I want to be a teacher
Nargis: I want to be a teacher.
Adi: Yeah? That’s so not what I’d do. Anything else but that. You seen that Teachers programme on TV? They’re all mad and obsessed with sex and alcohol.
Nargis: Get real, that’s TV, there is a difference you know!
Adi: Yeah, I was just winding you up, you and me being good Muslims, like. So you think you’ll make it then?
Nargis: I don’t see why not, my grades are okay, it’s not as if you have to be top in everything.
Adi: So what would you teach?
Nargis: English I reckon.
Adi: That would get them going.
Nargis: What, you saying I can’t teach English cos I’m Pakistani?
Adi: No, I’m not saying that, but they might.
Nargis: Well stuff them. English is my first language and everybody knows I’m good at it.
Adi: So how come there aren’t many Pakistani teachers? I suppose English people think they all want to run corner shops?
Nargis: Yeah, very funny. You’re right, I’ve never had a Pakistani teacher and neither’s anyone I know. I s’pose we must just prefer other jobs. I know people who have gone to uni to do computers, law, business and stuff like that.
Adi: You’d get more money doing subjects like that. Why not go for one of them? They harder to get into?
Nargis: There you go again, implying I’m not clever enough! Actually I think I’d go and do English first then there’s a one year course you do after that to train as a teacher. English is a harder degree to get into than law and business studies, so it’s nothing to do with not being brainy enough, see! It’s not less work or nothing.
Adi: Look, English teacher, it’s not ‘less work or nothing’, you're supposed to say ‘less work or anything’.
Nargis: Yeah, whatever.
Adi: I wonder if people get less racism in those other sorts of jobs. I mean, you’ll get it as a teacher won’t you?
Nargis: Yeah, I dunno what to say about that. I guess I’ll have to learn to deal with it whatever job I do. I dunno how much bother you get for being Bosnian as well as a Muslim, but my Dad gets stuff said to him by patients he’s trying to help – can you believe that? My Mum hears things from customers at work. We had something scratched into the paint on our car last month.
Adi: I probably get less than you cos I'm white, until they hear my accent of course, and even then they don't know I'm a Muslim. But whenever they talk about refugees I know they’re talking about me, saying we’re all on a scam, that we aren’t real refugees and all that.
Nargis: It really gets me when people think that just because there aren’t many of ‘us’ round here, y’know in this area, that there’s less problem with racism. Like we cause it, if we weren’t here no one would have a racist thought in their heads.
Adi: Yeah. They try sending refugees to areas where they’re used to immigrants and people say ‘no we’ve got enough’. So then we get sent here and they say ‘we haven’t been polluted yet, we don’t want them either’.
Nargis: Do you know I’m more likely to get a racial assault here than if we lived in London? True, it was in my sociology book.
Adi: I don’t want to even think about it. Okay, so getting back to teaching, it’s harder to get into and it’s a longer course and it’s less money, so…..
Nargis: Well I just think it’d be good. Helping people write better, getting them into reading, that stuff we did about analysing newspapers. I’d love to teach that sort of thing. A bit of drama.
Adi: And of course you’d be special and unusual, the only Pakistani teacher for miles around!
Nargis: That’s good though, isn’t it? Maybe it would be good for Pakistani families to see a Pakistani teacher.
Adi: Maybe more Pakistani kids would go into teaching, y’know, a role model.
Nargis: And I wouldn’t care if a few white people thought I shouldn’t be teaching English, or if they’d never seen a Pakistani teacher before. Do them good.