By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Muneer Khalid was born and raised in the city of Detroit. After graduating from Oakland International Academy, he earned his bachelor’s degree in English and psychology at the University of Michigan, and then completed a master’s degree in education along with his teacher certification.
Khalid taught middle school English and high school psychology in Dubai at the American School for Creative Science, and has traveled to many countries and continents. He has worked at Scarlett Middle School for two years now and plans to stay for several more as he helps build curriculum for the district’s intervention program.
Khalid is a resident of Ann Arbor. His hobbies include traveling, skydiving and planning various platforms—such as retreats and conferences—for youths to express themselves.
What is Strategies for Success? Strategies for Success is an intervention course designed to help students unlock their potential and motivation to grow as a learner. Students are introduced to a number of topics ranging from growth mindset and grit, all the way to identity and empathy. These topics are intertwined with foundational math, reading, and writing skills to better prepare students for their academic career.
What have you learned about middle schoolers that you didn’t know five years ago? I didn’t know the many different directions in which they are pulled. Their academics have become a lot more rigorous, students are oftentimes trying sports for the first time, and they start (emphasis on start) to develop who they are as a person on top of all of the other changes that happen during that age. This doesn’t include whats happening at a student’s home and the background they come from. Mix all of those things and that can be a lot for a 12-year-old. As a result, I have really pushed myself to be as patient as I can with students, understanding who they are and the many responsibilities they have to juggle at a young age.
What inspired you to become a teacher? I come from a long line of educators. Both of my grandmothers were teachers, two of my sisters are teachers, my mother works as an administrator, and a few of my brothers dabble in education. You can say it’s a family affair!
Did you have a Plan B? Yes, along with a Plan C actually. I wanted to go into mental health and still may do so by doing a PhD in either clinical or counseling psychology. Wherever my career leads me, though, I want to work with an adolescent population and I thought the best way to get to know them is to spend time with them. I feel teachers have the unique ability to do so almost as much as their parents.
What is your first memory from school? Funny enough, I actually walked in to my first day of pre-K and walked out. I decided that school was not for me and that I would try again next year in kindergarten.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned so far about teaching? About learning? Relationships are of the utmost importance, everything else is secondary. If students don’t trust you, they won’t learn from you.
Describe an average workday.
- 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Class, prep, trips to Wendy’s or Jimmy John’s.
- 3 to 4:30: Work with struggling students after school.
- 5 to 7 or 8 p.m.: Lesson planning.
What’s the last new skill you learned? I learned how to navigate the online world of Fortnite so that I can look cool in the eyes of my students.
What advice would you give to a first-year teacher? Get to know all of your staff. They will help you understand and cultivate your own vision of being a teacher. They will also become your support day in and day out, they understand your struggles better than anyone else. Shout out to Mr. Wills Begley, Ms Daughtery, Mr Barrientes and Mr. Hakim or the artists formerly known as Bagels, Misty, Sneak Sal and Kreme Cheese.
Favorite websites: Imgur great for making me giggle. Kahoot—a great activity for students along with some cheese balls.
What do you wish everyone realized about the work of a teacher? There are many roles and hats that teacher wear. There are a lot of different needs and supports that we provide our students that go beyond what is supposedly expected of a teacher.
How do you recharge? Traveling! It’s a great way to understand and appreciate the world we live in.
How do you spend your summer break? For the past few summers, I have taught at the AAPS Summer Learning Institute which is held in conjunction with the University of Michigan. I think its a great way to understand the students that I will have throughout the year in a smaller classroom. I also try to squeeze in a few different countries to travel to in between.
What would you want a student to say about your class at the end of the year? I would want a student to say: “Mr. K cared about my growth as a person. It may not have always been in the way I liked and at times difficult, but he did care about me as a person.”