Out of Control

Last night I had a dream, well you could call it a nightmare.

I am a teacher and last night I dreamt that all of the students at the school rebelled. They picked up whatever implements they could find: rocks, steel, pieces of wood and started to throw them at the offices of the school. They were so angry. They threatened us with bodily harm if we moved and trapped us in the office. There was no one to call. They prevented teachers from using the phone and crying out for help.

Dreams manifest in our minds during our sleep about situations which concern us. In our profession of education, teachers are crying out. We are being disrespected by students, by parents, by members of the general public and worse by other institutions. Our lessons are not interesting enough. We deny that violence goes on in our schools when it is experienced on some level every day at many educational institutions. We are blaming everyone for everything and the crisis is not being dealt with. The crisis can be summed up in one phrase: a lack of control.

Without control there is chaos. Order gives a sense of security and with security comes peace. Instead of blaming all of the stakeholders involved in education, we should slow down and ask what can be done to deal with the crisis.

The impact my dream had upon me caused me to awake much earlier than I am used to and research classroom management techniques. I came across an informative website and instantly subscribed to receive weekly articles via email. One theme struck me:

Whenever you feel like you’re losing control of your classroom, it’s because of something you’re doing–or not doing. It’s not about your students. It never has been and it never will be.

It’s about you.

And another theme that will give me and I hope the rest of my teaching colleagues a fresh perspective and hope:

Your job is to teach, inspire, and hold accountable—which is completely in your control. When you focus your physical and emotional energy on these three core responsibilities, and determine to turn the rest over to your students, your stress will all but disappear.

Your students will feel the burden of responsibility for learning and behaving settle upon their shoulders, where it belongs. Their respect for you will soar. Their sense of independence will swell.

When a situation is taking the path of a downward spiral, we must stop, reassess and slow down in order to maintain that control. After regaining control, we must vow to never return to that situation again. Every stakeholder in education should have a clearly defined role. Each role should be known and more importantly reinforced by everyone. Teachers have a syllabus to get through in a certain time frame. Students must learn and be held accountable for their education. Administrators and members of the public should place their support behind educators and leave them to do the job which they are trained to do. Parental support is of utmost importance for the home is the bedrock of the society. Education begins in the homes and is refined in the schools.

Finally, a word of advice from the Scripture, that should tie the ideas of this article together:

self disciplineAnd I will leave it at that.

 

Advertisements

I Made It Through

I’m about to make the biggest leap of faith in my life. God has come through for me: when the bills needed to be paid, when I needed food for my children, when I needed strength for raising my children, when I needed to get through the long stressful day at work, when I needed a little break from life. God was right there beside me. So I will continue to live life in perfect love and fear no man. For God is in control. No matter how life turns out for better or worse, in sickness and in health, God is the constant that remains. i made it2

There are some life changing decisions which will occur soon in my life. My heart is beating so fast with anticipation that it may just about leap out of my chest. To sum it up: my life has not gone the way that I have expected. I expected to be the wife and mother with a career and house and car. Well all of those expectations have been blown away with a gentle breath of kindness. I’m living a life full of reckless abandon in service to God. Life is turning out better than I expected. No more am I saying that I can’t do this or that this is out of reach. I’m saying that I believe that I can do this and that I’m not going to worry about a thing because God is there. He has never left and He will never leave me.

 

I’m changing into a non-judgemental person who is content with doing good for other people for the rest of my life. My time with God has revealed so much within me that needs work and I am having a blast in the journey. Yes at times I am irritated at certain discoveries and then I remind myself that this is all in the refining process, the polishing process, the move towards maturity. I read somewhere that “youth is when you learn and age is when you understand”. In this stage of my life I am happy to be learning and understanding all at the same time.

I used to worry all of the time. But when I worry, I transform it into an opportunity to pray to God.

