Reviewed by Mary McLaughlin, M.S. SpEd
A preschool teacher in Knoxville is receiving accolades for her outstanding performance and exceptional educational skills. Ghada Ayesh doesn’t have any professional training in education or child development, but she is the best educator her preschool has seen.
The 4-year-old children she is teaching can read, write their names and do simple adding and subtracting, which is, by all standards, impressive. Principal Amany Shourbaji calls it “phenomenal” for their age and fully supports Ayesh and her teaching methods.
Ayesh’s technique focuses on teaching simple things in small, 10-to-15 minute increments, which is in accordance with the short attention span of her students. “You try everything in small doses, but always keep the fun in it with a lot of games, hands-on activities”, the preschool teacher said about her unique teaching process. With the help of a friendly tone, a happy, excited demeanor and a whiteboard, Ayesh teaches her preschoolers how to spell different words with the colorful magnetic letters. It’s all just a fun game to them, but this is how they learn.
Ayesh has a business degree and only started teaching after she had children of her own. She was asked to substitute and liked it so much that she never left. It’s been thirteen years and she is now thoroughly involved in running the school. She is not only a preschool teacher, but also the Yearbook Coordinator and the Director of Daycare and Preschool. In addition, she also coordinates Title I (low-income) and Title III (English as a second language) federal funds.
Ayesh is passionate about helping kids who come from underprivileged environments and those learning English as a second language. Many of the latter speak Arabic, Urdu or Turkish, since they all come from different backgrounds, but Ayesh creates a safe space in her classroom where everyone is welcomed. She teaches that what counts is who you are on the inside, and not the color of your skin or your religion.