New faces, over-sized uniforms and fresh trims! Everyone’s trying to look slick. But they’re not alone, because I’ve also bought a new outfit specifically for today.
Day 1 of 200: I remind myself – I’ve got this…this is my space!
5 foot 2.5” but I walk like I’m 6 foot.
Kids are confused. Staring at me like, why is she not in uniform and walking round like a boss?!?
“Stay in your lane boo boo, I’m old enough to be your mum!” I say to them – silently.
The scariest part of a new academic year for me is meeting my new students. I don’t think this relates to everyone. However, I rely on the relationship I have with my students in order to have a good year. Academically and behaviorally. You see, I am a massive believer in building a positive and respectful relationship with my students. (Read my ‘’Why my students like Maths’’ blog post to understand how). But of course that takes time. So until then, I try all avenues to get them interested in probably their most hated subject.
This year, my tutor group (Home class) were the babies of secondary/middle school. Grade 6b;
“Morning class, my name is Mrs Nabila. You can call me Miss, teacher, Miss Nabila, Miss N and anything along those lines. Just as long as it’s not a secret code that I’m not aware of.”
“Welcome to big kids’ school. The place for; a whole load of fun work alongside the ‘boring’ too, many questions and even more thinking. This is where you’ll find yourself and build your confidence. This is where you’ll build your dreams and aspirations, and that’s what I am here for. To help and guide you to what you’re destined to do. Be it a; pilot, mechanic, engineer, doctor, nurse, salesman, heck you can be an app designer if you wish, just let me help you reach your potential in order for you to reach your dreams. You may, perhaps not even have a dream. The aim is for you to be a good citizen in this world and leave your mark. Someway, somehow. We’ll figure it out together.’’
So many tiny confused faces, all probably hoping they went back to grade 5 were they were the big kids and knew it all. Now all of a sudden, we’re talking about careers, dreams, jobs and aspirations.
So I ease in slowly.
We start the year with a fun project. Where they had to research several different types of jobs and then create a poster of the top 3 jobs that interested them most. We didn’t talk about financial gain or status. We concentrated on the reasons why they may want to be a Doctor, pilot or even a game designer.
Their projects were amazing.
As I watched them present their posters in front of their peers. I am reminded why I became a teacher in the 1st place…(I did not edit their statements to give you a better idea as to how young these minds were.)
- ‘’I would like to be a Doctor, because I want to help sick people become better in health, especially children like me because I feel very bad when I see my cousin is sick and I cannot help him. He is not allowed to play football with me also. It makes me sad.’’ – Adam
- ‘’I will be true Miss, I do not know what I want to be. I always want to be a football player, but my parents say that I need to find something more better.’’
‘’Ok, so tell us about what jobs you researched…’’ I say.
He continues;‘’Ok, I find a job called a ‘paramedic’, I didn’t hear about it before. Can you imagine saving someone’s life before they even reach to the hospital?!? You know what Miss? (as he faces me during the presentation as if he just had a realisation) I think I want to be a paramedic! Maybe then Adam won’t have work so hard to save his life if it is too late, he can just help him get better.’’ – Saif.
(He walks back to his chair with a face full of deep contemplation – I think he finally found a career he wouldn’t mind trading football for.)
- ‘’Ok Miss… (‘’talk to the class’’ I tell him) I want to be rich. (*everyone laughs*) No really. I want to be very rich. But I don’t want to be rich alone. I want to have a big company with my name and maybe employ people with a mind like me and help us all be rich. Because they will all work hard like me. We will help each other and share all the money. And then we will give a little to charity also. Especially help all the children who do not have any parents. Because one day I played football with a boy who said he do not have any mum and any dad. So this gave me a idea – maybe with my money, I can build a place where children without mum and dad can live together and I will give them a job when they become bigger and they will help my business also.’’ – Hamad.
I ask the class if they’ve ever heard the word ‘orphan’. No one had. I then explain to them that the boy he played with was an orphan and the home he plans to open for children like him is called an ‘orphanage’. He asks me to spell it. He writes it on his hand. The rest of the class stay silent in disbelief.
I smile, as they remind me again why I teach. It’s also moments like these that reinforce certain teaching techniques I have acquired over the last few years. Whereby I have to remind myself not to take control of the classroom and the knowledge they acquire from the information I provide.
Being educated is often understood as the ability to memorise and regurgitate information.
Real education ideally, is the ability to teach children transferable life skills.
Real teaching however, is the ability to nurture the conceptual thinking of a child. Enabling them to tap into their own mindset and experience what I like to call the ‘light bulb moment’. (I referred to this moment in my ‘’Why my students like maths’’ post).