GRADUATION AROUND THE NATION 2009
Pakistani Student Speaks at Teachers College
Since a Fulbright Scholarship brought me to Teachers College less than two years ago, much has happened in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever to head a Muslim state was shot dead. When my second semester at TC ended, so did General Musharraf’s nine-year military rule. As I speak to you today, the Taliban inches closer to the hearts of Pakistani cities… but more importantly, Pakistani schools. My six year-old daughter begins school this September in Quetta—a tiny city of sand-colored mountains, just miles from the Afghan border. That is where I will teach.
My favorite professor at TC once said to us, “Know that there will be trouble in your classrooms. Expect that there will be trouble. Rejoice when you find the trouble because when you can identify what is wrong, you know what to fix.” Dear friends, next week I return to resume work in troubled classrooms. I know that curriculum can be a tool to teach certain ways of being, seeing and acting, and that a dangerous curriculum born of economic poverty and terror cannot be countered by drone attacks, it can only be fueled further. Ideas are defeated by ideas.
Education at Teachers College exposes us to some of the finest ideas to take home with us. We found that discussion is a way of teaching, that learning is a way of leading that listening can be a way of changing. I see in NYC schools that an ideological mission is begun with each batch of kids that walks in, that teachers are silent soldiers that make the most lasting of changes. I understand, all too clearly, how curriculum is probably the strongest tool in enslaving or emancipating a child—a nation—a civilization. And I carry this knowledge and this power forth with my fellow graduates here today, under the banner of Social Justice that Teachers College holds so high.
With our own memories of learning, we came to TC to learn together: Art. History. Music. Physical Education. Philosophy. Psychology. Applied Physiology. In the sculpting studio beneath Macy to the cozy stacks of Russell Tower—from the cushy sofas in the library to the groaning elevators of Grace Dodge, we have had conversations that will last a lifetime.