Dear Sam,

You’ve been in my thoughts a lot, well more than often. The sound of your crazy laughter filled the classroom today as I stood before a large group of Grade 12 learners from this rural school I went to…well, they were busy discussing somethings I had asked of them. As I wrote on the blackboard (well, it was green!), I smiled because I saw your face. I went around to each group and for a brief second I saw us walking around carrying Junior. What a crazy dog we had šŸ™‚

Do you remember when we had just moved to Uitenhage? That was messed up for me, everything and everyone I loved was left behind in Port Elizabeth….then I had theĀ big-sister-will-hurt-you-if-you-touch-my-baby-sister moment when we were visiting friends of our mother. Do you remember that? I think you were sent to the shops with two other girls. You were about 6 years old and this 15 year old girl slapped y’all or something. I remember when you came into the yard crying, the girls’ lips were moving and all I heard was “your sister’s hurt and there’s the girl who hurt her“, I know that’s not what was said, but hey. All I knew was to pounce on her. I remember grabbing her by the shirt and screamed to her face, “did you hurt that child?! did you? did you hurt my sister?!” LOL Funny thing is, I never cared that she was about 6 years my senior, all I knew was that I had to protect my sis! I might have slapped her because I remember I was then told that I shouldn’t go around beating up people because we were still newbies there.

Anyways, we’ve been through a lot, you and I, but I never forgot how Brandy just said what was in my heart. Then I wrote you one of my first poems “My Little Sister’s Prayer“…

I love you always Sam,

ZamiĀ heart

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Letter to my baby sis!

September, 8th!

In 2006, I was blessed to be promoted to a new and different status that comes with a lot of responsibilities and benefits; being Mom. Even though I was told that this beautiful prize would make his presence in October, I was neither phased or dismayed; I was excited and just knew that this was meant to be.

When he was a little over three months old, I knew that feeding time meant business…he just loved this time. He ignored his toys and sometimes (I think) tried to block his favourite tunes too, including my voice….

This is a diverse boy that I was blessed with. Bath time is still playtime. I’d call him water boy but he prefers a “more profound” superhero name šŸ˜‰

Then there are times when he sees you taking out a camera and he just strikes a pose. What a model! He prefers selfies and sometimes, he would ask you to “take a photo or maybe three mama”. He is not apologetic about who he is.

I hope that he becomes all that God has called and created him to be. A just man, who lives with values founded in love and may he continue having a discerning spirit.

Happy Birthday my boy!

 

 

Lead Me not into a Bias Teacher…

This morning, seated in one of my lectures I had to once again deal with traces of injustice. I know that for the longest, about three lectures long, I hoped that I was reading too much into things. I mean we are being trained to be teachers who are radical about social justice in the classroom. What happens when these very same people who are training us to do this very thing are doing the opposite? Do we sit and keep quiet? Well, I did. Did I feel good about it? No, I didn’t. It literally drained me having to attend this class. I had to remind myself as to why I chose to leave my comfortable life and become a student once again. Still, this gave me migraines. How am I supposed to be an advocate for social justice in my classroom, when I am witnessing the opposite? Is being a Student Teacher always going to be conflicting? Surely, not? This has to be some sort of test. Yes, it must be some test that is well-hidden within the module. We’re being tested on who keeps quiet the longest. Yes! That’s it.

But if that is the case…I think I just failed the test.

Let me take you back a lot of year back…I grew up fighting against being oppressed in my own home, by those who were supposed to teach me that I should not accept that kind of behaviour from anyone. Well, I secretly fought in my head. Yes, I kept quiet. It seemed everyone around me saw it, but no one was supposed to say anything about it. Me, included. It took me a long while to realise that I was supposed to be quiet about it. I had all sort of reminders; there was the blue slipper, the navy slipper, the pinching, the brown belt, the name calling, the black belt, the navy slipper, the water-filled bucket, the backhand clap…the variation was amazing. So, when I finished my studies and God blessed me with a permanent job while studying, I knew something was up. I just did not know what. Little did I know that I would start speaking up. Not for me, but for other people. I did this a lot. It felt, oh so good! I didn’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop. That’s until recently…about three lectures ago…

We were told to respond to “The state of education in South Africa is of nationwide concern – and so it should be. When almost 80% of grade five learners are judged to be at “serious risk of not learning to read”, as measured by the international benchmarks, it is not an overstatement to say that South African education is in crisis..” Now, catch this, we’re supposed to respond in the form of a “TV style documentary”. For the past three weeks, I have witnessed great acting of a group of students in class who deserved at least 93%, animated docies that deserved 88% and these received a “class assessment” of far less than that. Well, this “class assessment” is basically individual students marking their peers after each presentation, an assigned group of students marking the presenters and the ultimate decision comes from the lecturer.

So, when a group of students almost received 88%, this morning after reading their PowerPoint presentation to us when the instructions clearly stated that this presentation should be TV style documentary, something just died within me. I could not believe that this person who is supposed to be in authority would disregard the very rules that were from his instructions. When queried about this, he states that it is because “they had a list of references”….ooooook… my posed question was/is “how are we supposed to be advocates of social justice in schools when it is not evident in our very class? what are we supposed to take as practising teachers to our schools, never mind what we’re currently supposed to think as students?”. There was no substantial response. None whatsoever. Oh yes, then there was “they’re a group of science students and do not have that skill”. What about the very first presenters who were scientists and acted out a powerful presentation, that had a list of references and answered the posed questions? He may have dropped the final mark to 80%, but I still remain unconvinced.

