Being a student and also a teacher in Saudi Arabia has taught me a lot of experiences that have made life so meaningful. It has been like an investment that the society made which I had to pay back. When I look back, I can admit that there are certain things as a student that you can’t understand about teachers until when you are in their positions. The experiences that I went through when I was a student have made me to be a better teacher to my students. As I associate more with students, I get to know a lot more about student life which I dint know when I was in their position. This is basically because as a teacher, you get to encounter many other sides of students which you could not when you were personally a student.
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My experience as a student in Saudi Arabia
There are some spectacular events that happened in my school life that have always made me cherish and love Saudi Arabia. Among the many things that have happened in may school life, I remember the day when I was taken to fourth grade simply because I was so sharp in mathematics. I was in third grade at that moment and my teacher thought I would be of great help to the fourth graders. Some of the fourth graders were unable to do the sums but I being a third grader managed it. This made me earn a lot of favor with my teachers especially the one who was teaching me mathematics. I was not only good in mathematics but also other subjects. My performance in my primary level was hence very good.
I also cherish the moments that we were in school due to the closeness that we shared as both pupils and students. Surprisingly, most of us were from the same tribe and hence shared similar language and culture. We were also so close to our teachers that they would not mind giving us lifts during weekends. There was such closeness between our teachers’ parents and pupils which really enhanced the relationship. I remember there was a time I was in the mini market on a weekend doing some shopping that I had been sent by my parents. The teacher spotted me and offered to give me a lift up to home. This is a culture that the teachers have developed towards their students
I was also actively involved in extra curricular activities that were frequently organized by the school. My favorite spotting game was soccer which made me feel relaxed and rejuvenated during weekends and after school. My skills in soccer were also so spectacular that I challenged those that were older than me. I loved to pose a challenge to my seniors not only in my academics but also when in the field playing soccer. This made me earn a lot of respect among my age mates and also favor with my teachers. They just loved my sense of determination and hard work. Knowing I could do much more than my age mates did gave me a lot of motivation and made me believe that I can really purpose to do and achieve anything in my life.
Being a student was really a moment that I cherish in my life considering the lessons that I learned which are beneficial to up to this time. There were a lot of people that I can really credit for my success especially at a very tender age. I remember how my parents were of great support and encouragement to me. They always made me believe that I can record the best performance. My dad always advised me not to be intimidated about anything and always believe in my abilities. My teachers too were of great encouragement to me. They always gave me avenues where I could exercise my intellectual skills. The appreciation that I received from them always made me to work even harder. This also made me to have a number or responsibilities in school including being a class prefect. They looked at me as a responsible person who had the ability of leading the other students. My fellow students usually came to me when they felt like they needed some assistance in their school work. I was always willing to assist them due to the closeness that we shared.
My experience as a teacher
During my graduation as a teacher, there were a lot of things that were running in my mind. It marked a point in my life when I had to pay back to the society. I was thinking a lot a bout my experiences from the time I stated school to that particular moment that I was graduating. I had made in life due to the support I received from my teachers and parents. I was now officially a teacher and was hence to give my students the support that I needed. I purposed to make the students that I will encounter to feel appreciated and motivated to work harder. When I was posted to my first school I started off my work. It was only a matter of time before I received a lot of favor from the students that I taught.
I have always encouraged my students to feel free to ask any question whether it is related to academics or not. When I was a student, my experience with other students taught me how much they expected from their teachers that was not only academic wise. Some of them were going through some issues in their homes and just needed someone that they can share with. Some students were not free with their teachers and hence not able to share with them. This has taught me to be on the lookout and find a way that I can assist students psychologically. I have always counseled students that are not performing well in class by finding out if they have any other issues at home.
I have come to realize as a teacher that poor performance of some students may not only because they are dump in class but because they need more attention. The level at which students comprehend is never the same yet they all need to be given a chance to succeed. They need not only to be understood by their teachers but also make their fellow students to understand them. It is up to the teacher to cultivate that unity and understanding among the students. If the teacher purposes to love his or her students despite their backgrounds and performance in school, they will all treat each other the same. I have purposed to be there for my students and always make them feel that they can make it to any level of academic education that they wish if they are determined.
The ministry of education’s involvement in education
What has also encouraged me about being a teacher and a student in Saudi Arabia is the fact that the government is so much concerned about the academic welfare of the students. This gives the teachers even an easier time to deal with the students. In one of the developments is a ten year plan that runs from 2004-2014 that mentions the educational goals that the government desires to achieve. Some of the objectives and goals that have been set in the system are meant to provide a flexible system that will ensure the educational needs of all ages, genders and all groups of people are met.
Under this plan, children bellow the age of six years were at free will whether to join kindergarten school or not. However, children above the age of six years were eligible for free education especially in public schools. The ministry is also aiming at empowering the country through the provision of education and through other awareness program. The country wants to boast of the ability that it has in providing knowledge to its generations which is necessary for national development (Cordesman, 2003). Under this plan, technical education especially for the girls was to be considered of paramount importance. The education system was also to prepare the students to take both national and international responsibilities. This shall be done by offering scholarships and other opportunities for them to study abroad. The ministry believes that the only way that the students will be adequately equipped is to have a competitive advantage internationally. Students with special needs are also to be catered for in this plan to ensure that they are not deprived. Under this project, more teachers were to be trained to take care of such special needs. Educational facilities together with schools are also to be established to ensure adequate accommodation. The education system also emphasizes on the employment of Islamic values to foster spiritual development of the students. The government will also be an active participant in instilling discipline among schools through proper administration.
Saudi Arabia is not only known for adverse wealth that it receives from export of oil but also of high literacy levels. The government purposed to invest in education as one of the strategy of eliminating poverty and also reducing the gap that has been there between the rich and the poor. Education has been an experience that all ages have desired to achieve due to the motivation that they receive. The girls who had been eliminated from the system for a long time have had an added advantage due to the support that they receive from various organizations. There are a lot of awareness programs that are being carried out especially among the poor in the society to ensure that they take advantage of the free education that is being offered in the country (Cordesman, 2003). Some of the traditions that hindered, especially, the girl child from acquiring education have been eliminated as schools experience a higher enrolment for girls. Adult education is also being facilitated in other religious centers. This is being done especially to the adults that are not able to go to primary schools to acquire basic knowledge. They are provided with avenues that will ensure that they cope up with the changes in the society.
Cordesman, A., (2003). Saudi Arabia enters the 21st century. London: Greenwood Publishing Group.