The Best Laid Plans

In the name of Allah

I do not know why every time that I prepare myself to do something, it turns out to be the worst, and if I don’t prepare, I can do it best!

One example springs to mind. It was third Jawza of 1388 (May 24th of 2009), and I was a student at one of the educational institutes in Kunduz province. We had a medium-sized class of twenty students: eighteen male and two female. It was a week before “teacher’s day” when we started planning what to do and how to make this day special for our teacher.

Teacher’s day is a special day to thank and appreciate all the hard work our teachers do. It is a holiday—the students and the teachers gather together to celebrate this day with music, food, cookies, and all the other plans they have made beforehand. Students are allowed to wear their uniforms—or any clothes they want.

Since I was the supervisor of our class, I arranged a meeting among all the classmates. We came to the classroom about half an hour early in order to plan. We discussed our ideas, collected money from everyone, made a to-do list, and appointed students to take part in the activities.

It was the day before the big party day, and everyone knew their responsibility. Three other students and I went to buy dried and fresh fruit, cake, cards, and gifts for the teachers—especially for our English teacher. As expected, the prices were high and there was not even a place to put your foot down in the street, it was so full of students. We stored everything in one of the student’s houses which was close to the institute.

Finally it was teacher’s day! I was at the institute at 3:00 p.m., and none of my classmates were there, even though they were supposed to be. I was thinking, “They need t0 show up right at three!” but then thought, “Well, it is Afghan time, they will show up soon because they are so excited.”

I only had to wait for five minutes when two of the other students showed up. We started cleaning up the previous class’s mess. By 3:30 p.m., everyone was there and helping to put up the art and colored papers, sorting the table and chairs, designing the room, and so many more tasks. I could see the excitement, happiness and love for our teachers in their faces and hard work, and as the time passed, they expressed it even more. I loved watching them as they worked together with cooperation and respect. I wished that all Afghans could be like my classmates.

By 4:15 p.m., everything was ready.

Teacher Khan was our English teacher, and everything about him was unique and different—and everyone could see it in the way he talked, acted and advised. “He is a pattern for everyone,” one of the students said.

Before long it was 4:30 p.m., and we couldn’t wait any longer for him so we decided to call. Tareq had Teacher Khan’s number, and Sabira and I listened in. Teacher Khan didn’t answer—instead, Teacher Azar (our previous ESL teacher, who could not teach very well) answered and said they were sightseeing in Shirkhan Harbor and would come to the institute by 5:00 p.m. I told the students that our teacher was on his way and to be patient.

We turned on the music and made tea ready, and I tried to keep the students busy so they wouldn’t feel the time passing.

I thought to myself, “What will happen if he doesn’t come?”

I hadn’t told Teacher Khan about the party, but he had to expect it because it is very common. He was a very on-time teacher, and as the clock hit 5:00 I took the time to thank everyone for their efforts.

Omar called him again, and this time our institute’s administrator answered. Omar told him that all of our classmates had made a celebration for our teachers in the institute, and that we were waiting for them all. He said: “I am really sorry; we are still in the Shirkhan Harbor, and after this we are going to Teacher Azar’s house to visit his mother. Why didn’t you tell us before?”

As soon as the students learned of this response, they were naturally sad and disappointed

So what did we do? We started the party and celebrated teacher’s day—even without teachers!

By Gulnaz A.


  1. Very good description! One thing that I would like to mention is we don’t have Afghan time. It is just a bad habit that people use as excuse to justify their lateness. I enjoy reading your piece please keep it up.

  2. Lots of great details here. What an experience! I like the way you set up the story at the beginning. Send more of your personal essays!

  3. Angela D. says:

    It is very nice that you acknowledge and celebrate teachers like that. I sure that they really appreciate it. It is too bad that your teacher did not show up for the party.

  4. Meghan D. says:

    Your story is written very well. I think it is great that you are so selfless and thinking of a way to show your teachers appreciation for all of their hard work. I am sure everyone was disappointed for a little bit, but I am sure it was so much fun to be able to celebrate together. I look forward to reading more of your stories in the future.

  5. Nicole A.D. says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and wonderful writing. You learned to take a bad situation and turn in into a good one, which is something everyone should learn. I’m glad you still had fun even though your teacher didn’t show up. Your story reminds me of a quote, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

  6. Blythe D. says:

    I really enjoyed your descriptions. “there was not even a place to put your foot down in the street, it was so full of students.” That’s a great description that pulled me in to the place you were talking about. I too have learned that almost nothing in life goes exactly as planned! It is best to keep an open mind to life’s surprises.

  7. M. Nizam says:

    Very nicely described, with great attention to details. Keep writing

  8. mengting says:

    i am really surprise that student uses this way to celebrate, it is show the teacher’s is really important in this society. it also really surprise that a classroom have 18 boys and 2 girls!!

  9. says:

    this is article is full of a lot of impact detail. it tell us that how student do to celebrate the teacher day. good job! keeping your storys going !!!

Speak Your Mind