Azadeh Abidi

When COVID closes a door, it opens a Zoom call

By Warren Ho Kin | October 21, 2020

This is the story of Azadeh Adibi, a passionate SFU graduate student who travelled half the globe to perfect her craft in teaching English. Before coming to Canada, Azadeh taught English for 8 years in Iran and Oman after getting her first master’s degree in education. She is now pursuing a second master’s degree at SFU under the Educational Technology and Learning Design program.

The transition

Most people would tell you that change is difficult. Moving out from home or moving countries means leaving friends, family and adjusting to a new environment. For Azadeh it meant moving to a completely new continent and going from being a seasoned instructor to sitting on the other side of the desk as a student.

The wall

While going through her master’s program, Azadeh still wanted to teach but finding the right opportunity was not an easy task. At one point, Azadeh found the English Conversation Circle (ECC) through the MyInvolvment platform of SFU and after interviewing for the position, Azadeh was looking forward to teaching once more but unfortunately, the location of the teaching center was too far for her to commit to the program.

The window of opportunity

As COVID hit the world in early 2020, job postings became more and more scarce and it didn’t look like Azadeh’s search for a job was going to be any easier. But when a door closes, another (zoom) window opens. The same opportunity which Azadeh could not commit due to the transit distance reached out again to her since they were moving towards remote learning.

When everything clicks into place

Even though teaching virtually through zoom was a challenge in itself because interactions are different and some of the material was designed to be help in person, Azadeh was able to not only find an English teaching opportunity but she was also able to gain experience relevant to her current master’s degree in educational technology and learning design! Along with her volunteer peers and with support from the SFU Office of Community Engagement staff, as well as guidance from the staff at SUCCESS BC, they developed new material catering to the virtual meetings format and helped newcomers to Canada make friends and stay socially connected and not feel isolated during the COVID isolation measures.

Change is never easy, and it often causes disruption in our lives. But change isn’t bad, it opens opportunities.  Now it’s time for you to take your opportunity, the way that Azadeh did. Volunteer virtually with English Conversation Circles or any of the other opportunities available through the SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre.