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U.S. EDUCATION > The U.S. Education System > Religion and Education > Portrait of a Teacher

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Office of International Information Programs
U.S. Department of State

Portrait of a Teacher
        "I teach in the American public schools. I also teach my own children
        in Islamic school."
                                           --Rawia Ismail, Teacher, Toledo, Ohio

"I'm a schoolteacher in public school in Toledo, Ohio in the United States of America. I also teach my own children in Saturday school, Islamic school.

"I was born in Beirut, Lebanon and came to the United States in 1984. I have four beautiful children. I decided to become a teacher because I enjoy working with the children more than anything.

"At the Islamic Center I teach the kids about an hour of religion, an hour of Arabic, they have some lunch in between, and then we all do prayers together. This is something I have found to be the only way of life for me and my family. Being a Muslim means everything to me.

"I wear a hijab in the public school classroom where I teach. Children ask me a lot of questions. I have never had any child that thought it was weird or anything like that. And they like the fact, both them and their parents, that they're introduced to a different culture and a different religion.

"In my neighborhood, I see that all the non-Muslims care a lot about educating their children and family values, just as much as I do. I didn't quite see any prejudice anywhere in my neighborhood after September 11.

"In public school, I work a lot at getting the kids to understand that my religion is a lot like theirs, and the most important thing is that we should work on our similarities rather than our differences."





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