How this Project got Started and How it Grew

This is the email that passed between me and Rehmat from September 22, 2001 until November 14, 2001 as we built the page.

Date: Sat, 22 Sep 2001 08:40:56 +0500
From: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: [cel-talk] Leadership in These Times

The events of September 11 are a hot topic of discussion in our classrooms
in Pakistan too. More so because we are a frontline state, with a
considerable number of extremists. The fact that we will probably be in the
line of fire , is creating a  general feeling of unrest and unease and this
will in time have an affect on our students. This could prove to be quite
unsettling for the young people and we dread the day that  we have to deal
with their real and percieved fears. I'd love to hear from teachers who have
ideas about how to deal with the situation.
Rehmat Ebrahim

From: tednellen 
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2001 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: [cel-talk] Leadership in These Times

have them write letters, make webpages NOW!!!
get them public and to us, esp so we can share them at the NCTE
convention in baltimore in nov, if it is not too late.

you get them to us here we, or i will make them as public as i can on my
site and distribute them ASAP. 

waste no time, please.

From: ebrahims 
Sent: Saturday, September 22, 2001 6:35 PM
Subject: Re: [cel-talk] Leadership in These Times

Hi tednellen and everyone else,
I'm going to share these ideas with the Principal of my school on Monday
morning. Let me see how he can galvanize students and teachers into
 I'll get back to yoou soon.
Rehmat Ebrahim

Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 08:42:38 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

On Sun, 7 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Dear Ted, 

remember me? from Pakistan? your views ideas and suggestions on cel-talk
were really inspiring. I spoke withe the principal of the school I'm
associated with and he is really excited about send a package to you
containing the work the students are doing. Since this comes under the
domain of the language teacher and she had already started working on
the topic, I will assisst her in putting together a package for yoou to
take the the conference in November. what is the deadline for our
package to get to you, and I need a mailing address where I can send it,
we will most likely have to courier it to you.  Looking forward to your

Rehmat Ebrahim

hi rehmat,

of course i remember you and was wondering where you were.

nov 15 is when i leave nyc for baltimore so nov 14 should be the absolute
last day otherwise i miss it.  would it be possible to send this on disk
as digits as opposed to atoms. and if it is digits you could send
it via email. i'd like to be able to post it on the web as well. if the
students are writing on computers then digits is easy. is this possible?
if not, atoms it is. i can scan it here, but that will take time of course.
i look forward to receiving the work of your scholars.


Date: Sun, 7 Oct 2001 21:57:09 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: student's work

On Mon, 8 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

> Sorry Ted, It has to be paper. Unless I can get them to retype and
> compile on a disk or whatever. I'll try to make it as easy as possible
> for you Rehmat

whatever is possible, thanks.

are you guys okay?
what the heck is happening on your end?

we are getting our story as well you can imagine.


Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 08:51:06 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

Ted, it's early morning yet, I'm just leaving for work. Everything seems
very quiet, but there's a school across the road from me and the attendance
there seems very low. I still haven't heard any reaction but will as soon as
I get to work. I'll get back to you later today and keep you posted.

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2001 7:59 AM
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

may i post your posts to  the ncte list?
many of these folks will be at the conference.


Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2001 11:12:18 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

Hi Ted,
I've just gotten back home. There is an uneasy silence and calm prevailing.
Schools have closed for today and have made no decision yet about tomorrow.
Under the circumstances, a great number of women workers have stayed home
and there is general fear of anger and frustration erupting in the city -
mainly due to the fact that even though we are southernmost and far from the
borders, the number of Afghans here is very high - refugees as well as
extremists. It's a wait and see situation today. I'll keep you posted and of
course you can post my notes on the lists.
Thanks for keeping in touch,

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2001 6:30 PM
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

hi rehmat,

great to hear from you. i'm sorry for the turmoil you are obviously
experiencing and how pakistan is on the cusp of all of this. it must be
very unsettling for all of the citizens, the mixed emotions of religion
and politics. and the porr scholars as they are forced to grow up too
quickly and are so confused.

i hope you can keep a journal which let's you express your feelings and
observations about what is going on. i'm also interested in what news you
hear and from whom. the press is of course biased and we need to hear your
views to give it perspective, esp as it impacts civilians, the non
combatants. and you have the added element of religion.

are you muslim?
i dont know you nor you me. you can learn more about me from my webpage.  you will see i'm a vietnam veteran but by no means
a warmonger and have come to dislike this violence very much. the
religious talk also bothers me as it unfolds in the mideast on both sides
the israelis and palestinians. religious history shows me this as
extremism is the scariest and most destructive force we both have.

good luck and please be safe.

i am going to post your mail to  the ncte list and maybe others as you
send them. i wish to provide our teachers with a voice from inside the
conflict so we can be sure to keep the citizen voice alive and let us know
who you and your scholars are as people in this conflict. my thoughts are
 with you for your safe being...


Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 08:26:28 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

Hi Ted,
thanks for forwarding all the mail to me. It helps to know that people out
there aren't all in favor of what's happening here. I'll tell you a little
about myself, I started teaching in secondary school but gave up 4 years
later when I got engaged and married. A couple of years at home drove me
crazy - I had a masters in history but no prospects as the humanities holds
little value here. I then heard about a pre-service ELT certification that
the Pakistan American Cultural Center was offering, so I enrolled and became
fascinated with EFL/ESL. I joined the faculty of the center, popularly known
as PACC. That was the only the beginning - and i managed to grab at every
training oppurtunity that I heard about here and took it culminating in a
Masters inTEFL. Since then, teaching has become my life. In 1999 I was lured
by the International School in Karachi to join their faculty. The school is
affiliated with the IBO of Switzerland and the middle years program (MYP) is
absolutely fascinatiing. In fact, I am so taken with the program that I
declined offers from the Aga Khan University to continue with the school.
I've learned a lot here and have a great relationship with the Principal -
I'm teaching him the virtues of patience and of having a balanced approach
in his attidude towards staff handling - he won't admit  it but it's ok.
However, for a long time I nourished the dream of having my own place to do
my own thing and finally in August a set up a small center of my own called
"excel-a-rated". The school has been very cooperative and has allowed me to
continue on a part-time basis as Personal Project coordinator - I am
required to supervise the grade10 and help them along with their research
paper. Also, the IBMYP has a fascinating program to ensure life-long
learning it's called Approaches to Learning or ATL. This year it's my baby,
I'm piloting it, and loving it and I get to know the kids from grades 6-10.
Both courses have no evaluation and assessment on a continual basis so the
pressure is not too much.
however my center is taking time in getting really going. I've had to cancel
a lot of courses due to the current situation.
I'm married - 18 years - we are childless, not out of choice. I have 2
brothers living in the USA in the Silicon Valley and visit with them every
2/3 years. I've always bben close to them and enjoy spending time with them
and my husband has a great relationship with them. In fact I was there last
summer too. oh yes, I live in Karachi the largest and southernmost city of
Pakistan on the shores of the Arabian sea. This was a great city it's  now
an overgrown slum, looted and plundered. It was cosmopolitan but now we have
a huge number of Afghans of all kinds and the city is changing into a
chaotic menace.
I think that's quite enough for the first time, and yes I'm muslim and my
name means "blessing"

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

thanks for the window onto you and your work, rehmat. we are very similar
in many ways. schools whereever we are the same it seems. i look forward
to the work of your scholars as do many of my colleagues. as you saw some
want to figure a way to get them talking online. it is they who must be
taught since the adults forget and act badly.

i've spent some time the last couple of years in silicon valley as i was
part of the carnegie foundation as a scholar. lovely place.

i have had many pakistani scholars in my classes here in nyc and know from
them about karachi. sorry to hear about the decline of karachi. nyc seems
to be on that road as living here has become unbearable. i never thought
for a minute i would have the view i have from my window.

may i publish your email address on the list or should i continue as we
are doing it now? i will continue to forward you mail as it pertains to
you and post your email without email address so your voice can be heard
and help us with our thinking and scholars.

love your name and it's meaning.
mine is theodore, greek for gift of god. always made me laugh, but do love
it in a weird way.
i've been married twice. i have a 29 year old daughter who teaches in
calif with my first wife. just divorced from second wife and have a 16
year old daughter in 11th grade and a 7 year old son in one of the schools
affected by this event in nyc. it has been very hard on them as you can
imagine. i have just spent today talking to real estate folks north of nyc
to find a place to move as i cant stay here anymore.

be safe, my friend.


Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 09:00:40 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

How right u r ted, even our names have similar meanings. Well, my school is
closed for the rest of the week. Thank God! for my center - I would have
gone crazy sitting home and twiddling my thumbs. I find this closure quite
frustrating, 'coz we're missing out on a unique opportunity of peeking into
the windows of the souls of our young learners, sigh! next week a lot of
them will have forgotten what the initial feeling was - my bunch is
over-privileged and over indulged - high risk due to not having any
financial constraints, but messed up due to parents being messed up. But
they're fascinating and there is a large number we've been able to help who
are sure to turn into better people. I'm still trying to gauge the reaction
of the average citizen and it will take a day or 2 for people to really come
to terms with the situation and become more clear in their thinking about
how they feel.
I'll keep you posted

Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 06:06:03 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: students work regarding current global events

i have been reading lots from and
the language of US news is so jingoistic and nationalistic and so

here we are finally getting news stories on how we must teach about
diversity in our schools, but the problem is the prejudice the kids
receive from home.

that pres bush used the words "crusade" in his earlier speeches certainly
raised some eyebrows here as they must have in the muslim world. 

ths is so confusing esp as i have muslim friends here and how i see women
who are muslim walk the streets and how folks look at them. it is a scary
time. and the flag waving is constant and very disconcerting. the language
of revenge and trying to find an enemy in everything makes USA a very
tense place. as it is exploding there, i sense in the next couple of mnths
will bring much here esp as we near Christmas.

wonder how this will play out during Ramadan. 

that this is about religion is becoming more obvious every day.

very sad days for our children as they are the victims of the adults and
we see this in our schools every day as we project our prejudices and
fears onto them, the innocent.

stay safe and as sane as possible, my friend.


