Snapshot: Madiha Noor (Pakistan, 2019/20)
As a teacher, I came to the US to learn about Early Education but along the way I have learnt so much about Education as a whole and how the one-size-fits-all ideologies are obsolete. Focusing on character building should be more important than the mere delivery of course content.
Learnings & takeaways
Midway my Fulbright program, I can already say this experience has been exceedingly transformative. Ever since I landed in the US, I was compelled to adapt to an individualistic lifestyle which at first seemed cumbersome but over the months I have realized that it has turned me into a more responsible and grounded individual. On one hand, I might miss the small privileges I enjoyed back home, such as having the laundry done but on the other hand, I appreciate the independence of being able to do some tasks that I wouldn’t be as comfortable doing on my own back home, such as walk to the campus for my classes.
As a teacher, I came here to learn about Early Education but along the way I have learnt so much about Education as a whole and how the one-size-fits-all ideologies are obsolete and need to be replaced immediately. Focusing on character building should be more important than the mere delivery of course content.
Having met a diverse set of people in the US conforming to different genders, religions, races and sexualities has opened up my mind towards inclusion and acceptance even more than I believed I did when I was back home. I am eager to learn even more about the US as well as about the various cultures that make up the local communities here.
As a big Potterhead, I would enjoy having dinner with J. K. Rowling. I recently read that her first manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers before it was finally accepted by Bloomsbury, which speaks highly of her determination and perseverance. I have a childhood wish of authoring children books, and who better than J. K. Rowling to get some pointers on getting that writer’s block cleared out and get the creative juices flowing.
I am not sure if it can be categorized as a ‘discovery’ but one thing that I learnt here that I hadn’t expected to is the amount of attention and importance that is given to people and children with disabilities. I was absolutely wowed the first time I saw a foldable ramp on the public bus. I was overwhelmed to see how the university and the town had special accommodations and accessible options for people with disabilities and no one was made to feel lesser than the other. Though this was not a part of my immediate goals, I am looking into working more closely with discovering and implementing accommodations for people with disabilities in Pakistan, along with the inclusion of children with disabilities in the classroom.
Madiha Noor is a current graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is pursuing an M.Ed (Masters in Education) in Early Education and Child Study as a Fulbright Scholar. Back in Pakistan, she has worked as an Early Childhood educator in various capacities for around seven years. After returning to Pakistan, Madiha aspires to devise and conduct teacher preparation programs to ameliorate the quality of instruction in classrooms. Down the road, she intends to craft an early childhood curriculum with a special focus on inclusive classrooms. In her free time, Madiha enjoys blogging and photography.