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 Motherhood

Labour

“of course it’s hard, why do you think it’s called labour?”- these were the words that my midwife said to me while I was screaming in pain.

My water broke around 6 a.m on a Wednesday morning. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what had happened because it felt more like a really light trickle. I actually thought it was the beginning of a period (pregnancy brain), as it was a little less dramatic than I was expecting. It took me a few minutes to realise that it couldn’t have been my period.  However, I still wasn’t sure what was happening.

I spoke to my husband about it and we laughed at the idea of me being in labour. I soon started to contract. At first, the contractions were very similar to a period cramp. I went back to bed ignoring the pain assuming it was nothing.  However, the pain soon started to intensify. I spoke to my mother-in-law and she insisted we go to the hospital. I was hesitant to go to the hospital at this stage as I didn’t want to go in too early and be told to go back home.

I had my shower and got ready for the hospital. At this stage, I was sure I was contracting. No one had to tell me. The pain was baaaad but it wasn’t consistent. It wasn’t happening often enough to warrant me going to the hospital, I felt. Anyway, I went in and it was confirmed that my waters had broken and I was 1cm dilated. But, just like I thought, I wasn’t just ready to be admitted to the hospital. I had to get to at least 6 cm. I was advised to go home and stay active in order to get my labour going. Regardless of the situation, I was told to come back to the hospital at 11pm that night in order to be induced, as it wasn’t safe for my baby to be out of the waters for over 24 hours. I went back home, my contractions were getting more and more intense but I still wasn’t getting the expected 3 contractions in 10 mins. I felt slightly bipolar, one minute I was grunting in pain, the next minute I was eating fried chicken. I was walking up and down the stairs, trying to stay active. My contractions still weren’t consistent but the pain was starting to become intolerable. I was sure I was getting closer to pushing the baby out.

hand picture

I was admitted to the hospital at 11 o’ clock that night. Going in, I naively thought I’d be in and out by midnight. But that was not the case. My midwife checked me and to my dismay, I was still just 1cm dilated. How was that even possible with the intense pain that I was in? I was put on antibiotics for the night and was going to be induced the next morning. I couldn’t sleep due to my contractions. The next morning, I was taking into my labour room. At this stage, I was starting to feel quite anxious; labour was going to be sore. I was checked again and I was now at 2cm. The frustration. Over 24 hours later!!!  I was put on oxytocin to speed up labour. This was when it all went downhill.

Oxytocin sped things up. My contractions became more frequent leaving me with no breathing space between each contraction. The pain had been unbearable for a good while at this stage, but the lack of space between each contraction meant no time for recovery between contractions.  I was doing rollovers on the bed, I wasn’t coping. I was offered gas and air to help with the pain but it only made me feel drunk and silly. I kept trying to tell myself to ‘behave’ but I just couldn’t. My breathing techniques went out the window. I was a mess… and I still hadn’t dilated any further. Things were starting to look bleak. I was in a lot of pain and I still had a long way to go. I didn’t think I could deal with the pain for much longer. I asked my midwife if things had moved any further; it hadn’t. I was tired. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and said: “I cannot do this”. He reassured me that I could but I ignored him, faced my midwife and repeated those exact same words “I cannot do this”. I just couldn’t see the other side.

My midwife suggested taking an epidural. I was at 2cm and I still needed to get to 10cm. I insisted that I didn’t want to take it. I had read about several side effects and wasn’t willing to risk it. Moreover, this person and that person managed without it. I should be able to manage without it. I’m strong too. Well, this wasn’t the case and I’m so glad my midwife talked some sense into me. She basically reminded me that there was life after labour and that I needed to be able to take care of my baby. As well as that, if I was in distress, there was a huge chance that I was putting my baby in distress. And I had been contracting for over 30 hours, I was wrecked. Every situation differs.

I accepted the epidural and life was a breeze. Contractions were a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, I was still getting them but I couldn’t feel them. But, I felt guilty. I felt weak. I felt like I wasn’t working for it. I let myself down and my baby down. I shouldn’t have taken the epidural. With all these thoughts going through my head, I chilled and waited until my little girl was ready to make an entrance. She took her time. When she was finally ready, I pushed for 20 minutes and at 21:21 on Thursday night, my baby girl arrived.  It was only after her arrival that I realised what I had just done; I birthed a baby, there was absolutely nothing weak about that.

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 Relationships

Hitting reply.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter – Martin Luther King Jr. 

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Domestic violence is such a sensitive topic. It isn’t one that I feel capable of talking about. However, I had to respond to this post. So, I’m hitting reply.

‘And of his signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them..’ – Qur’an 30 V21

Violence is NOT a part of marriage. Love, trust, honesty, compromise, challenges e.t.c is a part of marriage. Violence is NOT. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Marriage is a sign of maturation.  When a man refers to his wife as his ‘baby’, it is generally as a term of endearment. He wants to care for her and protect her, as he should. That’s generally what people do when they care about someone. They don’t treat them like children that need to be corrected. If you feel like you’ve married a child, maybe you should have waited a few years before marrying her. Or you shouldn’t have married her at all.