On Thu, 11 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi Ted,

I had a history teacher who was adamant about propounding the theory
that all wars in history have been aboout religion. She even argued that
the 2 world wars had a religioous motive and nationalism, imperialism
etc are all myths. Reading your last bit of mail I begin to wonder if
she is right after all. I remember how we all scoffed her and thought of
her as being obsessed with the religion angle, but now it's something to
think about.  I agree with you, we talk of moderation and
multi-culturalism and condemn discrimination, but when the kids go home,
they are surrounded by the concepts and values of how the adults around
them think - I wonder whether we are doing the same too?  Here, I've
come to the first of my conclusions, despite all the protests and
anti-attack ideas, most people seem to be opposed to the Taliban as they
preach a brand of islam that is by and large unacceptable - militant and
harsh and inquisitionistic -. What is upsetting most people is the fear
that who will be branded next? who will be the next target? and of
course the humanitarian concerns for the poor and destitute Afghans and
the moral question of whether this is a genocoide.  Let's see, people
are now beginning to talk and express views and opinions.  I have
rescheduled all my Friday classes to today as there are strong rumors
about a violent protest on friday, that means I sit home and twiddle my

Have a nice day,


Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 20:37:34 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: keeping in touch

sorry for being out of touch, rehmat.
lots happening here with family and school.

my son i just found out was a hero on that fateful day. his mother came
back from a school meeitng and told me everyone asked if she had seent he
article in which tom, our son was featured. no was her answer as we werent
aware of it. as the classes were running from the school as first tower
collapsed, his teacher fell and was getting buried in the cloud of dust.
he went back and helped her up and she continued on with his support. the
teacher said noone else helped her but he came back for her. we were
shocked that he never told us and that this was the first time we heard
about it. that certainly explains how i was greeted that afternoon when i
finally got to where they were evacuated to pick him up. some story.

also i wrote something for an online ed pub about that day..
it should be online soon. this is the unedited version.

September 11, 2001 was one of the most horrible days of my life. It was
like any other school day. I had dropped my seven year old son off at his
school, PS 234 at 8:40 and walked the one block along Chambers Street to
catch the Number 2 train uptown to 125th Street to go to the school I was
working in for the day. When I got off the train at 125th Street, my cell
phone was beeping with a message and then rang with in an incoming call.
It was my wife and she asked if I had heard. "Heard what?" I asked. The
World Trade Tower had just been hit by a plane." I turned around and saw
an image I didn't believe. Then the second plane hit. I was in shock and
was panicked that my son was down there and I was uptown. Needless to say
the trains were not going back down there. I immediately began walking
back downtown. Moved east to the FDR Drive which was obviously going to be
the only way to get back downtown. I began hitchhiking and a cab with
someone in it picked me up and took me as far as 23rd Street on the East
River, where they were forced off the highway by the police. I then went
back onto the highway and hailed a cop car going downtown telling them my
son was in a school in the shadow of the towers and they were going to
take me down as far as they could. They told me to jump in and we sped
down the highway to Houston Street. I walked the rest of the way against
pedestrian and no vehicular traffic. I got as far as Worth Street and
walked west across Worth Street. When I reached Broadway, I saw the seven
story plume of smoke and debris cascade across Broadway as people were
running but overtaken by what I learned later was the collapse of one of
the towers. When I finally got to within a block of his school and could
see it, I was told the school had been evacuated to another school, PS 41,
on 10th Street and Sixth Avenue. I was relieved, but now turned northward
to that school. Upon arriving he was safely seated in the auditorium, but
was the last one in his class to be picked up. The principal and a couple
of teachers came up and told me how helpful he was. I was proud of him and
told him so as we hugged for what seemed an eternity. He doesn't hug and
kiss me in school, but he did this day.  We then walked over to Lexington
Avenue and 23rd Street to get his 16 year old sister who was fine at her
high school. Upon arriving at her high school, we found my wife just
entering the school. During all this time our sell phones were useless and
we had no communications with each other. It was 2:30 and we had lived a
day unlike any day we had ever experienced in our lives and hope never to
again. Let me say, I'm a Vietnam Veteran, and this day was far worse than
any day I ever spent in Vietnam. We walked home. Home is in lower
Manhattan a mere ten blocks from the World Trade Center. The house was
filled with dust and smelled. We lost all services, water, electricity,
and phone. We walked up 23 floors to our home and stayed there for the
next two days under these conditions until the building finally got a
generator to give us power. 

Four weeks later. Today, my son entered his third school in one month. It
is an old unused school that the parents have spent the last couple of
weeks preparing for the children. They put up large pictures of all the
students. Murals of classes, painted the place and brought in new books,
desks, and supplies. It was a very cheerful place. My son found his
picture on the second floor and came out today more happy about school
then in the past month. We are lucky to have our son in PS 234. 

i got a note from one of those reading your email on the english teacher
list, who hopes you are keeping a journal and said this is the best stuff
she has read about what is happening from the inside and homes it will
published. i concur. i hope you are writing about this, please.

i used to have many discussions about religion with my dad. he scoffed at
the religious angle as he was more on the economic aspect. both have their
place no doubt.

i hope the tensions there are subsiding some and friday is not as bad as
you  predicted in this email.

help me with another matter about afghanistan, a country about which i
know nothing. did they have a king and is he in exile in pakistan? if the
taliban is ousted would the king or prince go back and rule? can you give
me some history of afghanistan on this, obviously more recent history as
it pertains to how taliban came to power. all of this is not really clear
to me and is not presented well here. also pakistans role in all of 
this. how is the president faring with having to walk that
tightrope within pakistan.  i see him on tv and he looks very
stressed out. my last recollections were of the woman who ruled and 
then scandal happened.  as you can see i'm very ignorant about
politics in your land, sorry. and thanks for any clarification you can
provide. it may come in bits and pieces of course. if you have urls you
can send me to, in english, that would be great. again sorry for my
ignorance and thanks for any help you can provide me in better
understanding it all from your point of view.

and sorry for the length of this post.


Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 09:11:50 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: keeping in touch

Hi Ted,
The experience you've recounted is absolutely horrorfic!!! My hats off to u
that u survived it and betray no bitterness about it. As for your son, he
deserves to be honored - a 7-year-old, with so much humanitarian
concern,give him a hug from me, I saute him!
now, I can answer some of your questions but not all. What I can remember
about the history I've read is that modern Afghanistan, as it is known
today, was an area inhabited by warring tribals and each, - city should I
say? - had its own titular head. They were constantly at war with each other
and alliances were formed and broken all the time. But they always came
together when one of their own was threatened by an outsider. They were
warlike as people and even pre-partition and pre-British Raj India had been
assaulted by them a number of times. The most famous ones being Mahmud of
Ghazni and Ahmed Shah Abdali. Most of them invaded India, massacred the
locals, looted, plundered and left. Some stayed behind and established
ruling dynasties. Agood source of information would be the books - the way
of the Saracens by Syed Ameer (Amir) Ali. The writer was knighted by the
British crown. Another readable account is A History of the Islamic People
by P.Hitti. These are all old books but contain a lot of information. This
part of my knowledge of history has always been a little fuzzy, mainly due
to the fact that the persons who have been glorified by muslim historians
have been debased by European historians and the difference in opinion is a
stark contrast. I can tell you this, that it is a history of cruelty and
tyranny and palace intrigues, especially when it came to succession to the
throne. Anyway, somewhere along the line, Afgahnistan emerged as a nation
and their last king was Zahir Shah who lives in exile in Rome.
Pakistan's involvement in Afghanistan began with the Russian invasion. That
is when the USA played Devil's Advocate and decided to kill 2 birds with one
stone - shore up  the Afghans against the former Soviets, and establish
proximity to the Ayatullah controlled Iran. Off the record, young fanatical
men from all over the muslim world were recruited by the Pakistani and US
intelligence agencies, trained in the mountainous areas away from prying
eyes, and armed and sent into battle against the soviets as a "holy war".
When the soviets withdrew, the "donor" agencies also packed up  and left,
leaving the devastated Afghans to their own fate. These guys then began
moving into Pakistan in droves and brought with them weapons and
heroin -creating a problem for Pakistan. Not too long ago you could hire a
Kalishinkov for Rs. 200/- for the day ($1 =Rs.65/- today, then it must have
been rupees 45?-). As a result of this, the Afghans are not liked by most
people. The ones who favor them are our local pushtoon speaking population.
What concerns me and causes me to wonder, is that the terrain of Afghanistan
is harsh and hostile. The winters there are cruel, even the Soviets, used to
the cold of Siberian winters could not hold out, how do the Americans plan
to do so?
Anyway, when the western nations and donor agencies abandoned Afghanistan,
in-fighting ensued and the civil war is still continuing. In this whole
mess, stepped in Osama bin Laden backed by his band of extremist supporters.
They called themselves the Taliban, and managed to seize power - mainly
because they had the money to keep themselves armed, and also to acquire
sophisticated technology by buying it on the blackmarket or whatever. They
recruited through the mosques and mosque schools where in the past the Saudi
brand of Islam had received patronage and is receiving funding even now, to
counter the Shi'ite brand of Islam that was gaining popularity and
prominence in Pakistan, especially after the revolution in Iran (by the way,
I belong to the Shi'ite group).
I think this has become a bit too long - I've tried to keep it as unbiased
as possible and hope it answers some of your questions.
tomorrow I'll tell u all about the woman who could have made history and
changed Pakistan but blew 2 chances of doing so. That will be a highly
tinged personal perspective.
Take care,
PS: I've been an ignomarus and not kept the journal - but better late than
never. I'll probably - most likely start it today - so don't pull your hair
out at my foolishness.

Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2001 23:30:03 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: keeping in touch

thanks, rehmat.
lots to digest and cant wait for the next installment.

i have already given him a big hug. once i find the article, i will send
it along to you.

we are having lots of waking up about our flag waving and deeper looks
into why we were attacked like this. someone hates us bigtime. that we as
donors diod leave and were there for two reasons makes sense and is part
of the dialogue here. we have a problem with big business using other
countries' children and poor to manufacture insteadof making it here which
would cut profits. we are having a larger divide the haves and the have
nots and have nots form outside struck first. now our leaders are trying
to divert the focus from the rich to bin laden and terrorists.. this will
crumble. in time as our economy does not recover as middle class lose jobs
and stop spending, the rich will be even more isolated and we may have
some serious trouble here.

example. a couple of days after 9.11 the airlines got a $13 billion
bailout from us govt. then the next day they fired tens of thousands of
people, while the ceo's kept their $6 million dollor salaries. folsk were
outraged. it was accepted cause it was so close to 9.11. but in a couple
of months? our middle class has been the hardest hit and will once again
make the biggest sacrifices and if enough become the lower or lower middle
class while the rich maintain their lifestyle we will have trouble.

when our president was asked this question about sacrifices all he could
spek about was the longer airline line... but not so for the first class
passenger. just as donor nations left your area, it seems as if they are
leaving us here too.



Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2001 07:40:58 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: HI!!!!

