2019 Oct by HL age 14 for class of 10/30/19

    Essay written by HL, 14 years old grade 9 male. Week of 10/27/19 written on 10/30/19. I was to memorize Imran Khan’s speech in front of the U.N and test out for level one this week, I did neither. This week in the Green Stairs leadership Academy the teacher picked me up from my home around 9:00 A.M and as I opened his car door and stepped into his car making sure not to get the interior wet as it was raining profusely that day, I said salam (Islamic greeting translating to “Peace be upon you”) but I don’t think that I said it loud enough as he did not hear it and explained to me that in every culture, it is a common custom to say a greeting when you meet someone or enter their presence. My takeaway from this experience is that it is always important to make sure that you are being polite and although this sounds oddly specific, make sure to always speak loud enough for those around me to hear.

    As we were halfway to the mosque where we have our classes, the teacher asked me why he is always the one bringing fruit to class for everyone, and why someone else doesn’t take the lead and bring fruit themselves. He wasn’t saying this from a complaining perspective, rather, I took it as “why doesn’t someone else take the lead and do something fairly easy, that is a common courtesy and doesn’t take much effort.

    We got to the classroom at around 9:23 A.M and I sat down and started doing my meditation. At first I started with my fajr prayer, which is the first prayer of the day. After that I performed sajdah (prostration) and tried to focus on my sajdah and put myself in the presence of God. At one point I assume about 10 or so minutes in I was able to put myself in that zone but only for a few short minutes as some of the other students began to walk in a became distracted.

    I hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning so I had one of the bananas that the teacher had brought with him and I think that I will bring fruit this week as the teacher will be in Orlando this coming weekend. 

    After I ate we were to present an excerpt from Imran Khan’s speech in front of the U.N that we were supposed to have memorized the previous week. I did not memorize it at home but memorized it quickly before it was my turn to present. I did make a few mistakes however so I think for the speech that I am to memorize this week (the final sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (S)) I will just memorize it ahead of time so I don’t slip up in class.

    After this I think the teacher was upset with me because I didn’t test out for level one as I was supposed to so he had me go get boxes of special Qur’an sets from his car and bring them up to class. They were pretty heavy so I had to make about 3 trips. I passed out the Qur’ans wrong at first so I had to redo it. I did not realize that each box was one set, and that each copy of the Qur’an had been split up into 5 or so parts and was being bound together by a cardboard sleeve. After I passed out the Qur’ans, I noticed that the teacher was clearly frustrated with our lack of dedication towards the class and asked us, “Why did I even come today if no one’s going to do anything?” 

    We had a new student this class who is 26 years old and attends NOVA community college. I forgot was his major was but it was something in business or IT. When I was introducing myself to him, he told me that he also runs a family-owned business here in Fairfax that prints custom designs on T-shirts for local businesses, similar to companies like custom-ink, but on a smaller scale. I explained to him that I want to study medicine in the future and he said that if I ever start my own practice, I should come to him to get the uniforms printed. 

    One of the other student’s little brothers wasn’t feeling well that day so he decided to stay in class with his mom rather than going down to his class. Teacher gave him the page that we are to memorize and told him that he would give him an entire tray of chocolates if he could memorize it before the end of 2019. 

    Near the end of class, another students parents attended the class to listen to their daughter’s speech as she often gets very nervous and teacher thought it would be good if she had to say the speech in front of her parents. After they got settled, the teacher pointed to me and said “You see *my name* over there? He could easily do the work in the class if he wanted to, but he doesn’t because he knows level 2 comes with more work,” it was an embarrassing moment and I hope to pass level one within the next couple weeks.

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