I know of marriages that have managed perfectly without domestic violence. This doesn’t mean that they don’t have troubles. It just means that the couple chose to treat each with respect rather than like punching bags.

I also know of marriages that have managed with domestic violence. I have seen the impact on the women involved. I have seen broken women. I have seen sad women. Yes, your marriage may have lasted for over 9 years, but it doesn’t make it a successful marriage. Quantity is not quality.

You say domestic violence is overrated. I say that it is underrated.  What you don’t realise is that domestic violence is more than the physical harm that is inflicted. Various researches have said that psychological wounds of domestic violence linger after the bruises heal. You beat her up and you apologise. She accepts your apology and you move on. The physical harm heals and it is like nothing happened. But something happened. You disrespected her. You humiliated her. You degraded her. She might not have the physical scar to show for it, but the emotional scar is there.

Take a look at your wife. The woman you married. The mother of your children. You are not her daddy. You are her husband. Look at her. Tell me, she is the same person you married. Tell me, that her self-esteem is just as it was when you first married her. Tell me, that your consistent beatings have not had any negative impact on her. Tell me, that your 9 years of marriage has had a positive impact on her emotional well-being. Tell me that if you had never hit her, she would be the exact same person she is now.

Then, if you have any, take a look at your children. Tell me, that the constant disrespect that you show your wife has had no impact on them. Tell me, it doesn’t upset them to see their mother bruised. Tell me, they enjoy seeing their mum cry from your beatings. Tell me, that it has not affected your relationship with them. Tell me, that your sons aspire to be just like their father. Tell me that your daughter wants to marry a man just like you.

‘Children living with domestic violence suffer emotional and psychological trauma from the impact of living in a household that is dominated by tension and fear’  – Domestic Violence Prevention Centre. 

If you’re able to tell me all these, then I might say that the past 9 years of your marriage is something to celebrate.

You say domestic deaths are accidents. There is no such thing as a domestic death. Death is Death. Falling down the stairs is an accident. Falling down the stairs because my husband pushed me down the stairs is NOT an accident. What’s the excuse? ‘I meant to push her, but I didn’t mean for her to die’.

I cannot tell you how to run your marriage and I will not tell you how to run your marriage. However, I ask that you take a good long look at your wife.

Domestic violence might be a part of YOUR marriage. But it doesn’t have to be a part of everyone else’s.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment, Religion

2016!!!

Bear in mind that if all the people combined together to grant you some benefit, they would not be able to do it unless Allah has determined it for you. And that if all of them combined together to do you harm, they would not be able to do it unless Allah has determined it for you. The pens have been set aside and writing of the Book of Fate have become dry.” [Tirmidhi]

If anyone told me that I’d get married in 2016, I would have literally said “LIES”. Having just called off an engagement that year, getting married in that same year just wasn’t a thought that I entertained.

2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for me. It started off great. I had just moved to a new place which I was really happy with. I was planning  ‘my dream wedding’ which was to be held that December. I was picking flowers, bridesmaids, colours, styles. The biggest worry I had was finding a venue big enough for all my 300+ guests.

rollercoaster

Fast forward to a couple of months later, I painfully realised that the wedding I had spent all that time planning was not one that I wanted. So, I called it off. With that, came several different emotions. The most prominent being pain. I felt pain like I had never felt before. With pain, came loneliness. No matter how much everyone tried, no one completely understood how I was feeling.

Then, came Ramadhan. The month included in-depth discussions with the only being who I felt understood how I was feeling. Every day I had a list. A list of things that I wanted to discuss. He (God) became my best friend. I wasn’t so upset anymore. I started to actually laugh. Not pretend to laugh. I made peace with the whole situation. It was now in the past.

I was back to my old self. I prayed to God and asked him to give me whatever He thought was best for me. I entertained the idea of getting married at some point. There was no rush. Maybe 2017. Maybe 2018. But definitely not 2016. That’d be ridiculous!

A couple of months later, I was planning my dream wedding with a man that I was 100% sure about. No second thoughts. No circus. No bridesmaids (sorry girls). Just our family, close friends and God. I was the happiest I had ever been. And all the pain that came with 2016 almost became irrelevant. I got married in December 2016, to the man that was meant for me.

But if anyone had told me I’d be married in 2016, I’d have said ‘Lies’.

So, what did I learn? I learnt…

  • We plan but He plans best.
  • What it really means to have faith.
  • What’s yours won’t pass you by.
  • There is light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Always listen to yourself.
  • When one door closes, another one opens.

I made plans to get married in December. Then, I was like ‘nah, this doesn’t feel right’, so  I cancelled it. I took a leap of faith, knowing there would be consequences, but not knowing what was ahead of me. Then, God was like ‘here you go, this one is yours’. So, I was like ‘alright then’.

