“It is all about believing in the human nature”, says Tamer Badr. “Everyone is gifted with special talents which make us different from one another. The teacher’s mission is to develop the students’ talents with love and not molding them,” the art teacher at SEKEM School explains. These words reveal Tamer’s deep faith in his role as a teacher. But the words also show his realization towards being a part of an education system, suffering from professional problems since a long time.
The faithful art teacher had never thought about being a teacher in the past; he had studied commerce and accounting during his university years. “Most of my family members worked as teachers, which made me decide to have a different career in the beginning”, says the former accountant. “I did not like the idea of forcing the students to stick to the government curricula and hindering their thoughts. That was my perspective about the teacher’s job back then,” continues Tamer Badr, who has been a SEKEM member for more than 20 years.
Clay sculptures turned him into a teacher
The present teacher joined SEKEM as a production planner at Libra, one of SEKEMs companies, in 1996. “One day a friend told me about SEKEM, which aroused my curiosity and drove me to be a part of it”, says the 45 years-old. After working at Libra for two years, he joined SEKEM School. “My astonishment grew more when I met the founder, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish. We had a discussion, which revealed to me how far-sighted this Egyptian man is. At that moment, I realized why SEKEM is a unique business model.”
Dr. Abouleish, who believes in the power of culture and arts as the main pillars of human development, was the driving force behind the change happened to Tamer’s career life. “One day, he urged me to quit my job at Libra and to start working as a school teacher. That freaked me out!”, Tamer recounts. This happened after the art teacher showed his artistic talents during the cultural workshops, offered by SEKEM to its co-workers. Such sessions, which included acting, eurythmy or drawing classes, also included carpentry and sculpture sessions. “I always enjoyed doing clay sculptures, which exposed my talents to the trainers back then”, the artist recalls.
“Charisius is my godfather in teaching arts”
First being a trainee, who learnt under the supervision of a team of Waldorf teachers, Tamer Badr has been an art teacher at SEKEM School since 1998. Besides knowing the job’s artistic aspects, the popular and respected teacher learnt how to deal with the students professionally. “Unlocking the students’ potentials and raising their awareness towards their senses is the key to stimulate their creativity”, Tamer explains. “I am grateful to all my trainers and especially Klaus Charisius, who changed my old stereotyping perspective about teachers”, Tamer continues, while pointing at a picture of a man pinned on the carpentry classroom’s wall. “Charisius is my godfather in teaching arts. May his soul rest in peace”, says the faithful SEKEM teacher passionately about the longtime SEKEM friend and supporter who passed away about five years ago.
Today, the father of two sons and a daughter is proud of the drift which encountered his career. Although his daily commute is from Banha, which is located two-hours and a half away from SEKEM, he teaches his students with a deep passion every day. “Together we do carpentry, geometric drawing, rocks sculpture or even Origami, the art of folding papers”, he explains. “Our teaching is not limited to students, we also offer workshops to all SEKEM co-workers. It is in line of the holistic view built by Dr. Abouleish and we are growing it.”
Fighting educational challenges
Tamer conveys the pedagogical skills which he has acquired even to his children. “Since we are living far away from SEKEM, it is hard for my children to attend SEKEM school”, says the mindful teacher and father. “However, I am keen on helping them to overcome today’s educational struggles, through developing their ethical principles in regards to nature and mankind,” he further explains. Despite the defects prevailing the Egyptian education system and the challenges that have been facing its development since a long time, Tamer believes that “the teacher can be the prophet with a message of change. A prophet, who seeks the development of his people and their coming generations.”