Teacher Spotlight: Malori Al-Suwaidi
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at Rubies Home Furnishings, and we want to honor all of our teachers and school administrators. We believe education is one of the most important jobs out there, shaping our future and giving children confidence to carry throughout their entire lives. We honor you today, teachers, and thank you for everything you do.
Today on the blog, we are featuring a local teacher we love, Malori Al-Suwaidi. We know Malori’s heart for teaching comes naturally, as her mother, Sharon Grasha, taught our very own Karlyn Loftin Pugh eighth grade English. To this day, Karlyn considers Sharon one of her very favorite teachers.
Malori has been a teacher since 2007 and is a graduate of West Jones High School and the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. She has been married to Allen Al-Suwaidi since 2007 and is a proud mother of two children, Maris (7) and Oren (3).
Malori is the daughter of David and Sharon Grasha and grew up in the Indian Springs community. She started as a freshman at the University of Southern Mississippi with plans to major in fashion merchandising. Through her first semester at Southern, however, she realized she was far more interested in the learning process rather than the content of what she was learning. She felt as though God was giving her this unique interest for a reason and resolved that He was leading her to teach.
Malori credits her mother, who is also a teacher, for inspiring her over the years. “She was the epitome of the great teacher that I wanted to become,” she said. “Even though I promised that I would teach anything other than eighth grade English, her subject area, I have been teaching exactly that for the past seven years.” This coming year, Malori is transitioning back to what she calls her “first love,” elementary gifted.
When asked what she loves most about teaching, Malori said she believes there is nothing greater than the intrinsic reward of another human learning something they did not know before. “It’s almost indescribable, but you can literally see their brains developing as they attain new knowledge,” she said. Malori believes that the classroom is her mission field. She considers teaching a unique opportunity to share God’s love with young people from all backgrounds. “I strive to model for them qualities such as good character, humility and empathy to help them become productive, successful citizens,” she adds.
Helping Change Lives
A few years ago, Malori and a young student come into her classroom unhappy to be at school. She had an difficult home life, and it was clear that coming to school each day was a struggle for her. “She had every possible hurdle in her path and didn’t want anyone to even talk to her,” Malori explains. Her mission in this student’s life was to show her the most important thing she could do for herself is get an education. “I knew that if she could feel success just once that it would make all the difference in her world,” she said. The student completed the year a totally different person, excited about learning and the potential of graduating, which was quite the contrast compared to how she began the year. “I knew that, as a team of teachers, we did everything possible to help her succeed,” Malori said. “Every year that passed in her high school career, the other teachers and I would strive to keep her encouraged.” After mastering many personal battles and ultimately the challenge of becoming a teenage mother, Malori was able to see the young lady walk across the graduation stage. “Students like this one inspire me and motivate me to be a better educator,” Malori said.
Encouragement and Advice
Malori says the best advice she can give other teachers and educators is to find a niche. “It may take years to discover the teacher you are meant to be,” she advises. She adds that teaching can be difficult, especially when you are under the pressure of subject areas that are state tested, but she believes that once you find the area and the age group that fits your teaching style, teaching can give you a sense of fulfillment that can’t be found in any other occupation.
To honor our teachers this week, we are offering a FREE Musee Bath Balm to any teacher or administrator with a valid school ID from July 19-26. We also have a special coupon code just for teachers, so click here to get your discount! And even more, from those who register to get the coupon code, we will choose one lucky winner to have a cookie cake delivered to their classroom by Rubies Home Furnishings.