…have you trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere, you should never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer…

 

i made itI used to be angry. Now I keep still and wait for I remember that an angry word uttered at the wrong moment can do monumental damage. I used to think that I was not physically good enough. Now I am assured of beauty within and without. God’s love is beautiful. I used to worry about love and being loved but I appreciate all of the love around me for I choose to be grateful. I used to care about what people thought about me, until I realised it’s none of my business and that my life is between God and me. The closer I get to God, everything else pales in comparison. It is not my place to tell anyone that they are wrong and I am right. My duty is to live my life of service to God and others, using the talents He has graciously given to me.

 

Now life is not always a bed of roses. I appreciate the difficult times for without them I would have never known what the good life feels like. I love the uneasy times, the bumps in the road and all of the other clichés used to refer to them for they expose my weaknesses and that gives me an opportunity to depend on God for everything, to surrender every facet of my life to him: my children, my career, my desires, my needs and my dreams. These are transformed into God’s great design as I do His will and not my own, every day for the rest of my life. seeds you plant

Yes I made it through and I continue to make it through life. My journey is not over. It is beginning over and over each day as this life is a constant attitude of forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation. Therefore, I keep on trying and refuse to fail as I embody my primary school’s motto: Love God, Aim High, Keep Pure.

To Define is to Limit

Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality in the following opinions.

“I’ve been called too fat, too frumpy in my choice of clothes, not good enough, not clean enough. I’m single and the pressure to get married and have children is overwhelming when it looks like all of my friends are either getting married or having children or both. I’m tired of telling myself that single is better and that I don’t need a man to complete me. Then I told myself a couple of weeks ago to distance myself away from this negativity. Some of it was from persons around me, but sadly most of it was in my head.” – Tara

“Labels? I’ve never thought about it in that way but it’s actually relevant to everyone. Even men are labelled. Yet women are pressured by the media and themselves to look a certain way. People have called me ugly, you know the one: ‘She looks good but her face’. Once I started to look at myself and tell myself that I am beautiful, those persons didn’t matter to me anymore. Yet they were cruel. I guess words hurt as much as you allow them to.” – Danni

“I’m a single mother raising three children under the age of 8, on my own since my husband died of cancer, three months ago. It’s tough. Our family calls me strong but I feel tired and run down. Sometimes I cry in the middle of doing some random chore like washing dishes and say: ‘Why me?’ I started counselling the other day and I was asked to describe myself and I was shocked at the words I wrote down: haggard, let myself go, need to pull myself together, pain and the list was long. So I’m working on myself and being strong for the children. I miss my life before but God knows what’s best.” – Joanna

“I’m called pretty because my eyes are a hazel colour and my hair is what people in our country call “good” hair but I got tired of people judging me on my looks. I wanted to be more than just a pretty face. Some people were surprised that I have opinions on gender affairs and international politics. They assume I’m dumb because I’m pretty. I guess the song is right…Pretty hurts.” – Marissa

“I’ve tried all kinds of diets and all types of exercises to fit into the so called perfect image of woman that society has created. I’ve spent so much money on making the outside look better that I forgot about the inside. I guess I had it in reverse. I was never pleased at how I looked. I always found some fault with my body. I never really enjoyed food and exercise until I went to a wellness centre. There, they put more emphasis on the inside and eventually I began to love myself from the inside-out.” – Sara

“They call me the body. Everything about me must be perfect: the boobs, the waist, the hips. Everything must be on point. That’s what my life revolves around. That’s who I am. That’s the core of my personality. Without that I am nothing. My mother always nagged me about my weight throughout my life so fitness became the passion of my life.” – Yolanda

to-define-is-to-limit-quote-1

Labels have played an integral part in these women’s lives. Yet it is essential to see how they react to these labels. Some let them define who they are. Others accept the labels and continue to live their lives, while the rest took those labels and used them to progress further on in their respective lives. The key is of this life lesson is to capture thought processes for they account for emotions and actions. Once those thoughts become positive, the journey of loving yourself from the inside out begins. These labels are the stepping stones to discovering that true beauty is eternal. The body will not last forever. The core of life lies within the thought process. It is there that one can experience beauty and freedom to experience the fullness of life.

(Next article: Labelling our children)