Banana Chat features inspirational people, one of which is Abed Ahmed

Every week we do a Banana Chat feature where we pose a series of questions to someone we think has been inspirational. In our series of chats we have interviewed international sports people, actors, fitness instructors, business people, teachers, university students, bloggers, an author, fundraisers and many more.

Many of these people are just ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. Each of our featured people have done something amazing and we are really proud when we hear that one of these people have been recognised for something really special.

Abed Ahmed is a teacher from Birmingham who we have interviewed and featured over the last few months since we started to feature inspirational people. If you haven’t read any of our articles before then Abed is a teacher that has a stammer. He was born and brought up in a tough area of Birmingham and has inspired children at his school who also stammer.

We try and keep in touch with our inspirational people and last week we heard from Abed once again. He has been nominated for Birmingham’s 30 under 30 awards. To read more about this click here.

Not only that he has also been nominated in the TES school awards for 2018 in the New Teacher of the year award. To read more about this click here. Just being nominated for an award is a great achievement. The actual awards ceremony is to be held on June 22nd at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. This year it is a particularly important ceremony as it is the 10th anniversary of the awards.

Congratulations from us all here at Banana Crumble and we will be keeping everything crossed for you at at the actual awards ceremony. We look forward to hearing more about his experience and how great it is that you have been recognised for your inspirational role at your school.

If you know of anyone that you feel has been inspirational or you would like to take part in one of our Banana Chat features then please email us at




How to help people who stammer to gain in confidence..

After researching our earlier feature about stammering and having discussions with Abed Ahmed he has told me that he has written an article to help other teachers learn how to help pupils with a stammer. We thought it would be great as a follow up article to include this information so that maybe many others can be helped using this advice.

You can read the full article here

Below is a summary of the information included in the article. So, as a teacher with a stammer, what do I advise other teachers to do to support their students with a stammer?

* As a general rule, treat a pupil with a stammer the same way as you treat pupils who do not. We don’t like to be treated differently.

* Never finish their sentences. Always listen to what they have to say and not the way they are saying it.

* Being patient is important. The more anxious we feel, the more likely we will stammer even more. It can be tempting to say things like “spit it out”, but that’s the worst thing you can say to a person who stammers.

* Don’t tell them to breathe slowly or to take their time – it just makes us feel that we are not capable of speaking for ourselves.

* Show them that you are always listening. Ensure you keep natural eye contact at all times. We like to know that we are being listened to.

* Ask stammerers what you can do as a teacher to support them. Try speaking to that pupil more than before, even if it’s before lesson or in the canteen. Every bit of conversation will help them. This will hopefully encourage them to speak more, which is what we want.

* Always encourage them to take part in speaking activities – but you should certainly ask them beforehand, so you know what they’re comfortable with.

This advice isn’t just for teachers but for everyone, as if we all took tips from this we would all be helping those with stammers to gain in confidence. Thank you to Abed Ahmed for letting us have this information.


Banana Chat – meet Abed Ahmed

Abed Ahmed is a teacher from Birmingham. He began to stammer from the age of four, and struggled at school due to lack of support. Abed took GCSE drama and he felt that this was a great tool in helping towards dealing with his stammer and helped with his confidence. At age 19, he started working with a speech and language therapist, and his confidence flourished. To find out more then look at his social media site.

Twitter: @stammer_teacher

What is your favourite joke?
Train conductor finds that an adult has a child pass and asks him why before fining him. The man replies, “I’m a child of God”

What makes you smile?
Seeing sad people made happy.

What is your favourite good news story?
My favourite good news story is one where the Father of a murdered Muslim pizza delivery driver forgave the man convicted over his killing. To see this inspiring story click here

What inspires you?
People who battle with cancer and mental illnesses.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
How we perceive mental health.

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
To read people’s minds! It would be incredibly useful to know what people are thinking!

What is your favourite food?
Rice and fish curry!

What is your favourite drink?
Rubican mango

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My playstation 4!

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
To not work more than 4 hours a day!

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
I almost drowned at sea in Turkey!

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
Verily after hardship, comes ease.

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
Any stammer related event! Or my article on how to make teachers better at understanding those with a stammer.

