Posted in 5 THINGS, Uncategorized

5 things that grind my gears! Teacher edition!

As much as I am loving being back to work and the fulfilment that comes with that, I have also been reminded of all the annoying things that come with the profession. So, here are 5 things that grind my gears… Teacher edition!

  • Comment from non-teachers about how great teachers have it; “You start at 9 and finish at 3”, “teaching is such an easy job”. If I’m completely honest, I can see where the misconception comes from. However, these regular comments couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to teaching, I’ve always used this analogy to describe the workload; I feel like I go under water for the 7/8 weeks of that half term and I only come up for air when there is a school break. Teaching is more than delivering lessons to the children- a lot of teachers spend their break times, lunch times and evenings planning lessons, marking, setting targets, setting interventions e.t.c for a range of children (Children that are working at different year groups, children with special needs, children with English as Additional language e.t.c). These range of children need differentiated tasks and lessons. So, the teacher isn’t just planning for a class, most teachers are planning for several ‘classes’ EVERYDAY for different subjects. After being in school for 9h30mins, I still spend my evenings doing more work. A teacher’s work never ends.
  • The assumption that we get long holidays- Yes, it seems like we get longer holidays than most professions but when you really think about it, you realise that we don’t. Here’s an example: The last summer holiday was just under 6 weeks. Just before the summer holidays started, the current teacher of my class-to-be hands over all the details and information of the new class. After receiving this information, I began to think about the different strategies I have to put in place so that every child in that class makes progress; I take their individual tests results, well being, their social and emotional needs, friendships, family life into consideration. I unwillingly spent the first 2 weeks of my holiday thinking about the needs of my class-to-be. The next 2 weeks was spent with my family in Ireland. During these 2 weeks, the thought of school constantly lingered in my mind and I had to keep reminding myself that I was on holidays and shouldn’t be thinking about work. Finally, the last 2 weeks of the summer holidays came. I spent these 2 weeks getting my new classroom ready for my new class; I was getting display boards ready, making name labels for their trays, deciding where each child would sit and making sure that there weren’t any clashes, making resources to support their learning e.t.c. So, although I theoretically had 6 weeks off, most of that time was spent thinking about school and getting ready for school. Also, it is important to note that although we get paid during the holidays, we do not actually get paid for the holidays. We have a fixed pay which is split over 12 months. So, all the work we do during the holidays is unpaid.

  • Teachers are expected to be miracle workers – The expectations on teachers from people on the outside can be sometimes ridiculous. Yes, it is our job to teach the children a range of skills. However, it is not my job to teach your child how to blow their nose or tie their shoelaces. I shouldn’t have to teach your child how to take care of their things and I shouldn’t be expected to keep tabs on their belongings especially when they are old enough to do it.

  • The emotional baggage – As a primary school teacher, you spend majority of the day with the same children for 9 months. Inevitably, you get emotionally attached to these children and their personal baggage. You find yourself constantly thinking of ways to ensure that they make progress- progress in this context doesn’t just mean educational. A lot of us have to deal with children who have Social, Emotional, Mental and Physical needs and it is part of our job to cater to these needs as much as we possibly can. I have personally had many sleepless nights due to worrying about a child’s need; that child who doesn’t come into school often enough, the child who has ADHD and struggles to concentrate, the child who struggles to control their emotions e.t.c. I find myself carrying the children’s baggage and sometimes feeling that I am not doing enough.

  • Observations – Each term, every teacher gets observed- this is mainly to make sure that teachers are implementing good practices. Depending on the type of observation, you could have 2 or 3 people walk in to your room at the same time to watch how you teach. I understand the purpose and importance of it. However, knowing this doesn’t make it any easier. I find myself stressing over what could only be a 20 minutes drop in. Every other lesson that week takes a back seat; I constantly re-do my plans for the lesson, constantly second-guessing myself. During the observation, I literally turn into jelly. My heart pounds as I await their arrival. Every little creak makes me jump. For some reason, the knowledge that someone is watching me purely for the purpose of judging me makes me forget everything I am supposed to be doing; I start to trip over my own words, I forget to do things that I would naturally do on a day to day basis. It is awful! And we have three of these each year! You’d think I’d be used to them now but I’m in my third year of teaching and nothing has changed.

To be clear, I absolutely love teaching. I am currently unable to teach at the moment due to being ill and I miss it terribly. I’ve been worrying about who will be teaching my class and what they will learn or not learn in the few days that I’m away. I enjoy teaching and the sense of fulfilment that comes from knowing that I have had a positive impact on a child. However, like all jobs, teaching isn’t perfect!

Till next time

-A

Posted in 5 THINGS, Culture, Motherhood

5 things that grind my gears! Motherhood edition!

Sometimes, we say things to others without thinking about how they might feel about what we have said, the state they’re in, what they might be going through e.t.c. So, I decided to address some of those things in a new series I’m calling ‘5 things that grind my gears…..’

