Great Minds are Young

Posts Tagged ‘students

There’s one thing that made me forget myself, filled me with enthusiasm and energy, and made every single effort worth the hard work; it’s being in class inspiring, and getting inspired! And I miss that one thing enormously 😦

I made a choice last year and I am not regretting it a bit. I am starting a new chapter full of new challenges and sought for achievements and success stories. But that doesn’t deny the fact that I was never greatly rewarded, and will probably never be, the way I was as a teacher (beside of course being a proud mother 😉 ).

Well, to tell the truth, I do not miss the long long hours of corrections, but I do miss reading the amazing stories and thoughts of those bright young minds. I do not miss the hectic working hours and the never-ending preparations, but I do miss all the interaction with my students, the workshops, the activities, the events, the projects, and all the crazy, funny, creative moments we shared. I do not miss correcting hundreds of quizzes and exams, but I greatly miss the proud shiny eyes, the big smiles and the Hoorrays of my students when they get good grades or they improve their average. I do not miss at all the disappointment and sadness of some who could not perform well (for it broke my heart), but I definitely miss their strong will to move on, their determination to work harder and ambition to achieve.

Well, there were definitely some bad days, but also a much greater number of good and wonderful days. I learned from the first and cherished the second, but currently miss both! I miss every student, every creative thought, every inspiring moment, every laugh, every smile, every morning hug, and most importantly, I miss the whole SPIRIT!!

In fact, there is no greater pleasure than seeing the eyes of my students shining! There’s no greater reward than a group of amazingly creative young minds interacting enthusiastically, and craving for more. There is no greater job than being a leader, a follower, and a partner at the same time.

I truly wish, and more positively hope, and optimistically know, that all teachers would focus on developing the great potential of the great young minds, rather than injecting information in their heads to be ‘ejected later upon request’!


Two years ago I stood very proud and happy before a group of extremely talented and creative young ladies, who worked really hard to create and organize one of the best performances on stage! That day, I saw them all sing, dance, act, laugh, scream, cheer, cry, support each other, and enjoy one of the best days ever. That day, they proved how responsible, disciplined, supportive and mature young people can be. That day featured one of the longest performances on stage in the history of the school; it was a full day program, in which 6 whole classes performed on stage and helped backstage. That day was an extremely special day; a beautiful memory I still hold tight in my heart. 

That day I was a proud teacher, a proud mother, and a proud friend! That day I wrote a letter from the heart to the hearts and minds of my dear students. I truly hope they still keep it in their hearts and minds…

I’m standing here today looking at all of you,

With a mixture of feelings; some happy and some blue,

Remembering all our moments, preciously held in the heart,

Knowing that wherever and how long you go, we’ll never be apart.


Of all the ups and downs and memories that we shared,

There are still a lot to do, a lot to keep, a lot to be declared,

When your eyes held tears and you couldn’t speak,

I was always near, ready to hold your hand and kiss your cheek.


Of all the lessons we’ve learned, few things I need you to hold tight,

Being SOMEBODY is a long way to go, you know that’s right!

Never give up, never let go, never take little, always aim high.

You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re special and nobody dares deny.


One more thing I need you to know, now that I’ve come to love you so,

If you ever miss your way, your light stops shining or your spirit was low,

Know that I’ll always be near, I’ll always seek to hear, and I’ll always help you go,

For you’ll always be in my heart and mind, treasured memories that’ll forever glow.

“Never knew a child could be so inspiring…” This comment was posted by 13-year old Meera Baya’a, one of the smartest, most determined and most ambitious young ladies I’ve ever met! Meera, along with many of her classmates and schoolmates, was one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me when designing activities and projects, creating discussion topics, or even just interacting with students. When I read her comment I couldn’t help but smiling and recalling some of the most enjoyable and rich moments in class, when my students and I had some of the most interesting conversations, which, in my opinion, were much more interesting and inspiring than any lesson in the book.

Meera, there is no greater inspiration than a child! Children of all ages are pure, simple, honest, imaginative, curious, sensitive, inquisitive, free-minded, open-hearted, positive and a lot more… To me, children are a big challenge for my heart and mind; they always bring the best out of me!

It breaks my heart to see a lot of students heavily crying after the exam because they missed some important questions and lost lots of marks due to lack of time. In most cases, teachers don’t understand them knowing for a fact that the exam is not too long and the time allocated to it is more than enough; which is completely true.

