Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Half The Teacher He Was

My brother Chrish messaged me the other day asking me if I was still alive, as he was worried as I hadn't blogged for a while.  I told him I'm only just alive, as I'm so busy and tired and feeling like I can't get anything done, let alone find time to blog.

It's a 'good' busy and tired though, as I am working every day, teaching at two different schools and I love it.  Even though my work is part time, my hours are spread out over five days, so it feels like I'm working full time.  On my shorter days I end up spending a lot of time after work getting things done, so my 'half' day often becomes a full day. 

I spend a lot of time at night and on weekends getting things ready for school, and keep telling the boys that it won't always be like this, because I feel like it's all I'm doing at the moment.    I know I have to make myself leave school when my hours are over, and have to spend more time doing other things otherwise I will never have any time 'off', but it's nice to have something else to focus on and put my energy into. 

I love my job teaching EAL - English as an Additional Language.  It's a challenging job in many ways, but so rewarding at the same time.   At the moment I'm teaching four siblings who are refugees from Afghanistan.  They have now been in Australia for just over six months and amaze me with how fast they learn and how well they have adapted to their new life.  
They still have very limited English, but are becoming more confident every day.  The first week they were very quiet around me, but now their personalities are coming out and they are very cheeky at times.  They make me laugh every day with the things they say and do.   One day one of the boys was being silly so his sister said he was being 'cray cray' (meaning 'crazy').  I cracked up laughing and asked her where she learnt to say that and she said 'television' :) 

Another day we were singing the song 'heads, shoulders, knees and toes' and we decided to sing it really fast.   They cracked up laughing as we were singing it so fast, and I said 'oh that was too fast!' to which the girl said 'sing three fast!'.  She obviously wanted to sing it faster and thought that if we sang it 'three fast' rather than 'too fast' then it would be faster. 

My favourite part of the job has been seeing them do things for the first time. They hadn't been swimming before last week, so seeing them in the pool together having the best time made my month, especially as it was such a huge step for the girl.  They don't know how to swim, but were so happy playing in the water.

They kept calling out to me 'Miss King!' (I'm usually called Mrs King) and would point to the waterslide and say 'me go?' hoping that I would say they could go on the slide.  I wished so much that they could've gone on there, but our school wasn't using it that day.  Hopefully later in the year they will get the chance to do that. 

It has also been fun learning some words in Farsi.  They think it's hilarious when I try to count to ten in Farsi and love that the shoe is on the other foot, when I find it hard to remember certain numbers.  One of the boys cracks up and says 'no tell, no tell!' when the other kids want to give me a clue about what the next number in Farsi is.  

Another fun part of the job is teaching them life skills such as crossing the road safely, and how to catch the bus home.  I have gone on a couple of bus trips home with them, to make sure they get off at the right stop and cross the road safely and we have fun making books later on with photos we have taken of what we have done.  When I have been on home visits their parents are so lovely and even though they don't have very much they offer me food and really want me to stay for a long time. 
One day a week I have been doing relief teaching at Noah's old special school.  It's long term relief which has been good as it means I can plan things in advance.  I have been able to work with certain kids doing work with switches on the computer and iPads and using switch toys as well as giving teachers release time off class, and doing I.T. work with setting up iPads.  

I love seeing the kids regularly and it's nice to know that they hadn't forgotten me from when I left last year.  It's a very different feeling working there as a teacher, instead of being a Teacher Aide and it feels strange to be in charge of a class rather than just being in the class, but it's nice to have some confidence back and to know that I can teach. 

At the end of last year the boys and I were praying that I would get some work this year, and now I feel like I'm working too much, but I don't like to say no to the work as I know how hard it can be to get work as a temporary teacher and I know how blessed I am to have work.  I'm keen for the relief work to finish as I would love a day off a week so I can get on top of things at home, but for now it's nice to keep busy and to do something that I love so much.  

When I'm teaching I am always thinking about Aaron and how much he loved his work and students.  I know he would be so happy for me to be doing something so rewarding.  It's been such a huge challenge to go back to teaching after having fourteen years off, especially after what we've gone through and are still going through, and I still have a lot to learn, but I just hope that Aaron is proud of me.  

I'll be happy if I can be half the teacher he was.


  1. Lisa, your writing is such a delight to read and ponder. Good for you that you are realizing some happiness in your teaching. And, please don't be concerned about Aaron being proud of you - I'm sure he is up "there" bragging to everyone.

  2. Hi Lisa, I've been following your blog for quite a while now. I live in NC in the states. I too am a special education teacher, but left the profession this year as it was getting hard to juggle all 3 of my children's schedules, so I decided to leave the field for a while. I agree, it is a rewarding profession and I'm sure Aaron is so proud of you and how far you have come.

  3. Lisa I doubt very much that you are half the teacher he was. You after all teach us so much. And the way you speak of your students, you stand out as a teacher too. It is rare to find but very appreciated.

  4. The ESL position sounds very rewarding!

  5. I think the children that you teach are very lucky to have you as their teacher and I'm sure they are learning a great deal from you.


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