To start us off, here are 5 things that grind my gears…. Motherhood edition!

  1. Why is this child so skinny? Aren’t you feeding her? 

What I say : *Laugh* I’m feeding her ma

What I want to say: Excuse me ma, all babies don’t look the same! I feed her when she needs to be fed and I don’t need you questioning my abilities. Also, not that it is any of your business, but she doesn’t stop eating. She eats throughout the day and on some nights gets up for her nightly fix of Weetabix/Bananas. Please mind your business.

  1. Your daughter is how old? What are you waiting for? You should be pregnant already!

What I say: *LAUGH* soon ma, soon!

What I want to say: I love my child and I recognise that she is a blessing. However, I am still trying to get through the fatigue that comes with carrying a baby for 9 months, the pain of contracting for over 36 hours, pushing her out and now trying to take care of her whilst also keeping my mental health in check. So, I’m sorry that I’m not inviting you to a naming ceremony yet, but I’ll have another baby when I am ready. Until then, please leave me alone. 

  1. The stress of Motherhood has really made you lose weight oo  

What I say: *Laugh* No oo, I’ve been exercising ni.

What I want to say: I have been working really hard to be a “yummy mummy”. It’s very difficult to find time to workout whilst trying to balance everything that comes with motherhood. I’ve been sacrificing much-needed sleep and pounded yam to try to keep my body in the best shape possible. I understand that I may not look like your idea of what a mum should look like and I appreciate the fact that you recognise that I have lost weight, however, I do not appreciate you discarding my hard work and making assumptions. So, unless you have something positive to say, please mind your business. 

  1. She’s _______ old, she should be ______

What I say: *LAUGH* 

What I want to say: SHE WILL DO IT WHEN SHE’S READY! 

  1. Why is she shouting? She must be very naughty!

What I say: She’s not naughty

What I want to say: I find it quite annoying that after spending 5 minutes with my daughter, you feel fit to tell me, her mother, that my daughter is naughty. She’s a toddler and I don’t appreciate you labelling her negatively based on the 5 minutes of toddler-isms that you have seen. You don’t see her sweetness in the morning when she asks me how I slept (even though she kept me up all night). You don’t see her independence when she insists on helping me cook or when she says ‘I want to do it myself…’. You don’t see how caring she can be when she sees me upset and asks ‘what’s wrong mummy?’ You don’t notice how observant she is when she role-plays. You see a child that is ‘naughty’, but there are so many reasons why she may have been displaying ‘naughty’ behaviour at that time. So, if you do not have something positive to say about my daughter, please mind your business!

Moral of the post: If you don’t have anything positive to say, then say nothing. If you’re truly worried, find a way to pass the message on without making us feel inadequate.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Other

I’m baaaaaaack…… AGAIN!

“Your dream doesn’t have an expiration date. Take a deep breath and try again” – Kathy Witten. 

I really want to apologise for being away for a ridiculous amount of time but I also don’t. Life has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The last time I wrote on this page, I was 25! A lot has changed since then. I am now 27 (still struggling to accept this) and living in London! I moved down here with my now 2-year-old to start work as a full-time primary teacher. At the time, my husband stayed back in Ireland for several different reasons. For anyone that is not aware, teaching is NOT a 9 am – 3pm job. I’ll do a separate post on it but it’s more of a 24/7 job. Anyway, as you can imagine, between working full time and taking care of a baby/toddler, I didn’t have time for much else including sleep. So, writing a post was not the first thing on my mind. It’s still not the first thing on my mind. But it is on my mind and has been for a while now. 

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To be completely honest, I was very reluctant to re-start this blog AGAIN for several reasons. Firstly, I felt I didn’t have anything to say that was worth saying or anything that anyone wanted to hear. Everybody is going through life the best way they can and we all have a story to share, what makes mine worth writing about? Secondly, I was scared of failing. I didn’t admit this to myself until recently but I was worried about how the contents of my blog would be received; Will people like it? Will they care enough to share it? Will it have the desired impact e.t.c. As well as this, I was also unsure of what I wanted to do with the blog, where I wanted to go with it or what aspects of my life I wanted to focus on. Finally, I constantly compared where I was in the blogging process to where I wanted to be. I am quite a distance from where I’d like to be and the idea of what the journey could look like scared me so much it almost paralysed me.

But then, two friends turned sisters (I am thankful for good friends) reminded me of why I started writing in the first place- It’s simple, I love to write! It’s really that simple. So instead of worrying, I decided to write. So yeah, I’m back AGAIN…. to stay, hopefully. I’m still not sure what I want the focus of my blog to be or what aspect of my life I want to focus on or whether I’ll just keep it the same as before. I’m still terrified that life will get extremely busy and I’ll lose my step and fall flat on my face yet AGAIN. BUT I am willing to push those fears aside and see where this takes me! And I really hope that you’re willing to come on this journey with me.

Till next time 

-A