Today I learned that:
- There are many similarities between making a video and teaching. Just as a video story needs an exciting beginning, an enthralling conflict and an impressive ending, a lesson also requires an engagement stage where students are drawn to the new topic and establish some background understanding of the topic, a knowledge-building stage where students are exposed to delightful information and events, and a conclusion stage where teachers draw all sorts of pieces of information together in a most satisfactory way.
- As a video producer, you know you must hook your audience in the first 2-3 seconds, otherwise, you lose them. Similarly, engaging students in the first few minutes of a lesson is essential to teaching. This is where a teacher must find creative ways to catch students’ attention and evoke their curiosity and interest. This is where you try to start with a bang so all attention would be on you and the whiteboard/projector.
- As a video producer, you use different techniques to sustain the audience’s investment in the story. You make decisions on what information about the story would be divulged first and last, what camera angles and shots you should use to elicit particular responses from the audience, what music to use and what pace is appropriate to the story. You want to make sure that not only do you position your audiences to think and feel in a particular fashion, but also do you keep them emotionally invested in the story as much as possible. You want them to feel curious about how the story would unfold; you want them to love what they are watching. Similarly, for a teacher, the audience is the students, and the stories he or she wants to tell is the content knowledge in every lesson. Like a video producer, they have to decide what techniques to maximise engagement: how to pace the lesson, what activities to use, what resources are the most appropriate. Ultimately, both teachers and video producers ask themselves: “How can I make learning exciting and engaging?”
- As a video producer, you will plan a lot, but as soon as you set foot on the set, you accept you might have to throw your plan in the bin. In other words, you are open to different possibilities because not everything will work out according to your plan, and not always what you produce will match your initial vision. Similarly, as a teacher, you might have many exciting activities for your kids, but when you implement them, you realise your students don’t find them interesting, or worse, you can’t implement them due to unexpected incidents or a lack of resources. In those circumstances, you learn to accept to let go of the “perfect” plan in your head and go with the flow. Instead of beating yourself for failing to achieve your vision, you learn to embrace changes and be flexible.
- Allah is indeed the best planner. For my whole life, I have always wanted to be a video producer, but instead, I am working as an EAL teacher. Although this is not what I envision for myself, I have been enjoying my current job. I think it is tailor made for me, as (1) it gives me chances to be creative, and (2) also to work with small groups instead of managing a whole classroom which I often find intimidating. And best of all, I’m supporting the Muslim community and making changes. That’s something I have asked Allah for a while (to be useful for His community), and I believe this is His answer to that prayer.
- Allah has looked after me so well. He has given me much more than I can deserve, leaving me sometimes deeply ashamed because I have not done enough in my worship.
- These days I have experienced a deep sense of loneliness because I’m isolated from friends and family. But writing this reminds me that I’m not alone. Allah is with me. Allah is watching me. Allah is looking after me. All I have to do is pay attention and reflect.
- Subhan Allah
- Allahu Akbar.
- These 3 beautiful phrases above are indeed the index of worship, of Islam, of life, and of reality. Alhamdulilah for these phrases. Alhamdulilah for making me a Muslim.