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by Alveena Salim

Met my new class today. I wasn’t impressed. Needy, clingy and whiny with serious attitude problems.

I’m really gonna miss my current class. Even though, last September they drove me crazy. I had them in class detention on a daily basis; I lost my voice nearly every week. They’d walk out of my classroom whenever they felt like it … I’d regularly get them to rub off ‘I hate Ms Slim’ graffiti of the tables …..and “We do NOT leave the school premises whenever we feel like it” was one of my classroom rules…and I was faced with daily tears and tantrums.

On top of that, I had parents accusing me of putting their child into detention cos of the colour of their skin.

It took me 8 weeks of sleepless nights to get them how I wanted them.

They’re now polite ….well as polite as cockney children can get, so now I hear a lot more “Cheers luv” and “Thank you darling”…they always do as they’re told….I now get “I love Ms Slim” notes passed around instead and they have a lot of respect for adults. They’re even good to supply teachers!

My new class had no interest in the things I told them they’ll be doing this year. One little girl actually said to me “Look at my face, am I bovvered?”……they were more concerned with how I sleep, eat, bathe, swim and play with that ‘thing on my head’.

Meeting new parents was just as interesting. One father was concerned that his child would not learn the basic skills in reading and writing with a “foreign teacher” – I reassured the hater by telling him that my current class received the highest test score in all areas in English out of my entire year group…I also made a mental note to teach my new class lots of Arabic Qasida’s, plan a school trip to the local Mosque and teach them how to recite and identify the Arabic Alphabet during their RE and Citizenship lesson.

My new class has a “Am I bovvered?” attitude to everything. I should take a leaf out of their book cos truth is, I’m not bovvered anymore either. I spent a year trying to justify myself to extremely racist parents. I no longer care if new parents think I’m a crazy/extreme/terrorist lovin Mozlem teacher. I can see myself putting a lot of kids in detention during the first term. If the parents think I’m discriminating against their child on the basis of their skin colour – then so be it.

I’m really not that bovvered either.