HawkStrong: Shiyma Abdullah chooses “most rewarding profession” as a teacher
HFC alumna Shiyma Abdullah always wanted to be involved in her community and make a difference.
“I believe that one of the most effective ways for me to give back to my community is through teaching,” said Abdullah. “Teaching grabbed my attention as I enjoy seeing each student's individual talents and strengths, watching them grow day by day during their educational journey. It is also a job with lots of variety. I view teaching as one of the most rewarding professions. I love learning and being in a learning environment. Without a doubt, my enthusiasm for the teaching profession has increased!”
A lifelong Dearborn resident, Abdullah is the second of six children. She is an alumnus of Penn Foster High School, an online school based in Scranton, PA.
“It was an online, flexible, and self-paced school,” she said. “It allowed me to organize my time and be more independent.”
“The chance to achieve more”
Abdullah attended HFC after graduating from high school. She earned her associate degree in pre-elementary education from HFC this summer.
“I decided to pursue my education at HFC because it is affordable, flexible, and gives me the opportunity to try out various classes, degrees, and programs,” said Abdullah. “During the time I’ve spent here, I’ve been lucky enough to have access to many opportunities and different clubs. I'm glad that I decided to attend HFC because it has provided me with a strong foundation and helped me decide to pursue a career in education.”
The experience exceeded her expectations. “I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve, and this school gave me the chance to achieve more. The advisors and the teachers here are always willing to help. The experiences I encountered at HFC also influenced my choice to volunteer and help around my community. My overall experience here would allow me to put the things that I’ve learned into practice and develop my skills even further.”
Abdullah considers HFC Pre-Education Program Director Dr. Carolyn Casale her mentor.
“I wish I had taken more classes with her,” said Abdullah. “She is an excellent teacher who makes learning fun and interesting. She is approachable, professional, and has great communication skills, not to mention strong dedication to what she does.”
Casale is pleased with the success her former student has achieved so far.
“Shiyma successfully earned an A in both Introduction to Education and Introduction to Education Practicum,” said Casale. “She is an outstanding and dedicated student.”
Going above and beyond in her practicum
When she took the Practicum course, Abdullah was required to complete 47.5 hours in the field. She more than doubled that goal, completing 104 hours.
“I enjoy challenging myself. The setting was ideal, and I was eager to take the chance that was presented to me,” said Abdullah. “Doing more than what was expected allowed me to focus on my strengths, skills, weaknesses, and learning.”
Abdullah completed her practicum, working with kindergarten teacher Jacquelyn Morsehead at Salina Elementary School in Dearborn. Morsehead informed Casale how impressed she was with Abdullah.
“I am reaching out to inform you of how impressed I was with the experience of having Shiyma Abdullah in my classroom,” Morsehead wrote. “She is a truly amazing student, and while I know there is a shortage of teachers in education programs currently, she is a standout candidate. I can only hope her passion for teaching does not fade.”
After volunteering countless hours at all grade levels, Abdullah decided her best fit as a teacher would be in a kindergarten or first grade classroom.
“Because it would be the start of a child's educational journey, it would play a significant role in supporting children's social and emotional development, such as interacting with peers of their age, sharing, taking turns, listening, and following directions,” she said.
Getting out of her comfort zone and helping her become more observant and effective
One of her career goals is to become a principal.
“As a teacher, I would be able to ensure that students are in a high-quality learning environment. And as a principal, I can do that, but at a much larger scale. I have much to experience and learn before I reach that point. For the time being, I will hone my management, leadership, and adaptability skills, all of which are necessary to succeed as a school principal,” she explained.
This fall, Abdullah will transfer to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she will work toward her bachelor's degree. She recognizes the many ways HFC prepared her for UM-Dearborn.
“My academic experiences helped me better understand and analyze myself,” she said. “Not only did they take me out of my comfort zone, but they also made me more responsible and helped me develop time-management skills, especially with the classes EDU 101 and 102 – they gave me the opportunity to get my first real classroom experiences. The journals pushed me to reflect on my experiences and to be more observant. I got to ask my mentor questions I normally would not have thought of. I have helped around several different classrooms since the beginning of the school year, so I've seen all the ups and downs and the different sides to teaching. I have also experienced teaching and working with diverse students and students with disabilities.”
Abdullah cannot recommend HFC enough to people who are beginning higher education right out of high school or as a non-traditional student.
“There are many great aspects to taking classes at HFC,” she said. “First, the system the College uses to register for classes is very simple and straightforward. I had no issues, even as a new student. I also really like the fact that the ratio of students to teachers is well-balanced. The professors always checked to see if I understood and was up-to-date with the assignments and tasks. The classes I’ve taken have been taught by amazing, responsive instructors. These courses provide me with a strong foundation in a variety of subjects.”