The Impact of 9/11 on My Work as a Teacher in Saudi Arabia

1. Introduction

I graduated as a teacher in Saudi Arabia in 1999. I was 25 years old and burdened with the responsibility of educating the young minds of my country. I had a lot of things running through my mind during my graduation. It marked a point in my life when I had to pay back to society.

I started my teaching career in a small village in Saudi Arabia. I was the only teacher in the village and I taught all subjects to fourth grade students. It was a daunting task but I enjoyed it. The students were disciplined and eager to learn. They respected me and I respected them.

The impact of 9/11 on my work

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, changed my life and my work forever. I was working in Saudi Arabia at the time and I remember feeling shocked and horrified by the news. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.

After 9/11, things changed dramatically for me and for other teachers in Saudi Arabia. We were no longer allowed to teach certain subjects, such as geography and history. We were also required to teach Islamic studies and Arabic language classes for non-Arabic speaking students.

The fourth grade mathematics curriculum in Saudi Arabia

The mathematics curriculum for fourth grade students in Saudi Arabia is based on rote learning and memorization. Students are expected to learn multiplication tables, division facts, and simple fractions without any understanding of the concepts behind them.

This approach to mathematics education is not effective and it does not prepare students for higher level math courses. I believe that students need to be taught how to think mathematically, not just how to memorize formulas and solve problems.

Soccer, seniors, and students in Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, soccer is a very popular sport among young people. However, there are no organized leagues or clubs for children to join. The only way for children to play soccer is on the streets with friends or by joining an informal team at school.

As a teacher, I often saw senior students bullying younger students on the soccer field. They would take the ball away from them or push them around. This made me very angry and I decided to do something about it.
I started a soccer club for my fourth grade students. We met after school three times a week and played games against other teams in the village. The club was a great success and it gave the students a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Free education in Saudi Arabia: Islamic values and discipline
All schools in Saudi Arabia are free of charge for students up to the age of 18 years old. Education is compulsory for all Saudis between the ages of 6-15 years old. However, many parents choose to send their children to private schools because they feel that public schools are not safe or provide good quality education.
There are many private schools in Saudi Arabia that offer international curriculums such as British, American, or French. These schools are expensive and only available to families with high incomes.
The curriculum at public schools in Saudi Arabia is based on Islamic values and discipline. Students are required to study Islamiyat (Islamic Studies), Arabic Language, Social Studies, Science, Math, and English. Girls and boys are segregated in all public schools.
I am proud to be a teacher in Saudi Arabia. I believe that education is the key to success in life. I will continue to work hard to provide my students with the best education possible.


I became a teacher because I want to help students learn and be successful in school.

My favorite things about teaching are helping students understand concepts and seeing them apply what they have learned.

I think students learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process and when they receive feedback on their progress.

I am motivated to keep learning and teaching because I believe that education is important for individuals and society as a whole.

Some challenges I have faced as a teacher include working with diverse populations of students and meeting the needs of all learners.

My own education has influenced my teaching methods/philosophy in that I believe that all students can learn if given the opportunity and support to do so.