Student Profile, Hareem Khan, Ed.M., Curriculum and Teaching,
Published in Inside - Volume XIV, No. 7
Books. That’s what Hareem Khan will miss most when she returns to
as a newly minted Teachers College alumna. Pakistan
“I will miss the libraries and the ability to lug home 30 books at a time,” Khan says. “Of course, I never got to read all of them, but I think it’s a gluttony borne out of years of deprivation: I want to have my hands on all these books! And I will miss that everyone [in
] is doing their own thing, and everyone walks so fast.” New York City
It makes sense that books are the thing Khan will miss the most, given that it was books—or lack of them—that got her to TC in the first place. Khan began her career as a third-grade teacher at a private school in Islamabad nearly a decade ago and found herself with the unenviable task of teaching reading and writing to a classroom full of students without a single age-appropriate book in their native language, Urdu, for them to read.
She did the best she could and eventually went on to teach middle school English and world history, and ultimately became the school’s supervisor. Yet she never forgot the utter lack of reading material for Pakistani children in their native language.
“There is a huge deficit,” she says. “It’s alarming, because when people speak of literacy [in
Pakistan], it is very surprising to me that there is no investment in books...There is no library culture in , especially for kids.” Islamabad
So when in 2007 she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study at TC, she knew exactly what she wanted to accomplish: learn how to develop curricula and start a reading and writing center for children.
Now at the end of her studies at TC, she has managed to do both. She even took some courses in the Department of Organization and Leadership to develop a business plan for her center.
She cites Lucy Calkins, Robinson Professor in Children’s Literature, as a particularly strong influence (“Her Reading and Writing Project has revolutionized how I will teach in the classroom.”), as well as Professor Nancy Lesko (“She really challenged me and pushed against my notions of what education and curriculum were.”).
And though she’ll miss the libraries and fast-walking New Yorkers, Khan is looking forward to returning to
with her six-year-old daughter and reuniting with her husband, an officer in the Pakistani army, and her extended family. Pakistan
“My focus is
because there is just so much that is going on in terms of the political and social and cultural life of these kids that is never addressed directly,” Khan says. “I think books could really become a huge way for kids to make sense of all the chaos that the country has been in for the past many years.” Pakistan
To view a videotaped interview with Khan, visit www.tc.edu/news/article.htm?id=6998.previous page