Interview with Linda Lattouf Gedeon
Linda is the Head of Elementary Cycle II (Grades 4, 5, and 6) and Head of Intermediate Classes (Grades 7 and 8) at Beirut Baptist School (BBS). She has nearly 20 years of experience as a teacher, coordinator, and head of division. We recently had the chance to interview her about her work and why she continues despite the challenges.
Why did you choose to become a teacher?
I decided to become a teacher because I was deeply inspired by my French teacher at the secondary school. That was my primary driving force! When I was 16, I also discovered my passion for kids when I was given the opportunity to be part of the Sunday School children’s program. Upon graduating high school, I realized that teaching and a career in education was the best match for my skills and passions. After nearly 20 years of experience, I have also come to believe that teaching was a God-given calling for my life.
What is your favorite thing about being part of the BBS community?
I am blessed to be part of an institution that strives for excellence in education and cares deeply about its students’ wellbeing. I am also grateful to be at a school that seeks, above all else, to show and tell of God’s love through its values and beliefs.
What connection do you see between faith and learning? How does this fit into BBS’s overall witness as a school?
“Staying focused on my call” is a phrase I often repeat to myself. With everything going on around us—the economic, political, financial, and moral situations—it is easy to worry and easy to lose focus.
Yet I believe God placed me at BBS for a time such as this and I believe He wants me to live with love, faith, and enthusiasm, not fear. I try to do this everyday, even in the simple things like a cheerful smile and encouraging students after they’ve failed at something.
I love James 2:17, which says “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” This is the connection I see between my faith and my work: my faith has to be lived out in my work. This is also a core value of the entire BBS management team. Ultimately, we want our students to grow in mind, body and spirit and to become responsible citizens and lifelong learners.
What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve had to face the past two years?
For the past two years, education in Lebanon has been hit hard by a series of intense political, economic, financial, monetary, and health crises, each aggravated by the disastrous explosion of the Beirut port on August 4, 2020, which resulted in huge human loss and financial losses.
BBS was able to implement an emergency education plan and shifted to online learning. Although that was necessary, we thank the Lord that we were able to have in-person teaching this year… especially considering the electricity shortages and internet interruptions at home!
But coming back to school we’ve realized the enormous challenges we now face, including a change in our students. It seems that many students now have issues connecting socially with others, managing their time, being organized, and lacking motivation in education. Many of them have also developed fear and anxiety. Our biggest challenge is to recover their soul and mind and to help them bridge their academic loss and gaps.
As a mom, caring for my daughter is my top priority. I am trying to have balance between family, work, and church, all while carrying the concerns of the students at school.
What do you wish people around the world knew about teachers in Lebanon?
Teachers in Lebanon are real heroes! They are overcoming all kinds of stress and challenges on a daily basis, yet are doing so because of their dedication and perseverance to make teaching and learning possible. They have continued teaching in all circumstances: a pandemic, strikes, economic collapse, poor weather conditions. The entire world should know that a Lebanese teacher is a symbol of strength and renewal!
Why do you continue doing what you do?
Simply, because I love what I do. Investing in the lives of students gives me a deep sense of fulfillment and productivity.
How can people be praying for you and other teachers in Lebanon?
As a leader, especially in these challenging times, I would love prayer for daily wisdom, courage, and strength. Please pray that I will remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
I would also appreciate your prayers for the other teachers to have faith and hope, trusting that this period will pass and that God is able to fulfill all of their needs.
Encourage Lebanon’s Teachers
BBS is working tirelessly to uphold the integrity of the school’s academic standards, while also supplementing needs – transportation, trauma therapy, community development – far outside the asks of a normal school.