ESL Teacher Feature: Meet Jala Hashim

Thursday, June 2, 2022
Phoenix College | ESL Teacher | Jala Hashim

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Jala Hashim and I am an educator at Phoenix College. I teach English composition, English as a Second Language, and reading courses at Phoenix College. I have taught English in many different colleges and universities; however, my favorite place to teach is Phoenix College because everyone at Phoenix College is so dedicated to every student’s success. I got my bachelors in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History from Arizona State University in 2013.  I also got my Masters in TESOL from Arizona State University in 2014. I am currently studying to get my Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University.

I am originally from Kurdistan, Iraq. I was born in Erbil, Kurdistan, and moved to the U.S in 1997 with my family as refugees. This move was very difficult and had many challenges; however, it was necessary for our survival. When we first arrived in the United States, my mother, my older sister, and I did not speak any English. My family and I struggled for many, many years in a new country. It was very difficult to move to a new country not knowing anyone and having to learn a new culture, new customs, and a new system all while trying to learn English. My older sister and I took ESL classes from elementary school until high school. I have a deep connection with Phoenix College because my mother took ESL classes at Phoenix College.  I am so thankful for my background as an ESL student because it helps me connect to my students, and their experiences, and helps me teach them.

What do you like most about teaching ESL students?

I like everything about teaching ESL students. ESL classes are my favorite to teach because the students are always so dedicated, respectful, and determined. What makes ESL so beautiful to teach is that every student has a different background, a different first language, a different story, and different goals. It is so beautiful to see that, despite the differences, my students always come together to bond over their similarities and help each other.

My students all have different dreams and goals. However, most students want to learn English as a first step to making a better life for themselves and/or their families. Most ESL students have come to the United States in search of a better life. As someone who was once been in the same place they are in, I fully understand all the difficulties and emotions that come with that. Knowing how difficult it is, I want to help guide my students through their English language journey even after our class ends. I love teaching ESL because my ESL students love learning.

What would your ESL students say about you?

From past semesters, one of my favorite things my students have said is that they feel I want all my students to succeed. They have also said that I am always willing to help in and out of the classroom, and that I teach things in a way that helps them understand and makes the information easy.  I try my best to help each of my students in any way that I can. I hope my students would say they understand how dedicated I am to helping them.

What is your most memorable teaching experience?

I have many memorable teaching experiences and memorable students. It is a bit difficult to pick just one.  I will say that I have had many situations where a student has reached out to me many years after they have finished my class. These students have either continued their education and graduated college,  received a specialized degree, opened up a business, and many other amazing achievements. These students have messaged me months, or years, after finishing my class to thank me or to tell me how much my class helped me. This is always such a memorable and rewarding experience. 

Also, each semester being able to meet so many different students with different stories and backgrounds is an incredibly memorable and remarkable experience. I get very sad having to leave my students at the end of every semester. However, I do get excited about the opportunity to meet an entirely new group of students.

What advice would you give to ESL students or to someone thinking about taking an ESL class?

To anyone who is thinking of taking an ESL class, I would congratulate you for taking the first step. I understand how scary and overwhelming it can seem to learn a new language.  I would also encourage them to never stop working towards their goals. They will make mistakes and there will be times when it will be very difficult, but, in the end, they will get through it. If you decide to take an ESL class, there are so many incredible ESL educators at Phoenix College. We all love teaching ESL, and we all have such a passion for it. Your learning and your goals and very important to us all at Phoenix College. I hope that we will have the opportunity and privilege to teach you and help you achieve your goals.