Leadership: Ambitions of a 14 year old

Fahad Saeed is a 2012 Teach For Pakistan Fellow. He teaches Math and Science to Classes 6 and 7 at a Government Boys Secondary School in Karachi. Fahad earned his BBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.

Being a teacher in a classroom of 35 students who are multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and diverse in every respect is a challenging task. Therefore, at Government Boys Secondary School Leemo Gabol, each day is a unique learning experience for me. Teaching secondary grade levels is even more challenging since the academic gap is the widest in those grades, plus most of the students work after school to support their families. To make ends meet at home, the students start working from an early age and unfortunately, their jobs become the primary focus and school takes up a secondary role.

Like many other students, this was also true for Ahsan, a 14 year old student of Grade 7. A year ago, his father lost his job due to an injury and as the eldest of three siblings, Ahsan was forced to work after school to earn for his family. As time passed, he started losing interest in school and became increasingly involved in his job at a computer store.

When I joined the school, I realized quickly that Ahsan was not performing up to his ability. He always appeared preoccupied and disengaged in class. But as I spent more time in the classroom, I started to notice a change in him. Not only was Ahsan participating more, but his grades were improving as well. So one day when I sat down with him to discuss his progress, he told me about his life and his circumstances and how the Teach For Pakistan Fellows coming and teaching in his school had helped him realize the role education plays in a person’s life. The impact is such that Ahsan now wants to be an educationalist himself. When I asked about his future ambitions, he proudly told me that one day he will do for the whole of Pakistan what Teach For Pakistan is doing for his community.

Witnessing this transformation in Ahsan’s attitude and mindset strengthened my resolve of eliminating educational inequity so that the underprivileged masses of Pakistan can also attain an excellent education and succeed in life. The task is huge and extremely challenging, but through the Teach For Pakistan intervention we are changing mindsets and creating a momentum that will keep growing for years to come. Students like Ahsan will rise to our mission and lead their communities and then one day, we will realize our dream and see each and every child in Pakistan getting the education that they need and deserve.