Assalamu alaikum dear sisters.
in another post, one of our dear sisters mentioned the major challenge that faces a lot of Islamic school teachers: what to do when there is no support from home?
I thought we could start a new thread and share our experiences to help each other in building the young Muslim Ummah to the best of our abilities and their potential insha' Allah.
I taught Sunday school for over seven years.. I had the privilege of teaching wonderful children who inspired me, and the challenge of working with children who have NO basic knowledge of Islam whatsoever, I remember my first shock - which prompted me to volunteer to teach, we had some type of gathering and when we were supposed to pray , we lined up all the kids, and a few of them didnt' know what to do, where to stand, or how to act.. they were old enough to be praying.. I felt so sad, and ashamed.. subhana Allah.
we dont' know if the parents are both working and struggling and dont' have the patience or time to teach their children.. or if the parents themselves don't practice.. we dont' know and we should not assume.. all we can do is work with what we have in our class.. THE CHILD..
********* Edited to add: Non of what I wrote here is meant as an offense to any parent.. many of my best students came from non Arab families, and we understand the restrictions that face the parents, time, language, knowledge...etc. like I said, we dont' base our efforts on what the parents may or may not do, we just have to focus on the child and keep communication lines open with parents.. I apologize if any of this sounded offensive, it is not my intention- I will change the name of the post as well ( thank you Hanimommy for bringing this to my attention).
for us, it was a Sunday school.. so once a week is a bigger challenge than an everyday school because you cannot learn language one day a week, nor memorize Quran. if there is no support from home, it becomes VERY VERY difficult for the kids to retain what you teach them..
( Today is Jumuah, and so I need to go finish my "chores" and " recitation" .. so I will start a list of things that helped me with my students, and edit every time I come.. ) please feel free to add your own..
1- Test the kids levels so you can group them in age and knowledge appropriate classes.. we ended up for Quran and Arabic having Two beginners classes, or even three, grouping kids with close age and similar level. this way older kids will not feel awkward being in the same class as little kids, and would still be comfortable being with their peers.
2- draw up a realistic plan. you have to set goals that you feel you can achieve and major guidelines that HAVE to be met no matter how much time you spend on them : for example. teaching the kids Surat al-faatiha.. I remember I had one student in quran class that took months to memorize only the fatiha with me.. she used to be absent a lot and did not work hard while other girls in her class memorized more.. but that was my goal and she received a prize when she finally did memorize it.
Praying properly and performing wudu properly are also vital to learn.
basic morals: a Muslim does not lie.. no gossiping or backbiting. respecting the elders and being kind to the young..etc. basic Islamic manners.
Every year I tell my students.. EVERY YEAR: if by the end of this year you remember NOTHING from my class except for these Four: I will be happy
Salat Salat Salaaaaaat
a Muslim NEVER lies
Respect and Honor your parents
Do not gossip..
I think my girls got tired of me saying this lol..
3- At the beginning of the year, I have my older classes write a short paragraph ( anonymously) telling me what they need or want discussed this year.. what topics they would like to tackle and what they expect from their class ( especially the Islamic studies class) at the end of the year, I have them write a paragraph if the year has met their expectations, and what would they have done differently, and have they benefited or changed .
I am alhamdulilaah almost always impressed by their requests and humbled by their progress..
4- for the younger kids; I always have Candy and do trivia and competitions at the end of the class. and small gifts for those who memorize Quran. big chocolate bars as well, lol..
5- our Imam's wife, may Allah grant her barakah and blessings walked around the masjid with a rolling bag full of gifts and prizes, she would give any one who recites a new surah he memorized and give them gifts ..
ok.. have to go now.. lol. insha' Allah will come back and edit and add..
last note, give the kids reasonable homework, and keep in touch with parents through notes and emails..
may Allah grant you all blessings.. those of you who teach at home and those of you who teach at school, and those of you who make duas for our Ummah.. ameen.
if I speak in error then it is from me. may Allah forgive me and guide us all to what pleases HIM Ameen.
Love and salaam (peace)
(proud2bmom3: Muslim Moms-- Owner.