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by Alveena Salim

In teaching, often situations arise where you can either laugh or cry. Or get angry.

I spent my first term in tears – usually on my way home from school. I wasn’t used to being called a Paki, too young to be a qualified teacher or accused of taking people’s jobs. I also had no experience with children who felt that they could walk out of my classroom whenever they felt like it.

But after a couple of months, I got over it and stopped being such a baby – Plus crying gives me major headaches. So what if I’m called a Mozlem? I am a Muslim. I’m a Paki and I’m also young – And?

The second term I was a pretty cranky teacher. I was annoyed at the extremely low academic standard of my class and would often keep them in detention. I also found myself rolling my eyes at parents who’d accuse me of taking their job – I found myself becoming bitter in the way I think – for e.g if I hadn’t filled this position, I seriously doubt the Vicky Pollard wannabe would have got the job instead. After all, most of them can only brag about being Britain’s youngest mum/dad on their CV…

But cos I can be Sufi inclined…I realised that anger/bitterness is destructive to the soul and just makes me unhappy, so I stopped the negativity.

I had a more light-hearted approach to my final term. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation.

I had a child who was dopey enough to come to class after playtime without his shoes on – he didn’t know what happened to them. My class told me that he had thrown them on the roof. His mum thought I had thrown them on the roof cos her child is white (??!!)

Once I showed a parent their child’s English book. He had written a story full of swear words. His dad was only concerned about his child’s incorrect use of the apostrophe.

Some parents thought it was funny the other day to give me bottles of alcohol and tickets to see the Full Monty as an end of year present. I suppose it is funny that I will be binning something that someone obviously spent a lot of money on. According to my assistant the wine was worth over £40. IMO this was a pretty expensive dig.

A few weeks back, in the middle of my observation by senior management, we had a bubble bee attack which caused the girls to scream and jump on the tables and the boys to go into some kind of war dance. I was so nervous that I burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. I told my class that the bubble bee will not sting anyone who was working hard. Fortunately for me, they believed me. The class become so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. They have never worked so quietly before…. I should release bees in the classroom more often.

I find it funny that the children of BNP can demonstrate how Muslims pray, understand the five pillars of Islam, identify the letters of the Arabic alphabet and can state the main features/purpose of a Mosque.

The more BNP parents hated on me…the more effort and planning I put into delivering good quality RE, PHSE and Citizenship lessons.

I’ve also been asked to lead regular religious assemblies next year as a bid to increase ‘multi-culturism’ within the community. Intrestingly enough, parents will be also invited to thes assemblies…

One child told me today that, I couldn’t possibly be a Muslim, cos his daddy said that all Muslims are bad and evil people and apparently I’m the nicest person he knows..

I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.