I finished the Early Educator course in April 2021 and I received my Early Years Diploma from the UK in July same year.
I was very excited just for a few moments as life circumstances changed and I found myself in a new situation hard to understand.
My husband has abandoned me and my daughter after 10 years of marriage, refusing a legal divorce and a serious financial responsibility towards us. Moreover, he exercised financial abuse till the last drop, by not agreeing on me to work.
Although UAE is a country that supports and allows women to work, there are possibilities when this can not happen. In my situation, I need my husband`s signature to work, otherwise, I am committing an illegal act.
It is hard to explain how I am feeling in such an oppressive and discriminatory condition. I experienced lots of feelings of frustration, helplessness, a great amount of stress, nostalgia and many things in between. Teaching and taking care of children have been my top priorities in the last two years and I miss to bits the profession that I studied and worked for.
It`s sad when looking back I realized that all my attempts to professional progress were always stopped by the same person. However, the access to knowledge, research and the liberty of thinking can never be stopped.
Therefore, in all this time that I am waiting for the judge`s verdict on my legal situation, I am not allowing the knowledge that I acquired in the last years to go wasted. I have started writing storybooks for young children and creating different worksheets. One good thing about living in 21 Century is that it has never been easier to stay up to date in the Educational industry. Technology has enabled me, by opening the doors to a plethora of audio and visual means of information, to access webinars, podcasts, top articles and news on Early Years education. Moreover, it is very easy to connect to peers from the same industry on social media and to join professional associations or groups. That`s how I joined the Education Influence project.
I might be banned from working in an early years setting but I am not banned from observing small children at playgrounds, in the parks, at the mall, smiling at them, helping them if needed, talking to their parents about their progress. I discovered that parents have dozens of questions on Early Years Education whey they randomly discovered that I am a qualified Educator. I am not banned from interacting with my neighbour`s small children, talking to them, modelling behaviour, observing them while they are playing outside, scaffolding learning and provoking them with open-ended questions to stimulate their learning. I am not banned to encourage them to share their things, interact with other children, guard their safety while they play.
I am not banned from comforting parents and telling them that their toddlers who throw food and utensils from the high chairs are not naughty, they are actually learning the trajectory concept. That the children who are playing with foods and drinks by mixing them during meals are not naughty too, they are probably not hungry and they are just learning about solids and liquids and changing properties of materials, which indicates a transforming schema.
The conclusion is simple: I have never been banned from being an educator. I am not less of an educator. An educator work does not stop anyway in a setting. I have just been banned to activate in a setting and gaining a salary. Moreover, the COVID19 Pandemic taught us a valuable lesson about educational settings. While nurseries were forced to close down temporarily in the UAE, we all realised that the children were the nursery, that they were the curriculum and they were the foundations that helped educators stand so tall. As Gavin McCormack, a top-level educator once said: "A setting without children is simply a building."