Hi Ted,
Thanks for all the encouragement. I feel like a minor celebrity all of a sudden - whereas
I've always maintained a low profile and am more comfortable with my low profile. Last
October I read in the papers how the US had increased the visa quota for the hi-tech
industry so that more guest workers could be employed. By Dec, it seems the buble burst
overnight and while I was visiting in June, my sister-in-law was getting calls from people
who had recently moved to the US but were selling their stuff in distress to go back home,
mainly to India. My brother, who works in IT told me that between Dec 2000 and May2001 some
50,000 guest workers - only in the Silicon Valley- had lost their jobs and had returned
home. I heard of similar conditions all over the US when I called and spoke to friends. I
can imagine how scary that is. What about teachers? do they get laid off as quickly? I read
a long write up in Newsweek about the "shortage" of teachers in the US. Is that true or is
it just media hype?
I'm asking a lot of unrelated questions, but I'm interested in finding out. This weekend
I'm attending the ELT conference. This annual event is organized by the Society of Pakistan
English Language Teachers (SPELT) and it starts in Karachi, travels to other cities and
finally ends in either Lahore or Islamabad. I'm attending only the Karachi one. I usually
play a very active role in the organization of the conference but this year I've been so
occupied getting my own little language center going that I asked to be excused, so I feel
kind of weird, since I haven't been in on things. This is always an International affair
and gets reported by TESOL and IATEFL. The keynote speaker this year was to be Andrew
Wright. Unfortunately it's turned into a "national" conference since all the foreign
presenters and participants had to cancel out. SPELt is proud of the fact that in 17 years,
despite adverse circumstances on a number of occasions, we have never called the conference
talk to u later,

On Wed, 17 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi ted,

Sorry to have been out of touch. The SPELTERS but up a brave front and
went ahead with the conference. Of course, under the circumstances,
attendance wasn't what it should have been but it was heartening to see
so many. everyone pitched in and prepared presentations to fill the
empty slots that the foreign presenters were supposed to have done and
because of the last minute preparations the quality wasn't what it
normally is. But we did it!!!  Sentimentss are changing here, former
supporters of the US action are now turning into non-supporters and
feeling that the actions are harming civilians and causing the land to
become wasted and therefore it's a crime against humanityand the human
race. Jane mentions some of the good stuff you're doing as your
contribution to the community and the children who would otherwise have
been on the fringe. Please tell me about it, I may be get inspired to do
something here too.  School finally reopened yesterday, I didn't think i
would be so thrilled to see my monsters again. On the whole, I felt part
of the world again. 


Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 18:50:02 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Hello!!

Great about conference, rehmat. 

i can well understand how things are changing there as the citizens are
suffering as everyone knew they would. very quiet here as it is in the
background for us and we dont get much coverage anymore. and of course the
coverage we do get is tainted. now bush is using kids and asking them to
send him a dollar for the children of afghanistan. using the kids!! how
disgusting. we are now making even more enemies and the americans dont
even hear about this. very dehumanizing. 

i work in a group of schools which serve what some call the "throw away
kids." we have schools in prisons, for teen mothers, for kids who just get
kicked out of traditional schools or drop out. i work with technology and
use the tech to help the kids attain skills and let them use the computers
to learn how to learn. i've bene working with computers in the classroom
since 1984 and now will and can only teach that way. i teach teachers now
how to integrate the tech into their classes. i've got a blank check with
these schools as nothing has worked thus far, i get no roadblocks,
especially as we are getting positive results. it is real hard work, but
oh so rewarding.

i've written quite a bit about it. see some articles here

yes, it is funny how we do so look forward to returning to  the classroom.
i feel so out of it when i'm not there.

enjoy the monsters, haha.


On Tue, 23 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi Ted,

I have some of the students' samples for you, and am all set to send it
out. But I need your street address and phone number. If I can have that
by the morning, Wednesday 7 am my time) i can have it sent tomorrow.


From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: hello!

now i'm sure you have been hearing about the anthrax situation here as the
mail is how it is being transmitted. a package from pakistan will of
course be suspect. i hopei get it and in time. fingers crossed. next if
and when i get it, i want to scan the letters so i can post on web. i will
post in an area not seen by others, unless i give address or make it more
public. your choice.  i'm also thinking of having teachers read them at
our gathering in baltimore. i want to make them as public as possible.

once i get them i will know better and need your imput on this as well.
identities will be secure and not made public. again this is a
conversation we will have to have once i have them in hand.
thanks, rehmat.

Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 22:28:42 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: hello!

Hi Ted,
I'm doing something wrong or rather my scanner is misbehaving. However my
admin assisstant at school has just enlightened me that I can scan in the
documents in school, save them on disk, bring it back home and e-mail the
stuff as attachments to you. Is that true or is he putting me on? If that's
the way it can be done, I'll do that - easier than couriering it and faster
too. Now you have proof of how computer illiterate I am.

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2001 9:26 PM
Subject: Re: hello!

yes he is correct. that would be the way. it is easier to transport the
digits than the atoms. and as i said with this anthrax stuff going on mail
from pakistan will be suspect as well you could imagine.
if you send me the digits i can immediately put them on the web, too.

great news.


On Thu, 25 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Will do ,
more later.

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Thursday, October 25, 2001 9:48 AM
Subject: Re: hello!

most excellent, rehmat.

i'm planning on having different teachers stand up at intervals and when
they get the urge to read a letter fom one of your students to those
attending the friday night dinner of wired english teachers. will have
them on a website to be seen by those many who pass through the tech
centers i help man. i think your scholars will acquire many american
penpals... i'm excited!


