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 Relationships, Uncategorized

His Perspective.

Hi guys,

Hope ye are all having a great weekend. Last week, I spoke about my pregnancy journey. This week, based on your response to the poll on my  instagram, I thought it was only fair to give my husband the chance to share his perspective- it takes two to tango and all that. So, let’s get to it.

Do you remember how I broke the pregnancy news? You sent me a text saying ‘I took a pregnancy test’ but you didn’t give me the results. Even though I knew the results from your reaction, I literally had to ask you what the results were before you told me.

When you found out I was pregnant, how did you react? I wasn’t shocked because we weren’t preventing it. I was happy and felt very blessed because it is a blessing that Allah has given us. However, I was slightly worried about you and the impact it might have on you. 

Do you wish you did anything before we got pregnant? I wish I read more and maybe even spoke to more people in order to have a better understanding. I was told that it can be a difficult time but it is do-able. I will be honest and say that I didn’t see pregnancy being that difficult. I don’t really know how much I could have prepared. However, people have different experiences and I feel the best learning is on the job. 

 

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Hubby telling our baby to behave

 

What was your role during our pregnancy journey? For us, things changed very quickly. We went from being newlyweds to being pregnant in no time. I had to do more heavy-lifting because of the physical strain pregnancy had on you. I had to be pro-active.  I had to make sure that I was supporting you even with the basic things. During the first 6 months of the pregnancy, you were in the U.K finishing your postgrad and I was in Ireland. During those months, we communicated mostly through the phone and I only saw you every second weekend. I could feel the impact it was having on you physically, but I didn’t really know how to support you. However, I felt that I could only try to calm you down emotionally. When I did get to see you, I felt very guilty as I could see clearly what you were going through. Psychologically, I felt it was my responsibility to support, encourage and motivate you. I would encourage all men to make sure to continue to emphasise positivity and to STEP UP.  I ensured that I carried all the household responsibilities and to provide emotional support. I observed your emotions and tried to act accordingly.

P.S I think it is also important that women remember that pregnancy is also a learning curve for the man and although we can’t understand what you are going through, you shouldn’t expect the perfect man. 

How did you deal with my reaction to being pregnant, especially during my first trimester? I felt quite sad that it was having such a major impact on your studies and state of mind.  I made sure to tread carefully because it was an emotional rollercoaster for you. I had to be observant and I knew I couldn’t completely understand what you were going through. I observed your reactions and my response was to try to be as compassionate as I possibly could and tried to look after your needs. 

Before I got pregnant, do you think you had an idea of what pregnancy should be like? Fortunately or unfortunately, until you got pregnant, I had only seen people that had “easy” pregnancies; women who didn’t seem to be affected by their pregnancies. So, I didn’t have a fair idea of what could happen or how it could impact the woman. Regardless, I still think the best learning is done on the job. 

How did you deal with my emotions and mood swings? I didn’t think you were too moody. I never felt angry or impatient because I felt that Allah does not burden a soul with more than they can handle. I think patience really helped. Also, your apologies helped. You always apologised when you felt you had been a little too moody. 

Do you have any advice for expecting fathers to help support their wives through pregnancy?  I think it’s important to be attentive and listen to your wife’s feelings and you should try not to take anything personal during that period. Do your very best to support her in every way possible. Also, it is important to note that your way of helping isn’t necessarily what she needs. Listen to her needs but not all her cravings :P. 

I hope you enjoyed this mini interview 🙂 If you have any other questions that you would like us to answer, please leave them in the comment sections and we will try to answer them.

Till next time

-A

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

M.I.A

Hi guys,

It’s been such a loooooong time. My last post was written in January and it is now September :o.  I am truly sorry for my lack of content but I assure you that I have good reasons which I plan to touch on briefly in this post.

Life has been sooo busy. As ye know, I got married late last year. My Nikkah (Islamic wedding) took place during my two weeks Christmas break from uni. The first week was spent getting last minute things for the wedding. The second week was spent with my husband, and then it was straight back to uni :(.

 

hello-im-back

After my nikkah, I went straight back into the bubble that was my postgrad.  I was wrecked but I was happy. I presumed my tiredness was due to the fact that I hadn’t gotten a proper rest break. The fatigue persisted and seemed to worsen.  I remember being so tired that I could barely hold the phone to my ear. Something was wrong-  I was/am pregnant!!!

