Elham Chishty

Position: Psychology Faculty
Phone: (408) 313-6581
Email: echishty@peralta.edu

Teaching is my passion. I wish in my students to re-kindle in their hearts their authentic voices (as some of our voices may have been silenced or dimmed through conditioning). That to me is my purpose for teaching, and maybe even why I have been brought here.

Like so many people we carry with us so many burdens and scars in our hearts that may make our moments on this planet at times unbearable or grief-stricken. Like one of my students once told me, “Happiness is a stranger and so unidentifiable, but Grief is family.” There is so much value and integrity when you are able to connect with another grief stricken heart, I feel that there is depth and beauty in that. Because I have been to that place, I am able to at times recognize it in the eyes of another and my soul can’t help but reach out and help. I feel that is where my courses become a source of comfort in the hearts of not just some of my students, but myself.

My purpose of teaching is to make my students feel better about who they are. To instill in them confidence and trust in their hearts. To empower them to take lightly the conditions of worth placed upon them by the world and to uncover within them what already resides and that is their unique wisdom and beauty. My students learn about the various concepts in psychology while making powerful connections to one another and healing through it. Some learning takes place subliminally but the knowledge learned is retained for a long time. My courses are special in that they give my students a platform where they can truly express themselves in an academic setting. Many of my students finish the course successfully and some continue to communicate with me months after the course is over. I love hearing stories of their lives outside of COA as some have transferred to four year universities or started careers of their own.

I understand that not everyone views the world in a similar fashion due to various factors. We have in our brains more neural connections then they are known atoms in the entire universe. Given the magnitude and complexity of such a brilliant system between our ears, how sad it is that our educational system categorize and stigmatize some forms of intelligence or brilliance. I take pride that my classes are diverse and cater to the diverse learner in a multitude of ways. For example, I offer varied lessons, as well as varied assignments so that each student, whether they are visually oriented or interpersonally oriented has an opportunity to showcase their strength and shine.

On my free time, I play with my two daughters and read them books about dragons and mermaids. I want to instill in them Rumi’s voice, as he once said “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”