On Fri, 26 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

You're making me nervoous, for all i know, you may not want to discuss the
work you  receive. Anyway, I'm astarting up a very small writing group from
Monday, These are older learners who want to come during their lunch hour.
I'm gonna use recent events as the starting up point but it may take more
than a week to get the first draft out. Whatever, if it's before/during the
early part of the conference, I'll mail it to you too.
Have had an extremely busy week and am going in for the same kind of
wekend - but social.
More later

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 21:33:11 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: hello!

dont be nervous, rehmat and that is not my intention. as i said in my
first post to you, it is crucial we get the word out and discuss diverse
points of view. please dont be nervous. 

let me tell you something about me. first i'm related to our president
bush through ancestor. we both have acommon relative on the mayflower, the
boat that brought the first settlers to america in 1620 thatstuck and
those people are considered the blue blood or first european settlers of
america and the royalty of america if you will. high status. then let me
say he and i are on as opposite ends of the political and moral fabric as
two people can be. i am so curious to hearfrom you and your students it
drives me crazy, i have so much to learn. i dont know what made you
nervous, but please dont be. there are many here who want to hear what you
and yours have to say. it is a perspective we dont get here and one we
need. we want to discuss the work we get, please trust me.

enjoy the weekend.


On Sat, 27 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Thanks for the morale boosting! I'm nervous about the work, will it be what
you're looking for? Will it have an impact? and stuff like that. Now nervous
as in persecution related

Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 07:29:49 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: hello!

ha! youre sounding like the kids, what youre looking for. it will be the
voice ofthe childrenand that is always welcomed by teachers and what we
do, put them in  a mode of waht adults want to hear or what adults want
them to say. this is one reason i want my scholars to publish on the web
fortheir voice and not to say what they think i want to say or what i tell
them to say. i want their voice.  teachers have a hard time sharing their
scholars work with others for this fear. i was never worried about that as
i want the scholars voice and ideas to come out and then i can help them
refine it if they want. yes it will have an impact, trust me. remember it
is about the children. as i always remind myself and others schools are
for the kids not the adults. 

i've had lots of messages from folks who are eager get their scholars to
connect with yours. i'm hoping after the initial letters we can set up
some kind of email exchange over time. which brings me to the question if
you know other schools interested in this too.

dont worry, rehmat, education and communication is how you avoid war and
hate and misunderstandings. the kids need this esp when the adults act so
badly. we are teachers and remember teachers are too often the first
victims in countries that have vicious leaders as we promote open
conversations and free thought.

dont worry rehmat.


Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 22:34:55 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: hello!

Thanks Ted, I feel good now. I met a friend today who teaches grade 5. She
just let her kids talk about the events especially after the attack. She
shared a comment with me and I'd like to share it with you. Most of her
students were really upset about the attack, the main reason being the death
and destruction. one 10-year-old made a remarkable comment, he said that
oour parents,teachers etc always tell us that if we do pick on anyone it
should be someone our own size but the American government doesn't seem to
understand this - they're bigger in every way and they are picking on
Afghanistan which is smaller than them in every way. Wasn't that remarkably
put by a 10-year-old? I was amazed at his ability to draw parallels.
Let me clarify, that the students haven't written letters - they have
written short compositions. i will be mailing the stuff to you starting
tomorrow morning - it's saturday night here now.

Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2001 12:52:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: hello!

great story and so good. this is exactly what i mean, they say it like it
is. love it. thanks.. yes, we are like the bully and i hate it. we are
upset with the attack too.

i look forward to the compositions, not the letters, haha. or i will be
getting a letter from you with the composition. 



Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 02:05:56 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: students' work

WOW!! Rehmat, these are powerful pieces. thank you. Please tell your
principal, Taymur Mirza, I will do my best to honor these scholars and the
work you are doing. i hope it helps the cause of peace and understanding.

i have begun to assemble the pages you have sent me, great stuff.

i want you to share this with your principal and scholars. you are the
only one with this url, noone else knows of it or has seen it.

1. i need your peer review and criticism
2. i need some relevant info about kids: age, grade no pics, i can put on
first page
3. maybe group picture NO NAMES if appropriate, i dont know
4. maybe pics of school for first page to accompany letter from principal.
5. i will take  link off once you have seen it to see how they will
appear. since i leave for baltimore on nov 15, i will make links active
then. my presentation is the 17th.
6. provide me an order in which i should present the compositions. they
are random right now.
7. oh do they have any illustrations for these compositions?

thank you rehmat and thank your principal and scholars.

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 18:28:56 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: students' work

Thanks for the positive feedback Ted. the English teacher Shazia Habib, had
already started working on the topic with the students. I felt it would be
overdoing the topic, so I backed off, discussed your idea with her, and let
her continue. I'm proud to say that I've been Shazia's trainer when she took
her certificate in ELT last year.
So, the two of us have collaborated to get the work
done. My contribution was only in guiding her towards what I wanted to do
with the assignments. As for pictures and illustrations, if they complete
some I'll send them on. Photographs, the parents will kill me. But some data
about the names, grades, age etc I can provide. Let me ask Taymur how much
publicity about the school he will go with, and accordingly let you have the
I've sent you one attachment with the teacher's comments.

Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 20:00:58 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: Regardless of nationality,the repercussions of the events of September 11,
    2001 have had a profound affect on all age groups

Hi Ted,

Have the teacher's comments been of any help in deciphering the
grades and age groups? It was a busy Monday for Taymur - the Principal, I'll
try and talk to him within this week to send you some information about the
Next, I have started a writing program today at my own center. The course
participants are all adults. The first theme is September 11, 2001 examined
from various angles. Would you want that material too? I don't know if your
focus is only children.

On Wed, 31 Oct 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hey Ted,

I did some great work in my Approaches to Learning class today. But it's
gonna take a while, so please be patient until the weekend when I can
send it to you.


