Q&A

  1. Do you treat every single student of yours the way you would like your own child to be treated in class? – Qu. from fellow Math teacher.

Before becoming a mother, I didn’t think i did. I couldn’t imagine how someone could treat ALL their students the way they would their own children. When I became a mother, I realized, all I wanted was for my daughter’s teachers to treat her the way I treat my students. So I guess that answers your question.

 

  1. What is your top tip for forming that ‘bond’ with a class you teach? – iaminaplace.com PhD in Cancer Research, Math Teacher and YouTuber.

a) Forming a bond with your students is vital! Imagine spending the good part of 10 months  a year with 100’s of little people who don’t want to be around you because they just don’t like/respect you. That frightens the day lights out of me. I start each year with RESPECT (both ways) as my main focus, above all else – not FEAR. I explain to them what I expect from them and I ask them what they expect from me. We come to an agreement. I let them know that this will only work if we both understand each other. I spend time getting to know them as teenagers. I ask them questions and talk to them. I find out their likes, dislikes, hobbies and then I talk to them about it. You’ll know they’ve warmed to you when they start asking you questions about yourself or they tell you about something they did over the weekend, etc. My students and I get along, because quite frankly, I need to remain sane throughout the year and so do they!
b) Also, If you notice that a child requires something, ie a Calculator, and you feel that they cannot afford it or the parent doesn’t have time to get them one – purchase one for him/her yourself. Believe me, they’ll never forget it (Nor lose it).
c) Also, when you work hard to genuinely help them succeed, they notice it, and in turn will work hard for you. Win-Win!

 

  1. Do you think you will be a teacher until retirement, or do you have other plans in education? – Part 2 of Questions 2.

I already have other plans in education, but definitely student centered. I’m not interested in climbing the ladder for a pay check. I need to make a difference.

In saying that….my dream job role doesn’t exist.

 

  1. Why are all your siblings in the teaching profession except for your youngest? – The only sibling of mine who isn’t in the education profession.

Everyone has their individual talent. Unfortunately, educating children isn’t yours! (Although, i do often use you as a topic of conversation with my male students)

 

  1. Expat? Where did you live and study before moving to where you are now?

Yep. I’m from London and moved in 2016 to work by a camel race track in the deserts of the UAE.

 

  1. If you could teach any other subject, what would it be? (M.I)

I genuinely do not know. I’m a one trick pony. However, rather than being another subject teacher, I’d prefer to teach a year 5 or 6 class where all subjects, bar 1 or 2, are taught by the class teacher.

 

  1. Would you consider homeschooling? If so, can you teach my kids with you? (Friend and mother of 2 children)

Most definitely yes, I would consider homeschooling. Depends where I am in the world and the standards of the local schools and teachers. I would love to get funding to open my own home schooling company, that way, yes I can teach your kids!

 

  1. Are you thinking about starting a vlog on YouTube? If so, when? (Norwegian fan & follower)

I would love to start vlogging, but the thought of being online forever, is absolutely terrifying. However, I do think I’d be great at it.

 

  1. Teaching in the UK is very tiring and time consuming! Any hints on how not to get exhausted and build a long term career? (Currently, I love my job but just don’t get to do anything else much throughout the week and by the end of the week, I am just dead) – London Teacher, S.H

I remember clearly! My 1st two years were exhausting also. Four 13 hour days + a 10 hour Friday.
A few top tips:
*Get your students on side. Find your way. Once they know the expectations, they’ll be easier to handle.
*To do lists should be your best friend. Weekly and daily (even monthly if you wish)
*Use a very efficient school planner, even if that means buying your own. (One that has individual lesson boxes, extra space for reminders, note pages, calendars, grading/marking sections)
*Give yourself a time that you will stop everything you’re doing and walk out of school. Ie. 5pm. That way you’ll work more effectively. If you haven’t finish, write it on tomorrows to-do list – Your sanity is more important!
*Voice your opinion in your department (pastoral) meetings. If your way seems to be a better way for the students, voice it. You never know, they may all agree.
*Use teacher days to plan as far ahead as possible. Not the lesson content, but the objective and lesson outcomes. (My mistake was focusing more on the content rather than the bigger picture).

 

  1. How do you control the rowdy classes without raising your voice? And how do you make them do what they’re asked to? (Lovely female colleague and friend of mine who will now be teaching boys with me!)

