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How a Teacher in Lebanon Adapted during a Pandemic to Help Students Achieve!

By Ghofran Karim

"Love is the bedrock of any career success."

These are the words shared by Soubhi Khubia, a skilled and experienced English teacher working in Lebanon. His experience in Lebanon included teaching Syrian refugee students of various ages and educational levels. As a volunteer, he conducted preparatory courses at the Lebanese International University for Syrian refugee students in collaboration with the LASeR organization. He also had worked as a volunteer providing English make-up classes for Southern New Hampshire University Syrian refugee students in Lebanon.

I always thought that teaching was one of the easiest professions, but after meeting with Mr. Soubhi, I see this differently. Teachers have many obligations and responsibilities; entire generations rely on them.

“Teaching requires a unique personality to be effective,” he said. “Many difficulties exist at a psychological level, such as stress, as well as physically due to standing for long periods of time.”

It was interesting to hear his thoughts on the two types of teachers. The first is the traditional teacher that is the center of the class. It is more fatiguing to teach this way because of all the effort they put into their role. The second type of teacher uses strategies that make the students the center of the class; this is less fatiguing.

“You become addicted to this profession when you are passionate about it,” he said. “Teachers also need to continually learn about the science of education to overcome all of the ever-changing pressures and issues in the profession.”

Teachers need to continually innovate year after year as they work with different students who have varying needs and challenges. Never has this need to innovate been more noticeable during the past year when many students have resorted to online learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was not simple; it was really tough and there were several obstacles,” he said. “This was particularly the case for refugee schools in Lebanon due to a shortage of hardware and computers. Not all teachers were knowledgeable about contemporary technology and didn't have enough technological competence.”

As a result of this, many teachers were required to attend a training course on how to use technologies to create virtual classes, such as by using Zoom.

“Online learning was better than not being able to go to school at all,” he said.

Mr. Soubhi continued to share how he overcame different barriers to provide impactful online learning experiences.

“We relied heavily on WhatsApp because the majority of students do not have devices that allow them to utilize other programs,” he said. “I taught ninth grade in 2020 and 35 students took the test, with a success rate of more than 95 percent in the English language. So, despite the challenges over the past year, we were able to accomplish a super achievement by working on the WhatsApp program in groups and with rigorous student follow-up.”

There is enormous excitement in the teaching profession when students achieve and succeed. At that point, the teacher forgets all the challenges and pressures.

“One of the students I am most proud of is a boy I taught for three years: 7th, 8th, and 9th grades,” he explained. “I realized he had a major psychological challenge relating back to when his father was arrested as a child, and he was living alone with his mother. This student seemed completely lost, but in the end, he took the exam and got great grades. I didn't anticipate such results considering the extremely difficult circumstances he was in. I'm quite happy for his achievement and I hope it's only the beginning of bigger things for him.”

Keys to Success

When asked about the secret of success in this field, Mr. Soubhi emphasized that: “It is about love. You need to give and spread the benefit and helping people improve their lives for the better.”

Mr. Soubhi's advice for those who are interested in the teaching profession was very interesting to me.

· Love your career. It's important to like your work because it's only when we love what we do and want to share it with others that we become successful.

· Strive to improve yourself. It's never too late to cultivate yourself. Read a book, browse an informative website, or watch an educational program.

· Be balanced. As a teacher, it is important to strike a balance between enjoyment and strictness.

This interview was a great experience for me. I found out in much detail about the teaching profession. I thought it was easy, but in reality, it isn’t. It is also a profession that has great consequences for society.

When I heard about Mr. Soubhi 's struggles and achievements, it inspired me to pursue this career further so that I can replicate the success of students like the aforementioned young Syrian boy. He showed me in a practical way that the love of a job is the key to success in your field.

I strive to become a teacher who can overcome all challenges and difficulties that might come my way. Add to that, I will rely on techniques that will facilitate information delivery and I will stay updated about everything connected to innovation in education. In conclusion, as a teacher, you must put in a lot of work and sacrifice since teaching is one of the noblest professions with a direct influence on civilizations and generations. It has the potential to change the path of the entire world for the better.

I share with you some parting inspiration from Mr. Soubhi underscoring the importance of a teacher: “When you build a wall, you can repair it if the first attempt fails. But failing as a teacher is terrible because you would fail a whole generation.”

You can learn more about Mr. Soubhi Khubia via his via his

Ghofran Karim is studying Business Management at Southern New Hampshire University. Learn more about her by connecting with her via

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