From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 9:52 PM
Subject: Re: Great news!!!

great news, indeed.  if we are doing this digitally we have gained more
time. nov 15 is a deadline we should be working with, okay?


On Thu, 1 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

I've got the deadline in mind. But some days are just so hectic. It's 10:00
pm and I've just started up the computer. I've been officially assigned the
dirty work of observing teachers in class. I insisted that this first found
consist of "announced" observations. The Principal is mad at me 'coz he
wanted to catch them sleeping on the job, whereas I want them to be prepared
so that I can actually pinpoint the trouble spots - it becomes a survey for
the school and you can identify training needs. Anyway, I was determined to
do it my way or not at all so he succumbed. Now all the reports have to be
done and I always go one step further, I've already outlined the first rung
of the training ladder - let's hope he sees the light. I'll try and take out
time tomorrow (Friday morning) before I go to work and transfer some files
to you. Hope you had a happy haloween.

Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2001 01:51:26 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Great news!!!

halloween was fine thanks. 

kids had fun then we watched the world series and then again tonight the
yankees do it at the last minute. absolutely stunning.

any way about observations. i've been through this for so long and with so
many different principals, maybe i can help you with some ideas.

as yousaid observations are for staff improvement and growing, not
punitive or for humiliation. one of the neat things i liked was when we as
teachers had to visit other teachers for three classes a semester. i used
to do it 3 in  a row to really get the culture of the class. the first was
just that, the first but by the second and third i saw the real class and
teacher. eye opening for both. we continued to do this as the years went
on just so we had different perspective and it was essential in helping
oppne up the classroom esp as we started using the internet. it was an
early serendipitous seque into making our work public as teacher scholars.
usualy teacher is isolated in the classroom and noone knows what is going
on except what teacher says and what kids say and the occasional
observation. but we never see it. it was easier to hear about our class
from peers rather than from an administrator, esp one looking for negative
things and who is adversarial.  the next thing i found even more useful
was videotaping the class. i at first used the videotape for my
presentations. you see i was trying to explain to teachers about how the
computer room worked and at conferences they would ask questions about the
logistics and stuff, cause noone had ever seen a teacher teach english in
a computer room before so they had no reference points. one day i asked
a teacher to video tape a coupple of classes for me. it was awesome, i had
never seen myself teach. when i watched those videotapes of myself i was
dumbstruck. not only did those tapes help other teachers see wha ti did in
the classroom, it helped me immensely. and then when i showed them to my
kids, it blew them away. i used a videotape as an observation one year and
the union guy suggested it to our union and now our union allows teachers
to videotape a class for observations. the videotapes have become very
useful for us in teacher training now. 

perhaps these two ideas may work for you in your school.

good luck.


Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2001 18:27:25 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: Great news!!!

Great ideas! I'll use them in the 2nd phase which is from Jan - Apr 2002.
Those will be 3 in a row. Principals, no matter how great they're to work
with ( mine is) but they all seem to have this kink about cathching the
faculty napping. Is it an obsession that goes with the position?

On Sat, 3 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:
Hi Ted,

I've just looked at the site and I love it!!!! I'm writing down the
correct spelling of the students of MYP 4 (grade9) in the order that
you've listed them:  1

The other names are ok.  Another thing, the written compositions were
done by Ms. Shazia Habib the English Language teacher. The Drawings were
done in my class, the subject is Approaches to Learning. The political
cartoon was used in my class for stimulation and has been taken from the
newspaper.  If you have any more questions, or need any more details,
I'm just an e-mail away.

Great job!!!

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Saturday, November 03, 2001 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: the site

i am now going to hide it till i do more to it so others cant find it,
till i'm ready to show it in baltimore.

Date: Sat, 3 Nov 2001 20:11:39 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: the site

Sounds good! I'm relly excited about this and I hope the presentation is
well received and your efforts are appreciated. It is an anti-climax for me
now - at least until Friday (nov 09) when I mail you the compositions from
my intensive writing workshop.
Good luck,

From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2001 3:43 AM
Subject: some editing

hi rehmat,

okay we have an all new look. check this out and please recheck it often
as i'm working to change things..

some questions:

1. is it okay to use the kids' names on this page i will be making public
and hope becomes very public.

2. i'm messing with the scholar's work by taking out teacher comments. is
that okay? i will put up with or without comments. i'd prefer none.

3. i messed up on Scholar 5's work. could you resend it again?

4. can i get some comments by kids on their drawings?

5. may i get a comment from shazia about the lesson.

6. what are the main pakistani news ssources you and they use that i may
include on page and a comment.

and of course i welcome your comments and opinions.


Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 09:31:48 +0500
From: ebrahims 
To: tednellen 
Subject: Re: some editing

Hi Ted,
I sense a feeling of frustration and urgency, relax, i realize you must be
planning your presentation as you go along but I'll keep checking. Sometimes
I can't get back to you immediately because I have the dial up system and
the phones are too busy, but I do try to check often since this whole
project started up.
To answer your questions,

1. I would prefer if you did not use the names of the children as we have
not taken permission from the parents. If we seek permission, it will surely
be refused, since everyone is too paranoid now and fear it will affect their
chances of obtaing non-immigrant/immigrant visas and also they fear that the
FBI and CIA are monitoring everything therefore they could be "blacklisted"
or whatever.