(Read Question 8) Slowly but surely, teachers are finally coming to the understanding that the more we raise our voice, the less effective it is. Try to only ever raise it if it’s an absolute must. From my experience, I’ve noticed that students do not respect teachers who forever scream at them. As an art teacher, you will constantly have your students walk around, off their seats, and moving about with countless Art equipment. Before you start a task, ALWAYS give them strict guidelines and time frames. I find it helpful to agree on a ‘call and response’. This is where you and your class agree on a technique to use when you want their attention. For example;

Teacher: 1, 2, 3, eyes on me!
Students, all together: 1, 2 eyes on you!
Silence thereafter.

I personally prefer;

Teacher: A slow, silent count down with hand clearly in the air.
Students: Should stop whatever they are doing, join in as soon as they see you or other students. This way students will remind their peers (they will do your job for you) and you’ve collectively got their attention.
If and when it works, thank them for their attention. If not, try again, and then set a reasonable sanction.

 

  1. How on earth do you balance/organize your time effectively between being a dedicated teacher and a dedicated mother? – 27 people asked thisquestion.

To be honest, I don’t really know. The way I see it, because I thoroughly enjoy both roles, I don’t see either as a chore. That makes life a whole lot easier! A supportive family and time management is also key. Leave work no later than a specific time each day (no matter what) and plan your evening activities, weekends, meals and alone time. Honestly, planning is so important when you’re juggling various significant roles. It takes a long time and to be quite honest, I’ve not mastered it yet. Only reason it seems like I have, is because I priorities those roles above the others, including my own self. I have this thing about dependency. I take it too literal and feel that those who depend on me won’t cope without me so I tend to tirelessly work myself to meet their needs.

I guess, to me, that’s what dedication is.

 

  1. What type of educational activities, maths related (or other) do you do with your daughter? – Lovely mother of 2 boys, London.

People often think, because I am a teacher, I will also be a ‘teacher mum’ also, by focusing on my daughter’s academic development from a young age. Or giving her a head start in school by teaching her at home. However, believe it or not. I’m not and I don’t.
I am a very big on the idea of allowing a child to prosper in his/her own way. The reason why I didn’t put my daughter into nursery when I first started working post birth (in London) was because I wanted her to be her own person, develop her own personality and have fun being a child without the influence of what she was ‘’supposed to achieve/be able to do’’ by a certain age. I was getting enough of that from the day she was born and I hated it – imagine a child?! So I let her be.
In saying that, I have taught her the numbers and alphabets in 2 languages. Also the shapes, colours and animal names, because I believe this will help her in her day to day life. From that, she will herself develop skills as she grows up and experiences the world. I mainly focus on reading and painting (drawing). One, because she really enjoys them, and two, because I believe both will allow her to develop in ways I cannot aid her. [Also, because I wasn’t an avid reader (or at all) myself. – I really wish I was!]

  1. How do you lesson plan? – Aspiring teacher

About 5 years ago, I sat in one of those long 3 hour training sessions. Although half asleep, I picked up on one thing, which was probably the most important part. Plan in reverse. I tried it for weeks and it completely threw me off. I eventually got the hang of it;
Before you start a new unit, plan the end of unit test/project/assignment, etc. and work your way up. Ask yourself; What are the learning outcomes? What skills would your students need to have in order to understand and complete this task? Jot down key words. Create mini assessments and edit as you work your way through the unit. This sounds a little time consuming, I know. But I can assure you, if you give yourself time to work on this at the beginning of a unit, the rest will be a breeze! Let me know how it goes if you decide to try it. PS. Save all your powerpoints with clear topic titles and keep forever!

 

  1. How to motivate students who are struggling with managing various assignments simultaneously. How to help them manage the load and their time without giving them too much leeway or doing the work for them. How not to micromanage to produce independence of action/thought. How to step back and wait for the results even though you want to shout and scream to galvanize (or scare) them to act. How to increase motivation and monument, in the drudge of what’s required. – Social worker, friend and role model of TheTeacherChronicles.

