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 Culture, Empowerment, Relationships

New you, New Wife?

Hi everybody, hope ye are all having a good week so far. My week started off well until I came across a certain scene in a Nigerian movie. This particular scene really annoyed me, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. So, as you do, I decided to talk about it.

My mother-in-law was watching a Nigerian movie and I happened to walk in on a scene in which a husband was explaining to his wife the reason behind him marrying another wife. Basically, this man married another wife because he felt his wife was not suitable for his new role. He had been elected to a certain position in the community and felt he needed a more learned woman by his side.

I can understand why he felt his wife might not be the most suitable candidate for his new position. His new role put him in the public eye and required him to interact with the public. If seen with him, she will be forced to speak English, which she was unable to. However, I’m not sure that marrying another wife is the solution. If his current wife is not holding it down the way he wants her to, then why can’t he support her to be the wife he wants her to be (assuming she wants to be that wife). Instead, he chose to marry another wife, forgetting that she didn’t speak English when he married her.

marital growth

I’m just tired of hearing about men marrying new wives because they refuse to support their wives to be better. Yes, the Islamic religion permits a man to marry more than one wife (This man wasn’t a Muslim btw). I am not disputing that. However, marrying another wife to replace another seems selfish to me, especially if the things she lacks can be achieved. These women have been through the worst with you, choosing to basically replace or dump her when you reach a certain milestone is just lazy and selfish. He was very happy being married to her until he was promoted to this new role, so why isn’t she good enough now.

I’ve heard so many silly reasons for men wanting to re-marry; ‘I want a younger wife’, ‘her body is not as toned as it used to be’. They forget that they are the reason her body isn’t toned, they forget that she was young when they got married.  If her body isn’t as toned as it used to be, encourage her to exercise. In fact, exercise with her and get rid of your belly. You don’t see women re-marrying because their husbands now have pot-bellies, so why is it okay for men to do it? Marriage shouldn’t be a ‘you’re good for this aspect of my life’ thing. The person you marry should be good for every aspect of your life. An example is Goodluck Jonathan and Patience (ex-president of Nigeria and his wife). Patience wasn’t as learned as her husband but she was still known as the First Lady of Nigeria (although, I do think he should have encouraged her to improve her English to save her from ridicule). I believe that marriage should be a loving partnership in which both partners support and encourage each other to be better. Your marriage should encourage your personal growth. Your partner should be your cheerleader.

That said, I’m not going to completely put this on men. As a person, it is your duty to improve yourself in any way that you can. At the end of the day, no one can care about you more than you care about yourself. In order to make sure that life doesn’t leave you behind, you need to continue to work on yourself. The woman in the movie took things into her own hands and started to learn English part-time. I didn’t stay to watch the rest of the movie but I wouldn’t be surprised if her husband came running back to her beaming with pride.

Till next time

-A

 

Posted in Relationships

I’m sorry.

“Apologising does not always mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means you value your relationship more than your ego” 

Hi everybody,

Last week, my husband and I had a slight misunderstanding. Misunderstandings aren’t unusual in relationships, but this one differed because we both felt we were in the right. Neither of us wanted to apologise because we felt the other person was wrong. I wasn’t too bothered about the argument at this stage because, like I said earlier, misunderstandings are not unusual in relationships.

However, the misunderstanding started to linger because neither of us wanted to accept blame. We were both annoyed at each other and were waiting for the other to apologise. As you’d imagine, the delay in resolving the disagreement started to affect the relationship. We weren’t rude to each other, we weren’t ignoring each other. In the space of a few minutes, the way we corresponded to each other started to change. The way we spoke to each other started to change slightly; pet names went down the drain, ‘would you like to eat now?’ became ‘your food is in the kitchen?’ the way we acted towards each other was slightly different. This was when I started to worry. So, I decided to apologise.

It wasn’t so easy. It took me a good couple of minutes to come to that decision. I had initially planned on starting another dispute about how I was right and he was wrong. I wanted him to see my point of view and apologise. However, I started to think about the impact of the initial argument. We were both annoyed and none of us was willing to budge. We had already argued about being right, going in to try to convince him with another argument was not going to make any positive difference.

peace

At that time, there were only slight changes, but I started to worry about how these changes might progress if things stayed the way they were. Although there had only been little changes at that point, those changes were important to me and were part of what made our relationship. The way we related to each other really mattered to me. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice that for a silly argument. So, I said ‘I’m sorry’.

To be clear, I still didn’t agree that I was wrong. And I wasn’t apologising just to apologise. I was apologising because the dynamics of our relationship was more important to me than winning an argument. As well as that, I knew that apologising would open the line of communication and help towards resolving the matter rather than living things to fester and turn into something else.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there will be times when you have to put your ego aside in order to do what’s best for your relationship. It is a matter of importance, your relationship or your ego. For me, the decision to apologise became easier when my relationship started to change from what we wanted it to be. I knew something had to be done. As far as I was concerned, the argument was creating little cracks in our relationship. It had only been a few minutes, I wonder what changes hours might have made. I wasn’t prepared to wait and see the holes those cracks might turn into. My relationship was and is way too important to me.

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. 

 

IMG_5477
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