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May 15, 2024

The Challenges of Teaching in Crisis Zones

Discover how educators in crisis zones adapt and innovate to provide essential education for refugee children
Teacher and children in class illustrated

You might think that students and teachers are essentially the same globally. Everywhere in the world, children go to school, sit in a classroom and listen to their teacher impart knowledge from different subjects to help them learn to read, write, count, and generally make sense of the world around them. This is largely true in most modern mainstream schools in the world except for a few variations depending on where you’re from and which language you communicate with.  

Educators in Emergencies as Superheroes

Imagine, however,  transitioning from your usual mainstream classes to a dynamic world where education meets humanitarian aid. That's exactly what I did in September 2022 when I joined Jusoor's Refugee Education program. And let me tell you, it's been an eye-opener!

Picture this: children forced to leave their homes due to poverty, war, or other hardships. These kids face huge challenges when it comes to getting an education. Even when they do get a chance to go to school, they're often greeted with a whole new culture to adapt to and a whole new language to learn, making it even harder for them to fit in.

Teachers in these situations have their work cut out for them. They have to deal with packed classrooms, kids of different ages all mixed, and not enough resources. So, what does it take to be a great teacher amid all this chaos? One word: flexibility. To make learning meaningful, productive, and lasting, teachers in emergency settings need to be like superheroes, customizing their teaching methods to fit each student's needs. It is true that everywhere in the world, no two kids are the same, but this is especially obvious in these situations where students come from different backgrounds and have vastly differing abilities.

What it Takes to Succeed as a Teacher in Emergencies

So how do teachers manage to teach their subjects in such difficult circumstances?  Think outside the box! That's the motto here. With limited resources like books, computers, and the internet, teachers have to be creative. They tweak the curriculum to make it work with what they have. It's all about being open and finding new ways to teach so that their students develop and learn.

However, teachers in emergency settings do not just teach math and science. These teachers also play a huge role in supporting their students’ emotional well-being. Kids going through tough times need mostly someone to listen and understand, and that's what these teachers do. Being a great teacher isn't just about knowing your stuff; it's about connecting with your students. Especially in emergencies, empathy is key: students need to feel like someone cares about them and their well-being. Teaching in such environments is primarily about creating safe places for students.

So to sum up, teachers in emergency settings need to be flexible, innovative, and empathetic. By understanding their students' needs and being there for them, teachers can make a real difference in their students’ lives. And that's what ultimately being a great educator is all about, isn't it? Teachers in emergency situations are true leaders in their field.

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