Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Educators Continue Education

Magazine article Islamic Horizons

Educators Continue Education

Article excerpt

Islamic school teachers and administrators share experiences at the 12th annual ISNA Education Forum

TEACHERS NEVER REALLY STOP LEARNING. AND THE ISNA Education Forum has become a staple of this continuing education.

The 12th annual ISNA Education Forum held in Chicago April 22-24 under the theme "Understanding, Living and Sharing Islam", brought together Islamic schools educators administrators. They shared their own teaching experiences, and sought new ways to improve their schools' environments.

"Each one of us- one way or another- was affected or influenced by a teacher," reminded Azhar Azeez, vice president of ISNA. "The learned teachers of Islam are the true heirs or followers of Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam)"

The three-day event included sessions and workshops led by some of the most seasoned educators in the Islamic education field. Participants said they return every year because of the wide variety of topics discussed, and because even a teacher never really stops being a student.

"As teachers, we're always learning," said Sarah Albahadily, a middle school teacher at Mercy Islamic School in Oklahoma. "We're trying to deepen our perspectives."

Her colleague Buthaina Jwayyed agreed. "We come to get new tools for our teaching toolbox so we go back [to our classes] refreshed," the 4th grade teacher said.

Addressing the welcoming dinner, ISNA Secretary General Safaa Zarzour emphasized the uniquely difficult yet rewarding j ob of being an educator. "We come together every year because we know Islamic education is a labor of love. It's not a job for everyone and it's not a job for most," he said.

Session topics ranged from "Nurturing Spirituality in Our Schools," to the "Best Financial Practices for School Sustainability," to "Muslim Students in the 21st Century." At the session "How is the Weather At Your School?" workshop facilitator Habeeb Quadri, an Islamic school principal and educational consultant, speaking on how teachers influence the climate and culture of a school, said, "Teachers are the heart and foundation of the school. In order to promote positive school climate, teacher input, ideas and participation are essential."

The panel, "What Is Happening in Children's Literature" addressed the growing need of children's Islamic literature. Children's book author Fawzia Gilani urged teachers to take matters into their own hands, and write their own children stories, books and teaching resources. …

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