However, lately I woke up! Something happened in my life that turned my beliefs upside down. Precisely, it was an event that took place on December 1st, 2012, the day I won the Microsoft Innovative Educator Award: 2nd runner up in the knowledge construction and critical thinking category. This award was the key to open a new window to a whole new world…. A window that held magical powers and could change in me the teacher I am; the teacher who has always been focusing on her students’ academic performance, and attitude towards learning … this teacher whose only concern was that her students will be able to challenge their world in order to design a better future and a higher quality life. Why? Simply because I discovered what is more important than teaching!
In Lebanon, teaching is a very hard profession, a remarkable number of teachers are underpaid, and they work in extremely stressful situations controlled by the continuous electricity cut off, the economic situation that pushes every teacher to work in so many schools to provide his family with the necessary needs, and the unpredicted security surprises that can keep students for weeks at home. Delivering workshops to teachers in such conditions and asking them to innovate is like asking a starving individual to enjoy the charm of music.
I have always felt home when I step into my classroom, but I have never wondered if there is something better than that till I tried, experienced and lived it. Stepping into the training room during my first workshop delivered to Lebanese teachers after my award winning was like stepping on the clouds… and as it sounds… a cloud is too fragile to make you fall and too magical to raise you beyond!
It took me just one workshop to feel the magic; I have never expected that my inspiration can be that contagious. Not only Microsoft award defined the headlines of my innovation in teaching, but it was also my passport to the inspiration of many other teachers to let them discover by themselves that little innovative teacher found in each and every one of them! In no time, we could create a community of the Lebanese Innovative Teachers that is now growing to reach teachers from different region of Lebanon. Our following workshops proved the persistence of the teachers to share experiences in order to improve the learning and teaching cycles in their classrooms. Even outside the workshops, meeting over coffee was a platform for these teachers to spread the positive energy and the will to become better teachers! One teacher, Heba, once sent me a message after a meeting over a project saying: “I always enjoy working with you because this breaks the yearly routine and makes me fresh!” It is not that easy to push the trigger to innovation, it is never easy to inspire others and make changes in adults. Teaching is great… but what is far better… is inspiring other teachers. When inspiration infects teachers, the effect is doubled. When I see the work of the students of teachers I mentor, I can really touch the sky. Now, my mission is no more limited to the students I teach in my own classes, it is being amplified and propagating irrespective of time, space and individuals! All in all, what is better than being an innovative educator… is being an expert educator! Thank you Microsoft for letting me live the experience and propagate the inspiration.