I am 60 years old, I am an educator, and I still want to learn more and do a million other things on top of that.
I went through a few jobs in my life, starting from an economist, a book keeper, accountant, management accountant, auditor, director, lecturer, and finally a business owner. I performed really well at all my jobs, but deep inside I didn’t like some of the practices involved, plus I felt the roles where really limiting and weren’t pushing my full potential.
I lived in New Zealand for a short while of my life, while there I started thinking of becoming a teacher, and found that one has to have a certificate in teaching to teach in New Zealand. to learn about the various theories of how students learn, and the different models of teaching. This was like entering into a Pandora’s box, I was fascinated, and from that moment on, I am discovering new things on a daily basis, I became passionate about how people learn and about the theories of learning and the behavioral science behind it all; there are differences that separate us. We are all different in how we learn so we cannot teach in one way and think that it would fit everyone in the classroom, its not just chalk and talk. I am worried that I cannot learn everything to do with Education by the time I retire, for that reason I cancelled the idea of retirement and will leave it to those more accomplished in their lives!
Back to the subject of education, you can never get me to stop talking when it comes to the topic of school improvements. I unearth the problems that the kids face but unfortunately I find that students come to me for a solution after they have really messed things up.
Have you heard of 21st century skills? These are communication skills, critical thinking, collaboration and creative thinking. Well we don’t have them in our education system! Why? Because we are busy focusing on examinations and tests without looking at the child’s interpersonal skills, communication skills, writing skills, and what’s more is that their language ability is very low.
We have lost our identity so our kids cannot read and write in Arabic and of course they cannot read and write in English. In language testing most of our kids score low on these two very important attributes and we think why is this so if they have been in schools for 12 years. Did you know that we do not have a test for Arabic language like the famous IELTS or TOEFL? To top it all we needed to call this year the “year of reading” because our rulers realized that they must do something about it. They also thought that reading will make the students and everybody happy, so we now have a Minister of happiness.
We do not focus on Arts, Music, Dance, Sports, Poetry, or Story-telling, nor do we concentrate on any extracurricular activities. Our kids spend their summers at home, in malls, sleeping or playing games.
Besides all of these issues, many of our kids don’t know what they want to do in life. Which brings me to my talk Career Choices
What are the Careers of today? I will not concentrate on the traditional careers such as doctors, dentists, engineers, accountants and lawyers. These are known careers and parents push kids to study these subjects. If I was able to start again I would pursue a career in the field of education! why is that? To make a real change in the world. However, I haven’t seen young students going for a major like this one at all.
According to a study, there are 260 thousand jobs in IT that have no one to fill them. Especially in creating applications and in the field of social media. Did you know that there are jobs for Twitter writers! But there are very few that can communicate and write a sentence that makes sense in 140 characters.
I did a study on a group of adults and asked three questions: what did you study? what are you doing now? and what do you want to do when you retire? Well 70% work in fields different to what they studied, and 90% want to open restaurants when they retire. Imagine if these people have studied cookery or hospitality? Wouldn’t we have the best food outlets in town?
Do not limit yourself to one career. One can hold different careers in life and it’s not scary. If I can change my major 5 times in my life time, so could you. We all fail, the good thing though is that we get up and try all over again, failure is not the end of life, it’s the beginning of a new life. Trying again and again is like finding a new way to do something; I always tell my kids, if I can do it, so can you.
If I can pursue my dreams, so can you, if you want. One thing I learnt from my life is that only I can make a difference in my own life and no one else. I can receive help from others but at the end I have to do it on my own. And so can you.
It didn’t come as easy as you would expect, I did a lot of things by myself, for example:
- I like to write but found that nobody would publish my articles, so I created my own magazine, and my own blog website
- I love to see the world poverty free so I started my own society to help in eradicating poverty
- I like to call myself an educator as I would love to see at least a bachelor degree in every household in my country. So I started a company that sends students abroad to study and accomplish exactly that
- I love art, so I did a project to scout 200 unknown Bahraini artists and helped them in selling their art online, with the help of a website and social media.
I learned that nothing is impossible, I had the courage to go for different fields and even multiple fields. It worked for me, it might take time, but you can go after your dreams too as our society needs good role models.
I might not be the most successful, most entrepreneurial or the richest woman in the world. But I made it possible no matter what age I started at, and what I do is real.
I am trying to give hope to people, students, women, people in the region and at all ages to go after their dreams which are not anymore limited to society’s rules or expectations
People at any age and gender can achieve more than they think they can. And I am a real example of it. A good successful one
Go after your dreams, be passionate about what you do, so you don’t have to wait for the weekend to have a life
I would like to tell you a secret, in February I watched a TED talk of my favorite author, I told myself that I must do a TED talk, we are in May and I am in front of you. That’s the power of positive thinking.