Sitting in a salon getting my nails done. The aim was to relax. Yet, all I could think about was the presentation I had to hold tomorrow afternoon. That’s after 4 lessons back to back.
“Meet the parents/teachers.”
You’d think I’d be ok with public speaking. Considering I’ve been standing in front of my classroom for the last 8 years!
*Children and adults are two completely different species*
When I’m in my classroom, I’m in my zone.
I may be a petite, 5”2 female teacher of teenage boys, but…
…I’m the King of this castle!
I realized some years ago that you don’t need to be big & strong in order to be assertive and in control.
I’m grateful my personality does justice for me. Though I must admit, my fierce stare does help sometimes.
Yesterday was ‘’Meet the parents/teachers afternoon’’. Man, I was dreading that all night. I even had a bad dream about it.
Each department had to create a Powerpoint highlighting;
*The breakdown of the year.
*Aims, goals & expectations
*Intro into the background of the teachers (which must include a photo).
I tried to look for an appropriate photo in my phone gallery without my daughter in it or a silly filter. The best I could find was a picture I took over the summer when my niece and I went ice-skating.
Crop & save.
With joint presentations, there must always be a lead. My colleague is new which meant that I reluctantly took that role.
Butterflies all morning, I was borderline snappy in class. ‘’Miss, can you tell us a story whilst we complete this exercise?’’ ‘’What do I look like to you? A Story teller?’’ I respond. They laugh and say yes! (They’re right, because I do tell them stories as they do their work). But I told them that I’d be seeing their parents later this afternoon and that if they hadn’t completed their work, I’d gladly tell their parents a story of what happened in class.
Of course, they completed and asked for extra!
‘’Good afternoon ladies & gentlemen……..’’ I started.
I remember holding my 1st ever meeting after I trained to be a teacher. I was so nervous that morning because the entire school staff, including senior leadership and principal were attending. My mentor noticed how anxious I was prior to the meeting. So he gave me some advice;
“Just imagine you are in your classroom. This is your space! Your information. The knowledge you possess, needs to be passed on, so educate them how you would your students.’’
I remember this advice every time I need to stand up in front up adults. Whether 5 or 50.
‘’Good morning ladies & gentlemen……..My name’s Nabila & thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to attend my presentation. First of all, I’d like to welcome you to your son’s school and I hope that he has a great experience inside & outside of the classroom…’’
With my cheesy photo on the board behind me. I continue….
‘’I am the Math specialist. I am originally from London and this will be my 9th year of teaching, 2nd in the UAE.’’
They now look confused; like, how can this girl be old enough to have that many years of experience?
‘’Yes yes, I know, I have good genes. But trust me, I’m old enough!’’ I proclaim.
Three people smirk… If that.
I tell myself “This is my space!” Before continuing…
‘’I will be the point of contact at the boys’ campus and I can assure you that I will try my utmost best to ensure your child has an amazing learning experience and will be encouraged to reach his full potential.’’
I’ve caught their attention. They now seem interested.
I introduce my colleague and we get into the nitty gritty stuff of expectations, curriculum and year overview. Boring stuff.
Before I knew it, my nerves were gone! I was walking up and down the room, totally in control, felt like I was in my zone.
Then came along question time!
The. Worse. Part. Ever!
What’s that? Why this? When that? How this? Where that?
Nothing you can prepare for.
I’m not sure how, but I answered every single one. I was on a roll.
This one parent laid into my colleague, not knowing it was him she was talking about.
“Why don’t you teach my boys anymore Miss Nabila?! They did very well with you last year!”
I awkwardly smile, because it’s my colleague who’s standing right beside me that now teaches her sons.
“Ma’am, since last year, the students have doubled, hence the two extra teachers on either side of the campuses.”
“Yes but now they’re not so confident with their new teacher”.
“He’s standing right here lady!” (I obviously say in my head)
“As much as I’d love to teach all of your sons, it’s physically impossible for me to teach all classes this year. That’s why we’ve now employed 2 amazing new teachers. One of whom is Mr.___ . He is my senior with 12 years experience and has an amazing track record in Ireland. It’s only the 2nd week of teaching. I think we need to allow the teacher & student time to build an understanding of their teaching & learning techniques. As we did last year, when you were also slightly unhappy with me being your sons’ new teacher.”
Round of applause for this worried for her job 5″2 lady at the front of the room.
She whispers “please think about teaching them” as she walks out calmly.
PS. Teachers have feelings too, you know.