Amal got to know Teach For Pakistan as a Campus Ambassador for the program at LUMS. When she joined the Fellowship in 2014, she entered her classroom as an English teacher without any formal training in second language acquisition. Experienced the challenges of teaching children a foreign language, she developed a wish to further explore literacy theory, acquisition and teacher training.
“On my first day as an English Fellow, I asked my students to read out a part of their textbook. My students stared at me blankly, until one asked which pages they were supposed to prepare for the next day. They had never experienced reading for pleasure. To them, it was just another sabaq.”
Today, nearly a year and a half after completing the Fellowship, Amal is six months away from getting her Master's degree in English Language Learners and Reading Education at Vanderbilt University, USA.
Upon her return, Amal aims to work in teacher training and curriculum design, especially focusing on literacy and second language learning. Simultaneously, she hopes to join forces with multiple stakeholders, harnessing the combined energies of communities and organizations to work towards improved literacy.
Hassan heard about Teach For Pakistan while he was a fourth year undergraduate student at LUMS. The Fellowship sensitized him to issues surrounding development and has informed his perspective on change.
Hassan is currently an analyst at the Punjab Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department where he working closely with the Secretary Health and his team to revamp monitoring and support systems of 40 hospitals in rural and peri-urban areas in Punjab.
Through his current work and his Fellowship experience, Hassan clearly sees the interconnectedness of education and health.
“Just think of the formative experiences of a young child: the first few months and years after birth, in fact the months in the prenatal stage as well, are essential in determining the overall cognitive, linguistic and psychological development of children. Education at home is very important but it’ll be pointless if the child’s nutritional needs aren’t being fulfilled and if s/he doesn’t feel psychologically secure. A failure to take care of early health needs impairs children’s intellectual development for the rest of their lives.”
Hassan envisions the state as an entity that mandates both quality education and simultaneously provides adequate nutrition and health to each individual, regardless of their socio-economic background. He plans to continue working in the areas of health and education as he believes these are the most crucial pillars needed for any society to thrive.
Hassan Yar Bareach 2013 Cohort
A BSc. computer science graduate from LUMS, Fawad joined Teach For Pakistan in 2014 and was placed in a rural school, Bali Memorial Technical High School, near Lahore. During his second year as a Fellow, he saw that his 9th graders were struggling academically and simultaneously worrying about their upcoming board exams. Bali students’ performance in the 9th and 10th board exams had been dismal in the past, with at least 40% students sitting for retakes and an average of 50%. Fawad realized then that an important piece was still missing from his teaching experience; he was yet to understand where his students came from and who they were not just as students, but as children, siblings, friends and community members. Answering these questions, he thought, might help him better understand them and devise appropriate investment and academic strategies. This pushed Fawad to move inside his school’s community.
Shifting inside the community brought Fawad closer to his students’ everyday lives, and provided him with valuable opportunities of interacting with them and other community members. Such interactions gave him a chance to earn the community’s trust and notice the trajectory of different mindsets/attitudes that the community now held. Fawad acknowledges that his decision to move was successful in starting a chain of small and big changes. These changes range from parents becoming more invested in their daughters’ education to others offering spaces within their homes for extra-classes. And the other change was the news that Fawad’s students passed the recent 10th grade board exams and scored above 60%, one of the best results in the school’s history! He fondly looks back at his Fellowship experience, recalling the friendships he made, support he acquired, and the warm culture & reception he experienced in his school community.
A graduate from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and an alumnus from the 2013 cohort, Badar Muneer came across Teach For Pakistan’s recruitment poster in spring 2012. The connection was instantaneous, he says. Fast forward to now, and he credits that moment as being a critical determinant of his current career trajectory. Badar is now a teacher development specialist for the Middle School Program and an Urdu specialist for secondary and higher secondary grades of the Aga Khan University – Examination Board (AKU-EB). He is responsible primarily for designing trainings and developing material used all over Pakistan by teachers in AKU-EB affiliated schools.
In many ways, the work Badar is doing is the logical continuation of a journey he embarked on as a TFP Fellow. His time as a teacher allowed him to develop a reflective approach, infusing his work with a strong sense of social justice, due consideration to multiple perspectives and an openness to inter-disciplinary learning. His role as a subject-specialist has complemented these qualities and provided him with a holistic perspective on the state of Pakistan’s education. To achieve sustainable progress, Badar believes, there should be peer learning among individuals and across institutions, as well-crafted partnerships that combine private sector expertise with public sector scale are crucial to development. Badar aims to work across Pakistan, with the long-term goal of teaching B.Ed. students and fostering in them the same passion about addressing inequity through education that has motivated him.