- Samit Ahmed and Aribah Morshed
A Farewell to our Beloved Math Teacher: Mrs. Rafia Khatun
Pleasant View School students have had various images of a mathematician who was eager and lively and could answer any arithmetic problem. To many, that was Mrs. Rafia Khatun.
For the past 22 years, Khatun held the position in the department of mathematics. As we bid her farewell after she has retired and moved away from Memphis this past semester, we pray that Allah (SWT) blesses this next chapter of her life. She has demonstrated her capacity and desire to make a constructive contribution to the Memphis community at large after developing a strong math curriculum for students who are committed to academic success, leadership abilities, and a strong Islamic identity. She has made significant contributions to all of her students’ academic lives as well as to every other area of school life where she was kind enough to donate her time and expertise.
Khatun joined Pleasant View School in 2001, where she was one of the longest teachers to watch the school grow from several expansion projects to added curriculums and hundreds of new students. Khatun initially started teaching and creating curriculums for both the math and science department, and was the reason our school was able to start the science lab. Academic success was essential to the school's expansion, and Khatun regards witnessing the building expand to accommodate the Muslim students in Memphis as one of her favorite teaching experiences. She has seen the small number of classrooms from the original hallways built decades ago expand to accommodate a much larger student body.
Khatun was every student's continual source of encouragement. She believed in providing knowledge that is applicable to real-world scenarios, so that a sense of direction isn’t lost. She showed students what really counts in life, and how important it is to value and respect other people's knowledge and time. By allowing students to study and develop through endless algebraic expressions, Khatun consistently included the theoretical applications of discussion in her math lessons.
The 22 years she spent teaching the most effective and necessary skills have really pushed students to expand their abilities in tackling the challenging problems. Students have learned the fundamentals of algebra from her, preparing them for more advanced math courses like calculus, which is more complex and requires knowledge of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Having studied with Khatun for three years, current senior Sara Almoazen described, "Mrs. Rafia will always be one of my favorite teachers, as she truly understood all of my strengths and weaknesses. She constantly encouraged me to give it all I had, even when I didn't feel like it. She has influenced my ability to think critically and creatively beyond math classes to which I hope to utilize in college and beyond.”
We are grateful that Khatun stood up for students and engaged closely with them when they were having difficulties. She has nurtured a generation of great scholars who balance their academics with all of their other life skills while still maintaining a strong Islamic identity.
There is more to PVS than just the building and infrastructure. For the students who have been taught under Khatun’s wing, the institution has become a pillar of knowledge and wisdom.
"Anyone can learn; you just have to give it a shot,” said Khatun. “There are different ways to learn. But the primary objective is to be a good Muslim.”