Awad Awad: Teaching With a Twist


The eleventh floor has a new resident: Awad Awad, North Atlanta’s new Arabic teacher, is ready for his first full year in person.

Awad Awad is an educator, food connoisseur, and part time therapist to his students. In his first year at North Atlanta as the Arabic teacher, he has seamlessly managed the transition to a new school and creating a safe and encouraging learning environment for students whilst juggling finding his way around the building and into his eleventh floor classroom.

Awad began his teaching career as a university professor. He heard about the opening of a teaching position while serving as the Georgia liaison to the Arabic Teachers Counsel of the South. Awad’s major ambition is to create a consistent Arabic pipeline from kindergarten to 12th grade so that students can gain a mastery of the language by graduation. “I immediately called Mr. Brelje, the NAHS Arabic teacher at the time, about the opening,” said Awad. “It was the perfect opportunity to create the pipeline by stepping into the K through 12 trenches, and I thought, who better than me to do so.”

Learning to maneuver zoom was a delicate task for all parties involved and an experience that Awad not-so-affectionately refers to as a learning process. Teaching to black boxes can be difficult waters to tread, a complication that he handled with grace, keeping in mind the well-being of his students. “We were not teaching online. We were teaching in a crisis using digital tools, in the same storm, on different boats and driftwood,” Awad said. “I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t know what I was getting into.” 

Navigating the building, however, was another task entirely. Most teachers and students celebrated a return to campus in February, while Awad braved an introduction to it. Aided by faculty members and the occasional student, he eventually found his way around campus. “Last week a staff member found me waiting for the student elevator and showed me to the staff one I would have never known existed,” said Awad.

Despite being thrown into the deep end, his main focus has remained on his students. He says that once students rejoined campus life he fixated on going with the flow, keeping in mind his desire to encourage students’ excitement to see their friends again at long last. His classroom is known to many as a safe space in which to seek refuge. “I always look forward to going to Mr. Awad’s class,” said sophomore Trista Rohrer. “It’s the high point of my day and was the most consistent thing I had amongst all the uncertainty of last year.” 

It’s clear to see how much his students love and admire him with just one glance into his classroom. Whilst our interview took place a student from an earlier period delivered a letter of appreciation. The letter thanked him for nurturing such a secure environment and expressed how much his understanding impacted their life. We were interrupted a few more times by inquisitive students and bursts of laughter. “I bet this is probably the first time they’ve been able to laugh like this since Covid,” said Awad.