Sparking Joy Through a Love of Learning

Sparking Joy Through a Love of Learning

by Medeha Zahid, Middle School Principal and Middle Years Programme Coordinator

My love of learning was shaped by some of my earliest childhood memories. I was only three years old when my family immigrated to the United States from Pakistan and I spent my first few years in my new country learning how to speak English while also trying to develop an understanding of the world. The first time I stepped into a classroom I was transported to a place filled with wonder, exploration and joy and I was forever transformed. My love of learning eventually brought me to the University of California Berkeley for my undergraduate studies. It was there that I discovered the fulfillment and reward that comes from helping others to learn and my passion for teaching was ignited. 

Middle-aged Caucasian man and women of middle-eastern background standing together with a mountain and forest backdrop

I spent six years as a middle school mathematics teacher in New York City before taking the leap to move internationally. My first year in Vietnam presented me with the world of possibilities of international schools and I was captivated by the learning opportunities within a culturally diverse and internationally minded community. My connection to international education and life abroad was electric and from the onset I knew it was the professional and personal trajectory for me. After more than half a decade at the United Nations International School in Hanoi, I was offered a middle school vice principal position in Lebanon and moved to Beirut in the summer of 2019 with my husband, Nathan.

Like so many educators around the world, the pandemic has led me to reflect upon the current circumstances we collectively find ourselves in and wonder, What is it that our students need to flourish? What are the essential skills we should equip them with to lead happy and successful lives in an unknown future? It is our responsibility to help students become creative, critical and reflective thinkers and global citizens who can and will be agents of positive change. I believe the greatest gifts we can instill in our students is the confidence to extend beyond their comfort zone, to view mistakes and failures as part of their journey towards success, and help them develop the grit and resilience to persevere in the face of obstacles and adversity. And I believe we do that by tapping into their passions and interests so they develop their own love of learning.

It is an honor to be joining such an established and robust international community of educators and students here at YIS. As Middle School Vice Principal and MYP Coordinator, I see my role as one of fostering an environment where young people develop the skills and dispositions needed to maneuver the known challenges of today and preparing them to tackle the unknown issues of tomorrow. And through that process and my time here, I aspire to spark joy in students and their love of learning.