Emma Hiza: Who Made it Happen

Once upon a time there was a Daddy’s-little-princess, who used to teach wearing powerless spectacles and holding her crayons and slate. Her dog, soft toys and dolls were her obedient and quiet students. She wants to be a teacher someday. This is a common childhood scenario; we always pretend to do things that we want to do in
future. But how many of us can actually adhere to the desire of childhood and make it true?

Emma Hiza made it happen. The scene that I set in the beginning is actually a snapshot from her childhood. She was a teacher in the USA and now is teaching composition at Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She strongly supports women education, which brings her in this developing country through Worldteach program.

A good teacher reflects a good student. As a student, she was sportive and hardworking. She had an athletic image in the university and was in the running team. Being in the running team, she might have got the spirit of reaching to the goal of life and follow her desire.

Now the question is, why on earth does she care about teaching so much? Normally we become zealous to do something when we see someone else nearby us to do that. And it was her father from whom she got the zeal. Her father was a teacher as well and also her greatest inspiration.

“Good morning!”
It is the word that she doesn’t feel tired to say almost a hundred times with a pleasant smile in the morning. And believe me, you won’t be feeling sleepy
anymore in the early morning class after her delightful greetings.

She loves teaching and she loves her students as well. She never says that she loves her students, but it shows. It shows in a various ways.

It shows when she misses someone’s birthday and wishes her a belated happy birthday.

It shows when a student sneezes in class and she says “Bless you” even while giving a lecture.

It shows when students pronounce something inaccurately and she blames her hearing.

It shows when the students get confused about a class work and she talks with them individually.

But she loves them most when they correct her mistakes, even when she mistakes about date.

In class, she’s swift like a hummingbird and lively like a waterfall. She never sits, always interacting with the students, and passing out worksheets and readings.
Moreover, she is attentive to those too who observes her in class no matter it’s the coordinator or a student interviewer from another class.

Have you ever seen a living clock? If you haven’t, just take a look at her! You will find her as a living clock when you will see her lesson plans. Each of the word she speaks, each of the word she writes on the board, has got her appointment. Yes, you can call her a “time freak,” but if you are intelligent enough, you will learn how to make the best use of time from her. Moreover, being organized helps a lot to give her best in class.

She shares a strong bonding with her family and friends. Back in Philadelphia, a perfect weekend meant to her go hiking, go for a family outing, or picking apples in the backyard orchard of apples with her parents and two younger siblings. She also used to hang out and visit new places with her friends, who were teachers too.

But now the weekends are really different as she is living far away from her family, her friends and the orchard of apples. Now she is teaching in an all-women university of a South Asian developing country called Bangladesh.

As a Worldteach volunteer, she had to choose a country to serve voluntary works. She knows that in some part of the world women are not empowered enough. From her research, she found a part like that, which is Bangladesh. She came to know about a university there, which is built to create women as leaders. She was amazed by its mission and it is what exactly she wants.

“Women themselves can be powerful advocates for changing the community,” she states.

Why Bangladesh? Why not a developed country with fancy things where she would have all the facilities she got in her country? Going to a developed country, having fun, living with comfort, and teaching some well prepared girls are very easy. What a big deal?

The big deal is when you go to a country where only a handful of people get higher education, you feel difficulty to even breathe in the air for the garbage lying beside the roads, you live in a noisy place and can’t concentrate in anything, and you teach a bunch of girls who infrequently understand your accent.

It is really a big deal and this is what Hiza is doing now. On the contrary, she loves Bangladesh because according to her, people of Bangladesh are cooperative and trustworthy.

Though she is teaching composition, she is actually a B A in Public health. As a future plan she aspires to return the USA and acquire her M A in the same subject. She believes that a lot of public health problem can be solved through education.

After all this information, she may seem to you a very punctual, organized, dedicated and study-oriented teacher. But remember, a clock too can sing through alarm. This living clock Emma Hiza used to sing too! She used to sing and act in theatre when she was younger. Then gradually she developed other interests and quit the theatre in 8thgrade. And that’s how, the world lost a theatre personality and got an outstanding teacher at the same time.

Photo: Worldteach Bangladesh

Now, you may think why am I focusing on HER so much? Well, I am just showing an example. There are many Emma Hizas we have in our country who come from different backgrounds and different countries. All of them have something interesting in them and are extremely talented in their fields. Though they come from developed countries like the USA, UK, or Canada, they adjust themselves with the environment and culture of Bangladesh very nicely while dedicating themselves in teaching or other voluntary work. You may say that they might have been paid a lot or they might have other benefits for doing that. Let’s not think like that. At least
they are doing something; they are contributing something which we fail to do sometime. That’s why, I dedicate this post to all those Emma Hizas who face lots of troubles everyday living here, but never complain! Hats off to you guys!!


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