By Muhammad Qasem Jami
I live my life by learning and teaching English language. My first teacher at a primary school in Herat, Afghanistan was my maternal grandfather who enrolled me in his class when I was eight years old. I always dreamt of being like him — a teacher and a leader.
At the age of 12, I started learning English language along with other subjects at school. My teachers and classmates always praised me for my ability to write and speak English. My love for the language was such that at the age of 15, it enabled me to become a part-time English teacher at Herat-e-Bastan Training Center. I have continued to teach for the last 10 years and now I am the head of English department there. I believe that through teaching, I enable the youth to change their lives for the better. I have helped hundreds of students perform well in their English studies at school and also find jobs at foreign organizations.
In 2009, I completed a one-month intensive Teacher Training Program at Skills Training Center in Herat. I learnt how to teach English, manage a class and lead students. A year later, I secured admission in English Language and Literature Faculty in Herat University. I stood first in a class of talented students and was elected to be their representative. I voluntarily organized meetings for my classmates to help them improve their writing and speaking abilities in English. These group studies boosted my self-confidence and presentation skills. We founded a literary association, which I headed. I mentored students to write essays and poems in English. I helped students to publish their poems and short essays in the school bulletin. As a junior, I participated in Afghan University Student Exchange Program (AUSEP-III) in Bangalore, India, which was supported by the US embassy and Asia Foundation in Kabul. This professional teacher training program not only helped me develop cross-cultural understanding of Afghanistan, India and the United States, but also enhanced my interest and broadened my skills in teaching.
After finishing my Bachelor’s, I became an instructor at the English Department of Kahkashan-e-Sharq University, a private university in Herat, where I am currently an academic and thesis advisor for a number of senior students. The university hosted a Mutual Respect Debate Tournament organized by Afghans for Progressive Thinking (APT) where I won the 3rd prize by virtue of my confidence and clarity of my speech in English and ability to put forth my thoughts in front of a huge audience.
In October 2014, I started working as the Test Center Administrator (TCA) and facilitator of TOEFL iBT classes with Kabul Educational Advising Center-Herat (KEAC-Herat), an independent, non-profit center that aims to empower Afghan society by offering US educational services to Afghan students, graduates, and professionals in Herat.
A year later, I joined Pax Populi Academy (PPA), both as a student of Eisha Sarkar, a journalist from India, and as a coordinator in Herat. I match the profiles of Afghan students with American and Indian tutors for 12-week English language tutoring programs.
My love for teaching English has propelled my desire and determination to make the most out of any educational opportunity, to learn and transfer my knowledge to the men and women of my country and help make a difference to the lives of the people.
I strongly believe that there is a possibility of a better world where everyone can learn and live in peace