Problems of time management are common in exams but they can be easily overcome by following few tips:

  1. Try to control your anxiety eliminating all negative thoughts and lack of confidence.
  2. Read all the questions thoroughly trying to weigh the level of difficulty of each question.
  3.  Divide your time between the questions, giving yourself at least 10 minutes at the end to check your work.
  4.  Start by the easiest questions, then the average ones, to move at the end to the difficult exercises. Being able to solve some exercises boosts your self-confidence and helps you perform better and faster.
  5. If you find yourself stuck on one of the questions, just skip it and immediately move to the next one. Don’t waste your time panicking or over-thinking about something that you just cannot figure out.  Just let go, move on to the next question, and get back to it at the end if time permits.
  6. Have the complete answer in your head before you start writing.
  7. Work with a smile on your face. This will help you relax and feel better about the exam and yourself.
  8. Stay focused, keep controlling your stress and anxiety through positive thinking and breathing exercises, keep track of time without panicking, and try to remain smiling and relaxed.
  9. Most importantly, if for any reason you end up with one or two unsolved exercises, it’s ok to feel sad or disappointed for a little while. But what’s not ok is blaming it on the moon, crying, and ruining your day. Learn to accept flaws, learn from your mistakes, move on, and start preparing for the following exam with a lot of determination and positivity..

Good luck 🙂

Tomorrow is a big and very emotional day! It’s the end of a wonderful journey and the beginning of a hopefully special and fruitful one…

A journey throughout which I met a very special group of young ladies that was one of the most powerful sources of inspiration to me. A journey that was marked with a lot of special moments; a lot of ups and very little downs. A journey during which we all learned, talked, shared stories, played, laughed, danced, cried, yelled, created, and did all sorts of things together. But most importantly, a journey throughout which we pushed each other to the limits. A journey throughout which teacher and students brought the best out of each other…

It’s true that tomorrow is the end of the journey the way we’ve experienced it so far, but it is for sure the beginning of a new journey the way we shape it and the way we want it to be.

It’s true that I’ll miss a lot of our moments, but it is also true that we’ll create new memorable ones in a new different way.

It’s true that some people just sneak into your heart and it would be hard to grow apart from them, but it is also true that if they were in your heart they’re never away or apart…

I was talking today to a friend about studying and the learning process in general. We started sharing experiences and thoughts, and we talked a lot about how boring and frustrating studying is. Then he said, “You know, I have lately discovered a very important thing, and it’s too bad it came late, not when I was at school. I discovered that studying is extremely boring; it is LEARNING that is fun!”

I totally agree. Think about it…

No matter how we lecture, advise, guide, or try to convince, most students stress a lot before exams! What’s even worse is that they have unhealthy habits that worsen their stress and negatively affect their results. In many occasions, I discussed some of the following tips with my students, and those who applied them reported a great success 🙂

  • Organize yourself and manage your time in an effective way. Instead of worrying, and nagging about the loads you have to study, set a schedule and a time frame for yourself and try to follow them. 
  • Allow yourself some time to rest and relax. Having fun is not a sin during exams. On the contrary, it is extremely helpful, provided that you manage your time wisely. 
  • Never stay up late to study and wake up very early to revise. If tired, your brain will function slower and less effectively. You will become very irritable and clumsy, your  daytime alertness as well as your memory and ability to think and process information will considerably decrease.  
  • Never go to bed straight after studying; allow yourself  some time to unwind and allow your brain some time to shut down. If you close your books straight before you sleep, you don’t give enough time for your brain to calm down and you’ll be having nightmares related to studying, or in the best cases you won’t fall comfortably asleep; your eyes will be closed, but your brain will be working, which will be painful and annoying. 
  • Never go to school on an empty stomach. If you’re hungry you won’t have enough energy to work and your concentration will considerably drop. REMEMBER! Drinking only milk or tea in the morning is NOT having breakfast.
  • Wear comfortable clothes (in your case, your uniform;) ), get a jacket in case it was cold, and visit the washroom before you enter the examination room. You don’t need anything to distract you from focus without realizing it.
  • Deep breathe before you start your exam. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, hold your breath and count to six, and then exhale slowly while counting to eight. When you deep breathe you lengthen and deepen the oxygen intake in your body, which nourishes all your body cells and helps you relax and get rid of your stress. It also helps you clear your mind and focus.
  • Be well prepared and confident. Panicking doesn’t help at all. If you don’t sleep well, you stress out and you lose your confidence you enter a vicious circle and you just add up more stress to your already stressed day!

Just BE PREPARED, TAKE IT EASY, and you’ll perform brilliantly 🙂

Good Luck Everyone 🙂


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  • Chantal Chahine Assaad: I would be a very flattered proud teacher!!! Thanks Elie and welcome home! 😉😊
  • Elie Abd: Today's my first visit to your blog, and by reading this very first post, I feel like I am home already. Few are the bloggers out there that can reall
  • Chantal Chahine Assaad: Thank you Areej! It means the world to me! keep in touch dear <3
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