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PLS Teacher Blog number 2 – Ahmad

Reflecting on the first few weeks.

Teaching is hard.  Learning to teach, even harder. More difficult then arranging bank loans with Kazakhstan, probably.  But, you do get paid at the end of a teaching month. There are other benefits too.  I can get a student Oyster Zip card for cheaper public transport – should I have time to visit other public places.  I have also joined a setup that offers discounts for teachers in over forty-five thousand places.  I can’t wait for my first weekend of “hot-tub in the country”.

Teaching has become more challenging with Covid distancing.  I can’t sneak up on students to check if they are writing with quality or in sufficient quantity.  My eye sight isn’t what it used to be.  At a distance I can’t tell if what’s on their pages are paragraphs or dinner stains.

The children have had nearly six months in isolation.  I wonder how long their pleasure to return to school will last.  Optimistically, I’d give it until Christmas.  Perhaps that’s when I’ll book my Jacuzzi in the woods.

Although I’m a newbie, I suspect, with time, I’ll get used to the aches and pains that teaching induces on your joints and muscles.  I will get used to these as a general and persistent background discomfort and in due course might consider it an achievement.  I wonder if there is a D. of E. or Jack Petchey award for that.

Keeping fit is a big concern for me.  I’m addicted to sport.  I can happily run forty to fifty miles a week when it’s gamed; playing tennis or refereeing football matches.   And that’s what I’m hoping for.  That my current enthusiasm for teaching has long legs and breaks through the pain barrier when things get tough.

My own personal education journey started in Kabul with a boys-only Islamic state school which briefly became Marxist.  This was followed by a mixed C. of E. Comprehensive in Birmingham and now a girls Catholic Secondary in East London.  Saying a prayer before each lesson is a new thing for me.

There are always willing students who volunteer.  I have now spent two weeks in my new school.  I like it very much.  It’s exactly 3.5 miles door to door on my bicycle.  Thankfully the weather has been kind and dry.  I pack my uniform in my rucksack and change in the only men’s toilet in the school.  I’ve tried to find a place in the school to hang my suit overnight, but no joy.  I dread the day when I forget to pack some essential accessory like my belt or shoes.  Speaking of shoes, I now have blisters between my toes from wearing business Brogues.

So what have I learnt so far?  First, I am working and learning with great professionals at the SCITT, my school and my colleagues, other student teachers.  Secondly, I now eat healthy and snack throughout the day.  Teaching is hungry work.  Finally, a piece of advice; get your shoes and your bed right.  If you’re not in one, you’ll be in the other.

Two thoughts circulate in my mind constantly.  “What do I want them to learn next?” and “what kind of teacher am I going to be?”  I’m working on the first and no idea about the second, yet.  I have long given up on not smiling before Christmas.