Thanking God for 2016, I walked into 2017 a married woman.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Empowerment

Black History Month!!!

Without history, there would be no future.

Hi everybody,

I miss writing these posts every week. I am soooooo busy these days, I’ve had to resolve to write every two weeks.

Anyways, let’s get to it. It’s BLACK HISTORY MONTH! Can I just say that I never really paid attention to this month until I started to work in a primary school? Terrible, I know. My knowledge of our history is shameful, it’s so bad. But I plan to fix that. Slowly, but surely. It is important to be aware of the struggles and challenges that people went through to create the world that we live in now.

To celebrate Black History, I have decided to dedicate this post to a black woman, who I have recently come to admire and look up to; Sumayyah Bint Khabbat.

I recently watched a series about Umar Ibn Khattab, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The series touched on the history of Islam and the struggles the companions went through during the time of the Prophet. As Sumayyah was one of the companions, snippets of her life were shown, mostly focusing on her struggles after accepting Islam. My heart broke watching her go through all that pain. The series left me in awe of this amazing woman. I just could not get over the emotional  strength she displayed.

Sumayyah was a black slave, who was later granted freedom by her master. She married and had three children. She was one of the first few people to accept Islam and later became the first martyr of Islam. She converted to Islam at a time when Muslims were persecuted just for being Muslims. She and plenty of other Muslims were continuously tortured for accepting Islam. She was put through physical and emotional pain. But despite all of this, her faith did not waiver one bit. She was pressured, coaxed, bribed, threatened. She was put through the worst kind of tortures but she stood her ground and held onto her beliefs. According to Islamic law, she had every right to denounce her faith by tongue to save her life. BUT she didn’t! She held on tight to her faith and became the first martyr of Islam. She died standing up for what she believed in. This woman is goals!

She held her head high and looked the world straight in the eye. Celebrate her strength.

So, why is she one of my role models? Sumayyah didn’t just accept Islam but she believed in it and saw the truth in it. She acted on her beliefs and values. This woman, regardless of the torture she was put through, held on to what she believed in. She did not let it alter the person that she was. It’s very rare to find people like that these days. Not just in terms of religion, but every aspect of life. When things take the wrong turn, we are very quick to give up on our beliefs. We are very quick to take the easy way out. It is very easy to say that we believe in certain things ideas or qualities. But when it comes down to it, a lot of us are easily persuaded or coerced into doing things that go against those beliefs.

Sumayyah’s resilience, positive attitude, perseverance, determination, and patience are qualities that I can only pray for. To be able to have such strong faith and live it through different aspects of my life. To be able to stay true to myself when others tell me otherwise. That’s strength.

Till next time

-A

Posted in Relationships

SOMETIMES WE FORGET..

Sometimes we lose sight of the important things in life. When something goes wrong, we forget all the positive things we have going for us and dwell on the negative. Only when we are reminded, do we learn to appreciate all that we have going for us.

Life is so short. This is a saying that we hear a lot of the time. But it doesn’t really hit you until you are forced into a situation in which you learn the value that is, life. One only has to watch the news or go on any social media to be reminded of the hell some people are living everyday. We hear of the heartbreaking stories, see horrible photographs, and we feel sorry for them. We might like it, share it, pray for the people involved, have a conversation about it, talk about how sad it is and how lucky we are that we are not in their position. BUT do we really think about it? And for how long?

Recently, I experienced what it felt like to lose a loved one. Up until the moment the incident happened, things were quite shaky between us. I mean, for at least four weeks before the incident, we had gone from being best of friends to almost enemies. We both felt that the other person didn’t care. Conversations were painful between the both of us. There was so much anger and hurt. I felt I had lost a friend and confidant.

To lose someone isn’t necessarily losing someone to death. We lose people in different ways. A person does not have to pass away for you to feel their loss. My friend didn’t pass away and I cannot thank God enough for that. He gave me a second chance to fix things and slapped some sense into me. With everything, going on with my friend, I forgot what was truly important. We had a fight. Yes, it was a big fight and I was hurting really badly. But how important was this fight in the grand scheme of things?

I remember that throughout the incident, all I prayed for was good health. Nothing else mattered. It did not matter that until she fell ill, we didn’t say a word to each other. Until she fell ill, awkwardness filled the air in the room that we both resided in. Until she fell ill, I wanted to be away from her. Until she fell ill… I just wanted her to be fine and I would have done anything to get her back to the person that she was.

I’m still hurting, maybe a little more than before. I’m not over the fact that I almost lost someone so close to me. But on the scale of important things, my feelings are not nearly as important as the relationship I had with my friend. We’re probably still going to argue over the whole situation and that is completely alright. As long as we both realise what is really important; that life is extremely short. I got a second chance, this time. I am extremely grateful for it. Next time, I might not. Next time, you might not.

Remember what is important.

Till next time

-A