to try to go abroad again. I love my city and my country, but I need my brother’s help.

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From the "English Only Zone" to the World

“Salut! Vous êtes là pour le cours?” asked me my language teacher in my first French course at the university ten years ago. I must admit, I froze up and looked at her with shy and timorous eyes, while searching deep in my mind and childhood memories for an appropriate answer. I was lost in one of those rare moments when you don't know what to respond or even how to react. Just like me at that time, the incursion into the world of bilingualism for plenty of new language learners may not be a very pleasant experience.

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Slowly, Slowly

It’s another day of English class for the STEP! II students at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization. Four weeks into classes, the atmosphere now is different from that of the first day: less jittery and excited to be sure, but much more comfortable, and therefore even more productive. The past month has been a whirlwind of learning: for four hours, every Monday through Thursday, students of all levels have been engaging with English.

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Humans of Nablus 23

I love working with the kids at TYO because they have so much respect for the rules. I want to put these rules in every school in Palestine. For example, the kids only eat healthy foods, and they always clean their hands before and after eating. We have an expression in Arabic that says that teaching little kids is like carving into a stone, because once they learn the rules, they never forget them.

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The Positive Power of Yes: The Success Story of Waed Bsharat

Waed Bsharat is from a village called Tammun. She recently graduated with a degree in business administration from Al Quds Open University in Tubas. She heard about Tomorrow’s Youth Organization from a friend, who said that TYO was a fun and interesting place to volunteer. Waed always volunteered at the university because it was required, but had never volunteered because she wanted to do something for herself.

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