The delights of teaching in village schools
Teaching has always been regarded as a sacred and noble profession in the Kurdistan Region. Due to lack of teachers in the rural areas, the government urges those who graduate from universities and choose to become teachers, to teach in the village schools.
Despite the fact that some graduates refuse to leave cities for faraway villages for the sake of teaching, many others describe their profession in the countryside schools as a "King’s Life".
Although, newly appointed teachers don't make a lot of money, village school teachers have some extra benefits which are not available to those who instruct in the cities. The government usually provides the village school teachers with houses close to where they teach. It also takes responsibility for paying for electric power, fresh water, and kerosene for heating and cooking purposes.
Hemin Ahmad is a fresh college graduate who teaches in a distant village school and likes his job very much. Since Ahmad graduated in Education College's English Department, he has no options other than accepting to be hired as a teacher in a basic school in Garawan village, two-hour drive far from Erbil city center.
"I was nervous at first to leave my family, to live with others in a town, and teach in a village. But once I got there I started loving it. I feel so comfortable to live and work with a group of people who are close to my age," said Ahmad.
Ahmad lives with a roommate in a house provided by the Kurdish government for a group of teachers in Rawanduz, a town which is only a few minutes far from Garawan village.
Ahmad believes that he spends the most beautiful moments of his life with a group of enlightened teachers in one of the most picturesque places in Kurdistan Region.
"Everything is refreshing to me. When I come out from my dormitory house, I only see pretty scenes. The mountains are covered with snow in this season. I live with a group who mostly are in the same age and have common sense about all the aspects of life," he noted.
Another thing that has made teaching in village schools nice is the marvelous respect the villag- ers show to the teachers. Teachers are considered as guides, educators, instructors, and even problem solvers.
"I am respected highly here. I never felt that I am not from around here. The people are super nice," said Ardalan Luqman who teaches English language in Bnawiya coeducational Basic School in Bnawiya village, five kilometer far from Khalifan town in Erbil.
After Luqman married Nizar Sardar, another English Language teacher in the village, he was provided with a house by the people of the village for free. Life for this newly married couple is like a king one as they don't have to worry about paying for the electricity power, drinking water, and even kerosene for heating purposes.
"Working here is a good experience for us. We remember when our parents were talking about village life and we were just listening. But today we know how the village life goes," Luqman said.
The nicest thing to Luqman is the simplicity of life in village as people are satisfied with living in a modest way.
One of the big differences between village schools and the city ones is the number of students. In a regular school in Erbil city there are over 1000 students, while in the school where Luqaman and his wife teach, the student numbers do not exceed 280 students.
"Teaching a few students is easier than teaching a large group. The teacher can convey his message more easily and even the students can get it with no difficulties," Luqamn explained.
Luqman's wife, Sardar, also loves living and teaching in Bnawiya village for different reasons including people's respects for teachers and the simplicity of village life in general. There are 70 to 80 families living in Bnawiya village who mostly are related. The people over there are renowned for being lovely, friendly, and respectful.
Kurdistan Regional Government annually appoints a few thousand teachers in the Region. According to the Education and Teaching Ministry System, the newly appointed teachers have to spend 3-5 years in the distant villages to get experience before moving to the city schools. Many teachers, even after spending their legal period in the villages, don't return to the city and decide to continue living in villages for a long time.
A view of a basic school in Garawan Village. GLOBE PHOTO