A bbc interview with Maaria Khan @misskhan__

Welcome to the #bbcinterview with Twitter´s trendiest teacher, Maaria Khan.
Introduce yourself, oh trendy one...

I'm Maaria, 25, going into my 4th year of teaching in September. Teaching in South Yorkshire in a beautiful, growing school. Had experience in Y5, moving to Y3 as well as embarking on a new journey into leadership. SLT, curriculum lead & NQT mentor from September :)

What made you become a teacher?

The only thing I'm good at? Hahha! As far back as I can remember it's all I've wanted to do, birthdays, special occasions- I asked for whiteboards, books, chalk and played teachers with my 3 sisters and 2 neighbours who were similar in age. Teachings always been in the family too. My mum was a TA for a long time then a governor, my dad teaches Arabic to children of all ages so it's what I've been surrounded with!

What is your favourite part of the job?

There's so many. The fact that you turn up to work in whatever mood, with whatever else you're dealing with and have 30 odd little people who are capable of changing the world and you get to be part of that. That no day is the same and I'm never bored, everyday brings new, exciting but also terrifying things. That I get to be excited every day, see people learn every day, learn new things myself every day! The holidays are a fun bonus too.

What has been best thing you have done at work this year?

Work wise: Staging a week long dragon invasion, with clues, blood, hidden messages and arrival of dragon eggs. Putting together a tea party for parents and carers and sharing biographies written by their children (sob fest). Taking 32 children to the National Space Centre (kids who don't really visit that kind of place!).

Generally: this time last year I was dreading getting this class, they were "THE CLASS" the one everyone warns you about, the one with many an issue. They were that class and it's been the hardest year of my teaching career but my goodness their progress, attitude, behaviour, manner, love for learning is the best thing I've been part of this year. They are a class who are kind and caring to each other, they support each other, they laugh and smile with each other, they are polite, respectful to adults and children, they work damn hard all whilst overcoming so many personal issues. They weren't that class in September but they most certainly are now. That's the best thing not only I, but with the help of an amazing TA and HLTA have done :)

What is the most frustrating thing about teaching at the moment?

The workload issue I think is pretty clear. For me, it's two parts. Firstly, yes the DfE and government and people in higher places in the education world have set insane expectations and unrealistic time limits for said expectations. That then feeds into SLT and into schools.

The second part to that though is you as an individual. The situation is dire, yes. But it's the situation we're in and we've got to deal with it. I can sit here and complain that I've got lots to do or I can do something about it. Me doing something about it was picking the best school for me, having open lines of communication with SLT, working smarter.

It's horrible seeing so many people leave the profession because of this reason. I just wonder what schools and individuals are doing on a personal level as I don't think the expectations are going to reduce anytime soon.

What songs would be on your driving to work playlist?

Oh man this one is going to open me up to ridicule! So I normally just have the radio on but my fave tunes right now are: Justin Bieber on Despacito, anything by Ed Sheeran, One Direction gets a little boogie too!

Interview terminated, have a nice day...

What is the funniest thing a child has ever said/written in your class?

"So when did you come to England?" "If you're Muslim, how do you speak English so well?!"

Lots of comments like this, very white British area, 2 EAL in whole school, I'm the only POC teacher! I do giggle at these comments because they are truly meant innocently.

"You're alreyt you Miss aren't ya, like you make us do work and that but you know what I'm okay with that!" Met with my teacher look. "You love me really Miss, I'm ya fave, I can tell!"- not funny written down but imagine the thickest Yorkshire accent you can on a 9 year old blonde boy.

There's TONS but from what my poor, poor memory can remember!

What is your guilty pleasure?

I mean...my already excellent music taste has dropped me in it really. That as well as anything Disney related. I did cry when meeting Mickey Mouse aged 23, I should be embarrassed....definitely not!

Also, anything Harry Potter related? I'm basically a 25 year old child.

Don´t be embarrassed. (Should I tell her it´s not the real Mickey? I´m sure he died a long time ago...)

If you weren´t a teacher, what would you be and why?

Something like interior design. I think that comes through in my classroom set ups! I love everything about it despite the annual colourful vs minimalist discussions had!

I love putting new things together, rearranging, trying new things so to do that on a bigger scale would be dreamy!

I also wanted to be a journalist or on the radio for a little bit but don't think that was my calling in life!

What are you passionate about (teaching-related or not)?

Teacher Wellbeing and actively making changes to ensure teachers health comes first not just saying I care about wellbeing. Being a good model, especially as I am mentoring an NQT this year I feel it's important to show how to create that balance from the start.

Reading: It truly opens many, many doors for children. It's the key to everything! I remember when I read Noughts and Crosses in Secondary school, it was one of the first books that I got completely lost in. The Kite Runner followed that and to this day is my favourite book so I will always be passionate about reading. So much so that I've stocked my own bookshelf for Y3 as the book banded options in school are dire!

