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Teachers Turned Lifelong Learners: Triumphing Over Challenges

Photo: Aisha Jiffry


In a world captivated by silver screen superheroes in robotic suits, we often overlook the quiet champions shaping our lives in profound ways: our teachers. They may not wear capes or possess superhuman powers, but their impact is immeasurable. Meet Aisha Jiffry, an extraordinary educator whose journey exemplifies the essence of these everyday heroes. Her story underscores the transformative power of teaching and, more importantly, the resilience that fuels the enduring impact of educators.


Photo: Aisha Jiffry
From Aide to Educator

Aisha’s journey into the world of education began as a teacher’s aide at the Australian International School Singapore (AISS). Even in this early role, her innate ability to make lessons engaging ignited a passion for learning in her students. Her career expanded to teaching various subjects at Kids Millennium, but her path towards making teaching her lifelong passion was far from straightforward.

In 2019, the pandemic struck, and during this tumultuous period, Aisha faced another challenge—an unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer. Instead of letting adversity thwart her ambitions, she sought an opportunity to make productive use of her time.


Photo: Aisha Jiffry


“I approached my doctor and asked if I could do something constructive during my treatment,” Aisha recalled. “I believed that I could still use my brain even if my body was going through a tough time.”


A New Chapter: Teaching English Online and Specialising in Special Needs Education

During this challenging period, Aisha embarked on a new educational journey. She enrolled in the CELTA program and began teaching English online as part of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Rohingya Refugees Project. Her students, based in Malaysia, presented unique challenges, often revealing underlying dyslexia. But Aisha’s teaching went beyond the mere transmission of knowledge; she empowered her students to overcome these challenges.

“I remember three of my students passing their exams with flying colours,” Aisha proudly shared. “In particular, three of them advanced to the Philippines to continue their tertiary studies on a scholarship. It was a proud moment for me.”

This experience deepened Aisha’s belief in the transformative potential of education. She saw teaching as more than just transferring knowledge; it was about nurturing students’ confidence and potential, regardless of the challenges they faced.

Driven by a deeper calling to special needs education, Aisha pursued a Double Diploma course (Graduate Diploma in Education and Child Psychology and Specialist Diploma in Special Needs Education). At the same time, she began volunteering as an Early Intervention Teacher (EIP) at Train Kids. Later, she also started teaching international students at Edvantage Institute Singapore (EIS) and facilitated the Rainbow Friends Special Needs Enrichment Programme with Speech Academy Asia (SAA) every Sunday afternoon.


Photo: Aisha Jiffry


Furthermore, Aisha introduced balloon sculpting into her teaching methods to alleviate stress and improve self-regulation among students. She ingeniously integrated balloons into phonics lessons, making language skills more accessible through hands-on activities. Balloon sculptures not only enhanced learning but also created lasting memories, making education both enjoyable and effective.


An Enduring Source of Inspiration

Aisha’s journey was not without its share of challenges. “Teaching can be undeniably exhausting,” Aisha acknowledged. “Yet, I’ve always chosen to see the glass as half full. Whether it’s the varying energy levels demanded by professional adult education, engaging with energetic toddlers, or dedicating weekends to my students, the enduring reward lies in the outcomes.”

Now, at the age of 43, Aisha is a mother of two, continuously inspiring others with her remarkable journey. “My motivation to pursue education at Newcastle Australia stemmed from my desire to show my daughter that her mom was unyielding in her pursuit of knowledge,” Aisha shared. “I aimed to be a beacon of hope for other warriors who have faced adversity, proving that there is indeed life after cancer, and that no disease should ever be allowed to defeat our spirits.”


Photo: Aisha Jiffry


Her academic achievements include earning High Distinctions in select modules, a powerful demonstration that pursuing a master’s degree is not only attainable but also a testament to the resilience that resides within, even while juggling a myriad of responsibilities.

For those inspired by Aisha’s story and looking to follow her path, the Newcastle Australia’s Master of Special and Inclusive Education program is calling on you. Designed for individuals who balance full-time jobs, parenthood, and other personal endeavours, this program offers an opportunity to create an impact in education while managing life’s complexities. Enrol now and be a part of the community of everyday heroes, like Aisha, who shape the future one student at a time.