An Interview With Ms. Muhammad-Jones, One of METS’ Unsung Heroes!

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An Interview With Ms. Muhammad-Jones, One of METS’ Unsung Heroes!

Anas Mraihy, Profile Interviewer

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Many students have benefited from Ms. Najla Muhammad-Jones’ many roles here at METS.  Whether she has been your coach, your tutor, your teacher, or all of those roles and more, Ms. Muhammad-Jones has been helping the student body on many different levels.  For over five years, she has been the Special Education English Department as well as a summer school English teacher helping her students get a head start for September. With African-American history month here, The Metronome decided to interview Ms. Muhammad-Jones about her career and how race has affected her over the years.

The Metronome:  How long have you been teaching?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: I have been teaching for nearly 18 years.

The Metronome:  What do you like about teaching?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: I like being there the moment a student finally ‘gets it’, the ‘Aa-haaa’ moment.  

The Metronome:  What is the difference between Special Education teachers and General Education teachers?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: Special Education teachers have to be very patient people. We teach smaller class sizes because our students need more attention and help. General Education teachers have larger class sizes and students who need less one on one attention with work.

The Metronome:  What kind of school did special education require?  What degrees do you have?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones:  I graduated from Trenton State College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Special Education of the Deaf and Hard of hearing and Teacher of the Handicapped in 1996.

I also graduated from The College of New Jersey with a MAT (Masters of Arts and Teaching) in Education Administration.

The Metronome:  Has race ever affected your career?  

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: I think that being African-American has definitely given me an advantage over other female teachers in this field.  The majority of my students are African-American or Latino. I remind most of them of their ‘Auntie’ or mother in a way.  This usually gives a student ‘pause’ when approaching me in a less than positive manner. They are less likely to be disrespectful. They are more likely to do what they are instructed to do.

The Metronome:  What are some of the challenges your student’s face?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: My students have a variety of hindrances to the learning process. Some of them are many grades levels behind in reading and reading comprehension.  This makes learning from grade level books very hard for them.

The Metronome: What are some of the extra activities you have helped out with?  

Ms. Muhammad-Jones: I have coached Girl’s Basketball and Girl’s and Boy’s Volleyball in the past at METS. Since I teach every grade level, I have no extra time for activities other than tutoring.

The Metronome:  What does your family think about having a teacher as a parent?

Ms. Muhammad-Jones:  My children are proud to have a mother that is a teacher.  We usually have all the same days off together. That includes Summer vacation!!!!!

The Metronome would like to thank Ms. Muhammad-Jones for taking time to meet with us for an interview.  We would also like to thank her for the hard work she tirelessly oversees for her students, the student body, and the athletic program.