From a Sister, For a Sister

Ayat Tawelby Ayat Tawel

“Sister, each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.”


Since I first decided to take part in this “From the Teacher’s Family” issue, I have been very excited about what I will hear from a certain member of my family, and to have the chance to share it with readers in the outside world. I also want to thank iTDi for sharing their ideas about what kind of questions we can ask in such an interview. I chose to interview my younger sister, Emy, who is also a teacher, but teaching a different subject, Science. I am very grateful to Emy, for not only talking about me as a teacher, but also about how having two teachers at home can affect our lives.


Ayat: What are some good things about having a sister who is a teacher?

Emy: Well, I can’t think about having a sister who is a teacher away from being a teacher myself. So, as a teacher, having a sister who is also a teacher is very good indeed as she can understand any problems I might face at work, and give good advice, while other people can’t really get what I’m talking about. We also have more things in common to talk about and experiences to share, which nobody else is as interested in as we are. Lastly, a teacher-sister can guide you in how to deal with other people as she interacts with kids, parents, colleagues, and managers who shape her experience of how to build relationships with different kinds of people.


Ayat: Were there ever any moments in your life when you wished I wasn’t a teacher?

Emy; Yes, this happens when you talk about problems you encounter at work or with students. You don’t usually hear about such kinds of problems from other people. These kinds of student behavior problems, for example, can make you stressed, upset and can negatively affect people around you. At such moments, I wish you weren’t a teacher.


Ayat: Was there a moment when you were very proud of something I did as a teacher?

Emy: Yes, of course. I feel very proud of you when people talk about good things you’ve done, when your students talk excitedly about how good you are as a teacher and I see how you affect their lives a lot, even for years after they have moved to other grades or even finished school. I am also proud of you when you talk happily about your mentors or colleagues’ feedback about your work.


Ayat: Do you think I am well suited to be a teacher?

Emy: I believe so, because you have the talent of teaching; being able to teach, engage the students, and make teaching fun and a memorable experience for the students. I also think you’re well suited as a teacher because you love what you’re doing. You love your job, which makes it suitable for you.


Ayat: Why do you think I became a teacher?

Emy: I don’t really know, but maybe because you used to love English as a school subject! Oh, yeah, and you used to like one of your English teachers at school, who taught you for more than one year. You always saw him as your role-model and wished you could be like him one day”

Ayat: Actually, that’s true. I have always seen this teacher—Mr. Khaled—as my role-model and the best teacher ever. I used to do everything he asked us to do so as not to upset him. And I was always looking forward to his classes. He was very dedicated and used to give me positive feedback on my performance, which gave me more self-confidence. I hope I can invite him to one of my classes one day and listen to his feedback. I hope he is proud of me as one of his students!


Ayat: How would our lives change is I stopped being a teacher tomorrow?

Emy: Ohhh, that would be great!! hahaha!!! I think we would have more time to sit together and talk about more funny topics. We would enjoy doing some other activities in life that we can’t do because we are busy teachers. But then I will have to stop teaching as well so that we can really enjoy it!

So, that was what Emy thought about having a sister who is a teacher. I enjoyed listening to her replies as it was the first time I had the chance to hear one of my family members reflect on my job. I noticed that it was not easy for Emy to do so as she had to take some time to think of the answers before speaking. I believe that’s because we just live our life—with all its good and bad moments—without stopping to think about our relationships with the people around us and reflect on them.

Emy’s reflection on our life as sisters and teachers was honest and kind. She could show me a clearer and deeper version of our daily life and how it’s affecting our work-life balance. She also made me think of how important our job is. Every moment we spend planning before class or teaching in class can make a big difference in our students’ lives. It happened to me when I was a student, as I still remember Mr. Khaled and owe a great deal of my success now as a teacher to him.

I was surprised that Emy got excited when I asked about the moment I might stop being a teacher. I could see very well how being a teacher can fill up a big part of our life, depriving us and the people around us from enjoying our personal life more. I think my mum would also agree with that. I will consider giving more to my family and personal life. Life is lived only once, and we can’t make up for any wasted moments.

Finally, I advise everyone who reads this post to spend some time with an important person in his/her life , such as a family member, and start thinking and reflecting on your life, job, interests and needs. You will definitely get closer and will learn more about each other and how to enjoy life more together. Thank you Emy for being a life time blessing and source of inspiration.

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Ayat Tawel

Ayat Tawel is an EFL teacher and teacher trainer from Egypt who has 20 years of experience inside and outside Egypt. She is currently a Teacher Trainer at the British Council in Cairo, Egypt. Her main interests are online teaching and learning, using web 2.0 tools in teaching and training and enhancing creativity in the classroom. She has participated and presented in online and face-to-face local and international ELT events and conferences such as; NileTESOL, TESOL Arabia and IATEFL. She has been an online coordinator and moderator in TESOL Electronic Village Online sessions since 2011. She is NileTESOL LTSIG coordinator and a proud iTDi Associate. Ayat is a firm believer in the power of sharing and lifelong learning.

8 thoughts on “From a Sister, For a Sister”

  1. Wow.. I love my sisters-in-the-heart, esp my online twin!! I am very proud of having met you and I am very happy to share not only my professional stuff but also my family life with you both even if we are tons of kilometers away!!
    Smiles from Argentina, your crazy sister… Maria 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, dear Maria. You’re a wonderful sister to both of us and we love you so much. You made a difference in my life since we got to know each other. Love to you 🙂

  2. Dear Ayat:
    Wonderful post!
    You are so right!
    We all have so many things in common! It is amazing!
    Keep on working hard and loving the ones you love!

    1. Thank you Fabiana for the kind comment, and continuous support. You’re always a source of inspiration !!

  3. So good to have a chance to learn a bit more about who you are and about your family. I had to chuckled when Emy said that it would be great if both of you stopped being a teacher, so you could both spend more time together and laugh about silly and funny things in life, I reckon more often. I’m happy to hear you have someone to share this pretty close to you and I’m even happier that I have you all to share my life with as a teacher. Thank you for sharing your sisters thoughts.

    ps. If one day I can visit Egypt again, I’ll surely visit you two. 🙂

    1. You’re most welcome to Egypt anytime dear Rose. Emy and I will prepare a wonderful program for you and all your family. It’s a pleasure and honor to be sharing a post in the same issue with you. I learnt from your post how to appreciate lots of things we have in life and think about them in a better way. Thank you for your sweet comment and inspiring post 🙂

  4. Super Ayat! I wonder what woudl my family say if I ask them the same questions? 🙂 I am a bit scared. LOL You are a wonderful sister/teacher/person Ayat and I hope to meet you soon in person. Hugs dear!

    1. Thank you dear Marijana for reading, commenting and sharing my post. I appreciate your sweet and “super” support. You’re a wonderful friend and we all know you’re also a super mum. Bless you and your whole family 😉 Looking forward to seeing you one day !!

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