a) In my last school in London, my tutor group were struggling to manage their time during the GCSE exam period. I genuinely felt for them as they seemed so stressed. They kept complaining that every teacher only cared about his/her own subject not taking into account that collectively the workload was too much. So I created a revision timetable template, printed it off and allocating 10 mins to each students during tutor time and agreed on a personalized timetable, taking into consideration, their projects, out of school activities, chores, naps, games and free time etc. I know it was useful because I then had other students from different form groups ask me to create one for them too. That helped them manage their time and workload also.
b) When i set a task, i generally break it up for them to complete at different stages. That way, it seems like less work and they are more likely to remember it over a period of time, rather than cramming over one session and handing in a mediocre assessment.
c) If I notice that my students get slightly complacent with their studies. I surprise them with a test. I mark it straight away and show them their not-so-great results. Then I contact their parents/carers and inform them of their childs’ prospect grade and guess what? Tomorrows a good lesson and work has been completed!
d) Motivating students is probably the most difficult part. I attempt to do this by making my take home projects and assignments as interesting as possible. I make it into a competition and the winning prize is something I know they’ll all like. Things as little as a week-long ‘lunch queue pass’ goes a long way.
e) I find that communicating with their other teachers is also very beneficial. Sometimes all it takes is an encouraging conversation with a teacher they look up to, to get spirits back up. We all need to work together to

 

  1. How do you balance all of your responsibilities? Does living as an expat ease the pressure? – Fellow teacher and considering being an expat.

(Read Qu. 11 for the first part of your question). To be honest, although my family and friends were a massive support system for me at home in London. Being here alone, just us, gave us so much extra time we never had in London. It took a while getting used to, but I think we’ve accustomed to it now. So much so that when we went back to London over the summer, my daughter felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of people that were around us.
So i guess it does ease the pressure a little, but then again, the support system isn’t there. So a bit of both i would say.

 

  1. How does teaching compare in the different countries you have taught in? Fellow teacher currently volunteering in South east Asia.

 

I was a little anxious before I moved from London to the UAE. I thought it’d be very different. However, children are children no matter where you go. I loved to banter with my students in London. So I was so scared that I’d probably have to stop because the new students just *wouldn’t* get it. Thing is, they do. They really do. We banter all the time. Technology has brought the world together, so it doesn’t even feel like I’ve left home sometimes. I remember I was in fits of laughter when i heard one of my student randomly sing ‘Big Shaq’s – Mans not hot’ song in my class. I felt like i was back in the heart of London with my old students.
Only thing that is a big change is the culture and language.

 

  1. How important is it to a child’s education to have a parent-teacher, relationship? Have you noticed differences between children whose parents you have contact with to children that you don’t? –Fellow expat blogger and mother to two children. mothersmonologue.com

I think a parent-teacher relationship is vital to a child’s education. I can only speak on behalf of a secondary (middle & high) school teacher. When I have regular contact with parents, and the child is aware of it, he is more likely to do his best and behave. I would usually use that as a tool to get them back on task or mention something their parent said, and guess what, before you know it, he picks up his books and moves somewhere he knows he will not be distracted. I know this may seem like just another add-on to a teacher’s never ending to-do list, but it’s a win-win in my opinion.
I’ve also learnt vital information about a child from parents – which made me alter certain things in class – that I wouldn’t otherwise have known.

 

      18. Will you stay in the UAE forever? – Teacher in California

Maybe, maybe not. So far it has been a great experience and i do not regret making this move.

       19. How much do you get paid in the UAE? – Reader from South Africa.

Nowhere near as much as i deserve.
Luckily i don’t do this for the money.

       20. I LOVE your blog and the way your write. It’s so interesting. I think if you post pictures and videos up of yourself and your experiences in the UAE, you’d get so many more views and followers. – avid reader.

Yeah I’ve been told that before. However, i’d rather be a successful blogger and be able to walk in public unnoticed, than be a face for what i write and be noticed everywhere.

 

I hope you enjoyed my first ever Q&A and it gave you an insight into what i why i do what i do.

8 thoughts on “Q&A

Add yours

  1. just waiting for you to start your homeschooling business like 😬 Lool. Seriously though, it’s really interesting to see the thought process behind how you teach x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that really was a useful read, thank you for sharing (and answering my question 😊). When I finally leave the world of full-time mummy and delve into teaching, I’m going to pollute your life with phone calls asking for advice lol
    Looking forward to your next post! X

    Like

  3. Great post! Really think you should start vlogging. Start with a single vlog. See how it’s received and decide whether you want to continue. You can always delete your videos from YouTube. And could defo me more impactful if indeed you are trying to make an impact. So many hijabis to capture lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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