Extra curricular learning: Computing, Arts, Music. This year our school has offered it all and it's been absolutely amazing. To see children who would never in a million years think they can build a robot and win a National competition, to create art to be displayed in their community, to perform in front of audiences. The kids at our school are encouraged to dream big every day but I'm very passionate about making sure this is followed through by providing real life opportunities to do this!

Girls into sciences, girls into university: This is a BIG ONE for me. I was the first in my family to go to university, no one else has been so it was a huge deal, I felt as though I set something off in a way? Being a person of colour, British Pakistani, I'm very passionate about making sure girls not just of colour but girls in general believe they can do whatever they set their mind to and no one can tell them otherwise! I try to make this clear through not only teaching and my relationship with children in school but through my own life too with younger siblings and girls  in our local community.

If you had to pick one subject/topic to teach on a loop forever, what would it be? My bet is on Maths.

See my first thought was Maths but no I don't think so! I actually think it would be something like PSHE.

Kids are smart, smarter than a lot of people give them credit for, they will find out about stuff themselves. A quick google search will tell them how to do long division or what a preposition is so in theory they could do all that themselves! (Don't worry I'm not suggesting anything radical like they do haha but in theory!)

I'd choose PSHE because I think we play a big part in what kind of people children are. We have them for 6 hours, in that they interact with a lot of people, the most during their day more than likely so through PSHE we teach: manners, respect, citizenship, communication, social skills, how to treat people, how to be a decent person, how to be proud of the skills you have and work on things you want to improve.

We go on and on about how the SATs don't matter so surely me teaching children how to be a decent human being is better than a specific subject?!

Decent human beings change the world!

But it doesn´t affect PISA scores...

What is the most effective resource/technology/app you use in the classroom?

My Headteacher constantly says to us the best resource we have in school is us as class teachers and I truly agree! I think teachers and teaching assistants are more than effective in terms of resources! If everything else was taken away, that's all we would have!

What is the most effective routine/method/system you use in the classroom?

Getting the kids to do EVERYTHING. Truly. Whenever someone covers my class they always comment on it. Books given out and handed in? Kids. Equipment? Kids. Tidying? Kids. Timetable & display? Kids! There's 32 of them and 1 of me, they'll get it done a lot quicker than I can. Start straight away in September, teach them how to do and watch them flourish. And I strongly believe it doesn't matter what age, this will work! Y3 better get ready for me.

I'm also super organised, everything has a box, a place, a label. I forget things very easily so I make sure to do this first. It means I can find everything straight away, kids know where to find things they need and on a bigger scale, moving classrooms was super easy because everything was all organised! That makes everything else fall into place for me.

If you had to pick 4 people (Twitter or otherwise) to invite to a dinner party who
would it be and why?

Ohhhhh that is a difficult one!!! Can I do 4 just twitter and 4 other...#rebel

Twitter: Sophie (@_MissieBee) Ashley (@MrBoothY6) Sarah (@MissMaj_) for the same reason. We're all at a similar age in our experience in teaching and are all either entering leadership or have experienced it which would be super helpful. I also think they're absolutely brilliant teachers who I learn a lot from daily. They're also great craic and then whoever is behind @VocabularyNinja because it's something I am utterly interested in but not hugely knowledgeable in teaching properly!

And then 'otherwise'. Khalid Hosseini author of my favourite book in the entire world. Chris Pine because he's beautiful and I love the Princess Diaries film (see previous I'm a child answer). Michelle Obama and Malala because they are women of colour who are absolutely BADASS doing amazing things regularly.

Nearly everyone has done that. Not as much of a rebel as you think!

My mild rebellion down the drain!

#summerofmildrebellion fail.

What is the best and worst advice you have been given as a teacher?

Best: During teacher training my mentor and deputy head at the time (now Head) told me to get out of the classroom at break and lunch. I didn't quite manage break but I was adamant at lunch and I think that's where my determination for a work/life balance started. He said if the walls of the classroom are the only thing you see all day, you'll drive yourself crazy- he's right! And also to try things and not be disappointed if they don't work! We have too much of "That won't work!" "We've not done that before!" Who cares! Try it, what's the worst that can happen!

Worst: Don't smile until Christmas, don't put too much of yourself into the class, don't let the kids do...(insert certain things) all daft, all very quickly ignored!

Final Question: What drives you as a teacher?

The thought that the kids I teach will change the world on whatever scale that may be. That I can motivate children to think about college and university, kids who wouldn't dream of that. I'd like to think I drive myself too, I want to be better, I want to make changes! That's what gets me to work! That and fantastic, funny, kind, hard working children!

If you could choose one person who you´d love to have the bbc interview treatment, who would it be and why?

I think Miss Maj @missmaj_ (Sarah) because she's had a hell of a year and has come out shining, like she always does so it'd be brilliant to have more of an insight into that!


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