2. Taking out the teachers comments is not an issue at all. You may remove
them or keep them, whatever you prefer.

3. Yes, I'll resend Scholar 5's work as soon as I sort through the papers
again and recheck them against the disks which should be sometime later

4. I have a class with the same group on Wednesday, I'll try to exchange
with someone on tuesday to get the comments. Monday is parent-Teacher
Meeting so the kids won't be in school.

5. Shazia's comments have already been sent to you - the one beginning
"Regardless of age ......."

6. The main news sources are BBC, CNN, the local English dailies (morning
editions) - the DAWN ( the oldest and the more conservative) and THE NEWS
 a newer one and a little more prone to sensationalism). Also the
eveningers - THE STAR (a sister publication of DAWN)  THE DAILY NEWS (the
evening publication of the News) and THE LEADER ( one of the oldest but
least credible ). Students also seem to be swamped by articles that come
through on the net - these go around and we don't know the source of
origination because a friend sends one to a friend, who in turn forwards it
to a number of friends and so on they go. Some students read TIME and
NEWSWEEK and BUSINESS WEEK and such magazines. Plus 2 of our local
newsmagazines  - THE HERALD (again by the Dawn group) and NEWSLINE ( that
says it like it is and is an independent).
I hope I've been able to answer all your questions.


Subject: Re: Breaking News!!!!
On Mon, 12 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hey Ted, It's almost 8:pm here in Karachi - nov 12, 2001. I've just heard on BBC and CNN about
a plane crashing into the Queens area of NYC. Is everything alright with you?

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 09:07:55 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Breaking News!!!!

yes, i'm watching it on tv now.
dont know anything in detail.
all airports closed, all bridges and tunnels closed.
pure panic as you can imagine here.

the plane went down in a huge residental area.

may just be an accident, but who knows. this was a plane loaded with folks
going to dominican republic..

On Mon, 12 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

This is really awful! I'm really grieved to hear about this incident. I just
hope the death toll, by some miracle is not as high as I imagine it would
Take care,

On Tue, 13 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi Ted,
How is it out there? I hope you are safe and have not been affected by this
tragic disaster. Since all our cable channels are linked to the satellite,
our transmission has been rather disrupted all yesterday evening. When it
was finally rectified there was a long-winded press briefing from Washington
going on and very little about the actual crash. I am devasted but even in
this state I am planning how to use this event and llink it to my ATL class
with MYP 2 today - possibly by continuing the theme similarities and
differences in disasters that are natural and those that are the result to
human error and those that are deliberately caused and the reasons for the
deliberate attempts to cause destruction. This will then link up very well
with my next theme evaluating and reflecting upon our own behaviour at home
and in school. How students handle their emotions and feelings - aggression,
dislike, displeasure etc and behaviour management techniques.
Be safe and take care,

Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 05:10:29 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Breaking News!!!!

hi rehmat,

seems like just a terrible terrible accident. from what i have heard, the
pilot knew he was in trouble, dumped fuel over the bay and too kthe plane
down into  a nose dive as opposed to trying to land. he knew they were
doomed and minimized ground damage. it could have been far far worse.

on ground only four houses hit, maybe 5 people died. now this area where
plane went down, they say lots of firemen lived, almost every house was
affected by sept 11 as they all lost someone. they have had more funerals
out there than anywhere else. so to have lost so many to the planes at WTC
and then to have one fall into their neighborhood has to be too much. one
woman who lost her fireman husband said she couldnt go into nyc again, and
now she says she cant go home.

now as to folks on plane. this plane was going to the dominican republic
and was loaded with many people from another community here in nyc,
washington heights where lots of dominicans live.

so we have three devastated communities in nyc: wtc, rockaway beach, and
washington heights all to plane crashes. one horrendous act of terrorism
whci has rocked the world and then a terrrible terrible accident as an
explanation point or salt into the wound. it certainly makes me wonder
about god when this kind of stuff happens. god is certainly not blessing
america, no matter how many times we say it or sing that song.

lots of tragic ironies in this story. that those who already lost many
firemen at WTC and then to have a plane fall from the sky over their homes
cant be overlooked. but the other story, not being told much is about the
day workers, the folks who worked in the restaurants in WTC and as
custodians and the like were very poor and many dominicans in that group
and then for them to be on the plane. the communities like washinton
heights which are communities of the workers of nyc never get told, but
they suffer too, just as badly as the rest.

our mettle is certainly being tested rehmat as rich and poor and everyone
in between is being affected day in day out across the country not just in
nyc, though we seem to be the center of attention and i dont like it

i cant wait to go to baltimore for those five days of the convention.


On Tue, 13 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi Ted,
I am just so horrified reading about the disaster, I have no words to
express my sympathies. the emotional and psychological trauma must be
unbearable and I don't blame you for wanting to run away for a while. The
fact that you feel so traumatized and upset is only natural for someone who
has been through such tragic events so close together. All I can say is hang
in there and take care, the whole world seems to be doomed right now. May
God's blessings be with your nation again soon.

Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 01:41:53 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Breaking News!!!!

thanks, rehmat.

On Wed, 14 Nov 2001, ebrahims wrote:

Hi Ted,
You must be all set for Baltimore and about to leave. Good Luck with your presentation and
enjoy the conference.

Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 01:47:03 -0600 (CST)
From: tednellen 
To: ebrahims 
Subject: Re: Good Luck!!

as ready as i can be. loaded everything on my laptop and it works just
printed out and made copies of the scholars' work too to hand out during
session with my other stuff. i hope i have a receptive and vocal audience.

one more day here in nyc and then i'm off.