A super hero in Harran
In these days when our souls are depressed as words like “teachers” and “abuse” fly through the air, let me introduce you to a teacher who is a hero.
Emre Uğur, 24, is a school teacher in Şanlıurfa’s Harran district in Şehrince, a remote village far from the main highway.
It is his second year in the village, having arrived from Istanbul. In this village school surrounded by cotton fields, he is a creator of dreams for children who used to see their future only in the cotton fields.
Mr. Uğur organized literacy courses after school when he recognized many kids could not read or write. He did fun activities such as writing the alphabet with shaving cream.
He promised his students to build a library. He worked day and night, collected books, found shelves. It was the first library, for a village school in the area and it had 3,000 books. Now he is working with his students to open a third library in the area for another village school.
He holds field trips to Harran for his students from Harran who have never seen the city of Harran; they were even able to hold a class at Harran University among historic ruins. He does not only tell them to brush their teeth; he provides toothpaste and toothbrushes and every morning, they brush their teeth together.
Uğur has made his students watch Aziz Sancar’s Nobel speech numerous times in class to show that goals are achievable. To inspire them to set targets for themselves, Uğur dresses as a doctor, an engineer and many other professions every week.
When a student told him he does not like to drink milk, Mr. Uğur glued an elephant picture to the milk cartoon and made the pipette look like the elephant’s trunk.
When a child falls asleep in class, he does not wake them up; instead, he puts his jacket on them. “We cannot prevent the problem by interrupting the sleep of the child, we should find the roots of the problem,” he said.
When the time comes, he puts socks on students. Other times, he carries them. “I am their teacher but at the same time I have to be a big brother and sometimes, a father to them. Raising a new generation cannot be an easy task. I am sure the children have several goals in their minds. I am so happy to be able to contribute to them achieving their goals.”
He never scolds the children. Because he believes that it is not thunder and lightning that raises children and nurtures their hopes, it is the rain. Every piece of information the students obtain is like a raindrop.
As time went on, his students won several contests in the district and in the province. They were able to hold science fairs at school. They practiced science sometimes with lava erupting from a volcano, other times with a wheel turning with frictional force.
In short, even though our hopes diminish from time to time, we should not be hopeless. Somewhere out there, seeds for a bright future are being planted.