By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
The Art of Teaching is in real danger of not surviving the assaults of the Industrial Age. As with many aspects of our times, our hubris and overconfidence in the toys of our making have fleeced the philosophy of teaching from the gentle hands of thinkers and thrown it at the careless mob of “tinkerers.” One only simply ask the policy makers as to what ought to be the purpose of education to understand the enormity of the danger. Responses will fall silent after the predictable slogans have been exhausted.
The trite “Children are our future,” is perhaps more poignantly restated, “Children are our future voters.” Perhaps instead, we should consider, “Children are our most sacred responsibility, and our hope for redressing the wrongs we have hitherto so egregiously committed.” Responsible teaching is the thoughtful bridging of the gap between the innocence of childhood and the mature and optimistic understanding of the seemingly tragic human condition. Indeed, teaching is our most important collective responsibility. All who shape the world of our children’s imagination must reflect upon and be held accountable for this solemn responsibility.
Teaching as a profession lays the foundations for all other professions. Teachers, therefore, can be transformative figures in a society. They ought to be our best talent, receive our best attention, and our most genuine gratitude. Their input should be valued when planning the educational experience of our children. A teacher’s status is high…very high. Those who do not appreciate this jeopardize the success of the students. Was not our beloved Prophet sent but as a teacher?