Teacher Feature: Teacher Mimi
Posted by Ezar
Teaching preschool is not for the faint of heart. Managing to teach, encourage, and nurture several small children with vastly different personalities is a huge feat, and yet our teacher of the week pulls it off easily. She is in the classroom because she loves what she does. Her teaching style is student-focused. We also love how she encourages every child to talk and listen, read, write, and reflect as they approach content through role-playing as they learn. Meet Teacher Mimi!
My name is Miracle Adebayo aka Mimi. I am a Nigerian, a lawyer and currently a Pre-school teacher. I started my teaching journey in 2017 and since then have taught different grades of students ranging from Primary to Secondary school. I am also a 21st century parenting enthusiast who wants to see families get it right.
You can find me on:
- Instagram handle is @mimi_adebayo
- Facebook name: Miracle Adebayo
- Linkedin: Miracle Adebayo
- Twitter: @krystallemimi
This quote by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, aptly describes what teaching means to me: A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself while lighting the way for others.
In my classroom, I encourage conversation and questions. I am currently a preschool teacher, and I find that questions are a powerful way of guiding children’s learning. Questions are tools that optimize learning and encourage inquiry-based learning. In my class, I don’t just ask the questions, I let the children ask questions too. Sometimes, when they are genuinely curious about something and they ask about it, rather than being quick to give them the answer, I ask them questions that help them see that the answer was within them all along and they just needed someone to shine the light on it. So, I would ask questions like: “why do you think that happens?” “How do you think you can solve the problem?” Questioning encourages critical thinking and critical thinking brings solutions.
What drives me the most is when I see the light of learning dawn in the eyes of my learners’. So, it doesn’t matter if my learners are kids, or even adults, I am passionate about breaking knowledge down into manageable bits.
I thought being a teacher meant being regular or being useful only in the classroom. This made me bury my other passions such as helping parents navigate 21st century parenting, influencing the reading culture in the 21st century child, and even writing. However, COVID-19 happened and I have seen myself step outside my comfort zone and do things I have always wanted to do. I wrote a chapbook titled Homeschooling 101, which I gave out for free, and to help parents navigate the murky waters of homeschooling preschoolers.
I went ahead to write an e-book that tackles the problem of excessive screen time in growing children. That book is full of so many amazing nuggets that I had no idea I was so knowledgeable about; it highlights 22 other activities that can wean children off screen-time.
I also coached a small number of parents on Sustainable Homeschooling in April, 2020. Currently, I am collaborating with a fellow teacher to organize an online Summer Reading and Writing boot-camp for primary school children in the month of July.
This bootcamp is aimed at bridging the gap that COVID- 19 has left in the basics of education for some children, and of course igniting a love for reading and writing in children of this generation.
Before I chose teaching, I was a lawyer. My mother was a teacher, though but even while growing up, teaching was not something my parents would have thought I would choose later in life. I didn’t even know it myself. After I started my law degree, I found that I spent my spare time teaching. I would teach children in church, teach children when I was on holidays, and gosh I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with these children, I enjoyed seeing their progress, and their win was my win. I loved the opportunity to share their stories and just be there for them, I am not a very social person, but when I am with my kids, I am at peace. It is amazing! I spent my time in law school teaching my classmates, not just because I knew, but because I enjoyed breaking down knowledge so they get it. By law school, I knew I was not going to practice as a lawyer. I was just a candle looking to light up the way for others. So, in a way, teaching chose me.
I do not really have favourites of anything, but I must say, one teacher whose teaching style I enjoyed the most was the one who used stories to keep us hooked. Sometimes, in the middle of a lesson, she will break into a story, and then continue teaching. It seemed like the best way to remember what was taught was to remember which story featured in the lesson. It also seemed like a strategy to ensure she did not lose our attention.
I shared on my Instagram handle a few days ago about my first experience working with a special child. I was assigned to read stories to her. She was just two, and had shown signs of autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This meant getting her to sit in one spot for even a minute, was near impossible. She usually walked around while eating, walked around while her classmates sat for circle time. The only time she was really still was when she was asleep, or when something caught her attention. So, being given such a child as a primary responsibility, to get her to sit and listen to a story? I thought it was impossible. The first few days, she cried, struggled and lashed out at me. It was hard! My lead teacher told me to just keep reading to her, no matter what happened. So, that’s what I did. I would pin her between my legs while she cried, and keep reading. One day, I noticed she had stopped struggling, when I looked down at her, I saw she had fallen asleep. It was a huge victory to me, and I realised than that while she cried she also listened. I went home and read about strategies to use, things to do, to make things easier for her. I also noticed she liked certain types of books – books that interact, pop-up books etc.
So, I would select those kinds of book from the book corner, take her outside and distract her with one of the fancy books, while I read to her. After we settled into a routine, I realised she and I developed a rapport. She would look at me and smile, which was something she never did. I found out she liked being swung around in the air, so I would do it and she would giggle. It was so beautiful. The crying didn’t stop entirely, but we got better at it. I found that I grew to love her, and would protect her fiercely, and that for me, was one of my most meaningful teaching experiences so far.
Weirdly enough, I love the English Language, but I don’t like how complex it gets for children when learning. So, I found that when I was teaching older kids, I loved teaching Humanities subjects, when teaching preschoolers, I enjoy teaching subjects like Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED). I still enjoy teaching English and like to look for ways to make it easier for children to understand the different elements.
The Interactive White Board is one of the best teacher resource there ever was! I like its versatility.
Let it be known that I am a foodie. Recent discovery, though. I also said I don’t do favourites, but I quite like yam. I don’t have a favourite snack, because there are new snacks every day and I would love to try them all. Favourite drink would be water and tea.
This is going to sound so nerdy, but on a non-school day, I curl up in bed and read.
There are typically a number of things that recharge and refresh me, and I will list them in no particular order:
- Baking and cooking
- Reading fiction
- Taking a vacation with my husband.
My advice to a first-year teacher would be: Be ready for anything. Be flexible. Try everything because it is in the trying, you learn and begin to find a niche that best suits you. Never stop learning.
My teaching mantra would be: teaching is more than a job; it is an assignment.
Posted in Teacher Feature
Tags: African Authors, African teachers, Generation Z, Homeschooling 101, Lawyer, Miracle Adebayo, Preschool teacher, Summer Bootcamp, teacher, Teacher Dumebi, Teacher Ezar, Teacher Feature, teacher feature 20, teacher feature africa, teacher feature nigeria, Teacher Mimi Adebayo