Pregnancy coupled with my postgrad gave me little time to do anything else.  Pregnancy came with a whole lot of changes that I was NOT prepared for. There were so many changes, I’d need to dedicate a separate post to it (I plan to in the near future). My course increased in intensity and so did my symptoms.  It sounds like a lame excuse but I assure you that it is not. Anyway, I am back and hoping to be a lot more consistent from now on.

Thanking you so much for your patience and support 🙂

Till next time

-A

Posted in Uncategorized

Let’s play catch up..

Hi guys, it has been sooooo loong!

The past couple of months has been such a whirlwind. It has literally been one thing after another.

This post isn’t about anything in particular. The last time I posted was in June, 2015 and a couple of main things has happened since. I mean, I GRADUATED!!! Cap and gown and all! I moved to England! The move to England happened before graduation, but I’m still not over how amazing it felt graduating. So, graduating comes before England. It is definitely on the top of my list of ‘amazing things that happened to Ameenah in 2015’. I also got a job! In a primary school! In England.

Graduating has definitely been one of my biggest achievements so far. After I got my results in June, I knew I was definitely graduating. However, it really did not hit home until I was wearing my cap and gown. Damn, I felt like a BOSS and I walked like one too (couldn’t help it, WERK), especially when I went up to receive my certificate. I think it was just the feeling of knowing that I had done it. I had gotten through it and I had something to show for it, Alhamdulillah! It was an amazing feeling. Apart from the fact that it was a ceremony to celebrate my passing through college, my graduation opened my eyes to the overflowing pool of love and support that I have always had around me. Like, I knew I was loved (What’s not to love?!) but I did not realise just how much. I had people fly in from Nigeria and America just to watch me graduate. We were only allowed bring 2 guests to the ceremony, I had a little over 2, I think it was 4 or 5, or maybe 8?? (BTW I really hope that everyone else’s family had room to sit. SORRY, if they didn’t)AND they all had their cameras. Each one coming up to take pictures of me during the ceremony, that was definitely not embarrassing!!! The amount of photos taken on that day were ridiculous.

The move to England was pretty epic. It’s amazing how things work out. I had always planned to move but there was a point when I thought it wouldn’t happen. Time was passing, September was in sight and I was starting to almost regret not applying for my masters, just so I wouldn’t be left idle for the coming year. But everything happened so fast! I literally had an interview for a job on a Tuesday, and they wanted me to start on the Wednesday. Like, WHAT??! But Alhamdulillah! It’s been an experience. The job itself has been amazing so far. I am currently working as a Teaching Assistant/ SEN in a Primary School. I mainly work with an autistic child. It has been quite a challenge, it still is. I am wrecked after 10 minutes of class. However, I have never felt so fulfilled in my life. I mean, there are times when I am like ‘I ain’t about this life’, and then my student smiles at me and it is all worth it. Or he finally grasps a little bit of that maths I have been trying to teach him and I’m like ‘YAAAAS!’.

As expected, the move itself has been a little hard. It is my first time living without my family. In Ireland, I lived in a quiet enough place. Moving from that to London was a shock to the system. Everyone is ALWAYS rushing. There are definitely less smiles. I lived in a small town, in which everyone knew everybody and I hated it. Everyone was in your business. But I actually miss that now. I miss seeing familiar faces and smiles. I miss knowing how to get to places without using an app. BUT it is all good. It’s helped me in ways that I did not expect. I am more willing to talk to randomers, probably because I am in dire need of friends. Well, I have 2 or 3 (Don’t judge me). I am definitely more open and I feel like I’m a little bit more smiley. I appreciate life that bit more, and I am definitely that bit more thankful. You don’t realise what you have until you lose it. Now, I’m trying to appreciate everything I have, especially the little things.

The past year has taught me a lot. I do not really remember the first half. Probably because I was trying to figure out how I was expected to somehow get through the last couple of months of college, and actually graduate. However, the other half of the year has taught me that there will always be something to worry about. As humans, we are always thinking “what next? I’m here now and I need to get there”. At least, I am. At the beginning of the year, I worried about getting through college and passing my exams. I passed my exams, and worried about getting a job. I have a job and now I am worried about whether I am going to get into my teacher training. There is always something to worry about. But when I think about it, a lot of the things I worried about didn’t happen. Like I said, I got through college, I got a job, and In Shaa Allah I will get into my teacher training (<— It better happen!).

So, I guess you could say 2015 has taught me to try to live by these quotes:

“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday, was it worth it?” Gandhi

Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff” Robert Elliot

Till Next Time

-A