Who is your favourite music artist?
Ed Sheeran

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him)

PJ’s or Not?

Hot or cold? Cold

Cat or dog? Dog

Blue or pink? Pink

Tea or coffee? Tea

Glass half-empty or glass half-full? Half Empty

Pyjamas or not? Not

Night out or night in? Night In

Pizza or pasta? Pizza

Biscuits or cake? Biscuits

Wine or beer? Non Drinker

Football or rugby? Football

Cinema or theatre? Cinema

Gym or TV? TV

Naughty or nice? Nice

Silver or gold? Silver

Tent or hotel? Hotel

Bath or shower? Shower

Starter or pudding? Pudding

Sheets or duvet? Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones? Neither

Finally, apple or banana? Apple


Stammer with confidence …

Abed Ahmed is a teacher from Birmingham. He began to stammer from the age of four, and struggled at school due to lack of support. Abed took GCSE drama and he felt that this was a great tool in helping towards dealing with stammer and helped with his confidence. At age 19, he started working with a speech and language therapist, and his confidence flourished.

“That therapy helped me begin the journey of embracing my stammer and accepting that it’s part of who I am,” he says. “Getting the right professional support has enabled me to begin a career that absolutely depends on having confidence in your ability to communicate clearly.” ”I realised that I stopped thinking about my stammer once I stopped caring about what people think. I now control what was once controlling me.  So, raising awareness is invaluable – the more people are aware of stammering, the easier it becomes for stammerers.” Abed says he was often teased at school which made things hard for him. He said that his parents would just tell him to speak slowly but he never felt that stammering was fully understood.

It was whilst Abed was in the sixth from at school that he decided to get help. It took him almost a year for this help to be received. He said that just being able to open up and talk to someone who understood made him realise that he could deal with the stammer. He said that it made him believe that if he didn’t care about his stammer and stop worrying about what other people felt this was a great start.

Abed took his degree and became a Maths teacher. He had been told that with a stammer he would never be able to be a teacher. This didn’t put him off and he persevered. He is now a teacher at his former secondary school, and has set up a Stammer Support Group to empower today’s students who have a speech impediment, and to help them to find their own voice. In the Stammer Support Sessions he has included drama, role play, interview help and other areas that he feels will benefit those in the class.

In an article about Abed he says “This is what teaching is all about – making a difference to a child’s life. I believe I was a role model to these pupils as I myself have a stammer and thus can relate to how difficult it can be to deal with stammering on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately I piloted these sessions because I aim to give all pupils a voice. It is important that all students of all abilities have a positive mind-set and the confidence that is needed to achieve their goals despite having a stammer. The impact of such sessions on their personal development and confidence has been colossal. Pupils have flourished in character as a result of the sessions. I have found it a gratifying experience, particularly because I can relate to their struggles. As a pupil I felt isolated and nervous because I was not given the support I needed throughout the vital years of development. These pupils now have access to means of support at an outstanding establishment.

I am going to be leading on more projects in the upcoming academic year at my school. I want to raise more awareness amongst the staff in school, and want to help pupils further with their confidence in speech and language. I will be doing this by publishing a stammering awareness video which I have created with my pupils”  This video can be found at The video has reached places far and wide.

 Ed Balls tweeted “Watch some really brave young people explaining why their stammers aren’t going to stop them. Great video Mr Ahmed !” Great British Bake Off Winner Nadiya tweeted “What an inspirational bunch of kids!!! So much love to them and all the hard work you do xx”

In the following link Abed gets the children with a stammer to talk to their year group for the very first time to try and explain their individual story and how they would like to be treated.

Stammering affects 1% of adults and almost 5% of children. Hopefully by sharing this story we can help others realise their dreams and realise that a stammer does not close doors and it is for the individual to find the key to future successes. After researching this story the one thing that I have taken from this is for people who stammer, they should try to stammer with confidence and not let this affect their ambitions and if in our daily lives we meet those who stammer to let them finish what they are saying and not interrupt them or finish their sentences.

You can’t be a teacher if you have stammer!!!! You proved them wrong Abed Ahmed (teacher).


Twitter: @stammer_teacher