Growing up, I never aspired to:

  • be an advocate of social justice,
  • speak the truth, even if it makes me unpopular, but these things have become part of who I am and I accepted them. I cannot, knowingly, allow someone else go through what I went through.

Guyton (2000) states that “TeacherĀ education forĀ social justiceĀ developsĀ teachersĀ who are able to achieve social justiceĀ in their classrooms. Jennings, Crowell, and Fernlund (1994) described a classroom reflectingĀ social justiceĀ as one in which students have voice as well as equal access to resources and opportunities.” I cannot take someone else’s decision for them, but mine is to actively become a developed teacher who thrives on making sure that social justice exists in my classroom at all times. Decisions I make are not bias, when either speaking or marking my learners, may I remain true to my calling and not be clouded by favouritism and break a future adult at the same time.

Won’t you please feel free to share your thoughts and views on social justice in the classroom. It could be things you’re personally experienced or just what you have seen happening to someone else.

Many thanks for reading.

Guyton, E. (2000). Social Justice in Education.Ā The Education Forum, 64 (2). pp.108-114. doi:10.1080/00131720008984738

http://www.icytales.com/types-teachers-hate/

 

August 30th!

There’s nothing like spending your birthday knowing that God’s grace is upon you.

I know that I share this special day with my friend and brother;Ā https://www.instagram.com/kareemgrimes/?hl=en and I just hope and pray that he too is blessed beyond measure in yet another season that Father God has granted us with.

My Grade 11s sang to me when I least expected it. Then there was the Aero chocolate, wrist accessory and chocolate doughnut from my mentor ;)… I indulged in that doughnut like it was the last one on earth. And one of the Grade 12s walked in while I was secretly dancing to the tunes it made in my mouth…yum

Then finally, Visual Art classes came. I am so looking forward to seeing the portraits of the Grades 10 & 11. Wait, this is supposed to be about me and my birthday.

Came 12:00, and I had to shoot off to campus; back to student like…we had rugby to once again play. Did I feel like it today? Nope! But once I changed into my sports gear, I was in #beastmode. yeah!! I was praying that I don’t fall, and if I did…I don’t fall hard…then it happened…It started raining šŸ˜„ BUMMER!!!

So, what now? I guess it’s back to student life and just work on upcoming assignments. Right? Yeah… Gotta work towards getting that Teaching Degree if I wanna impact the youth šŸ˜‰

I’ve been listening to a lot of songs today…this morning my mentor put on her BethelMusic cd and well, she blessed me more than her super warm hugs and advice.

Let’s do this again next year… šŸ™‚

Women’s Day

There’s nothing much to say about this day, except that it’s Women’s Day and that I hope every woman has a blessed commemoration to this day.

I spent the day working on a lesson plan for my visual art class. I helped my son with his Afrikaans and Social Science homeworks. So, there was not much rest on this public holiday…not for me. But then again, Women’s Day is not about rest, right? I think Women’s Day is not celebrated daily, though we’re women daily…so today is a reminder to being the best woman one can be on a daily basis.

Back to Student life…

Monday was back to varsity…so, it was yay and nay. In a lecture hall that’s normally filled with 105 students, we were about quarter of that number. I never even realised that we were such a large group…blame it on sitting in the front row. I was super excited, I felt like “I got this”.

First lecture, new semester and new lecturer…ten minutes into his introduction, I realised “uh-oh we’re in trouble”. So, two hours later we had formed groups for an assignment that’s due in August, 28th, elected his little helper and were told of November exams…and got a tiny bit annoyed and it was not even 9 o’clock yet.Ā homework

Last lecture of the day…well, I’d received homework; research two Educational Theorists that speak to me. Forget about Gibbs & his Reflective Cycle, no matter how much he

 

speaks or sings to me…someone underrated has to speak to me. Well, I can’t really talk about who I found because some of my peers visit my blog every now and then. That’ll be called cheating or even worse, showing them my homework and they submit theirs before mineĀ cry

Let me talk about today šŸ™‚ I was so nervous because I have sport. One of my modules is Team Sport (Soccer, Rugby & Netball). So, I didn’t know what was in store for me…for everyone who chose Team Sport instead of other sport codes. Anyways, the first session was running a zigzag line in the filed…LOVED it! Second & last session was

heart

practicals… D-R-I-L-L-S! I couldn’t believe just how those reminded me of my high school days. Well, I played soccer. Yes, I did and I loved it. Back to today, it was different; both genders were on field and it was quite amusing watching students being careful not to mess their hairstyles or mess their nails. It was the funniest thing ever, I honestly did not think such behaviour is witnessed outside the TV screens. I am looking forward to next Wednesday and see what happens. I couldn’t help but wonder about my involvement in my host high school’s soccer team next term, when they return from recess. Before we get to Wednesday or high school’s next term, let’s get through Friday first. I understand that there’s a class presentation and some assignments are being returned…o well, let’s wait and see.

 

Wait for me…

I’ve never heard of this man, ever! until I listened to this song a while back. I think I was watching “Wait for Me” by Rebecca St. James on youtube and this was next in line??

I thought I’d share it without you. I am not sure what it meant for me, or what it’ll mean for you…but to be honest, I played it while writing another assignment…student life! and when I clicked on the tab to see what was happening in the video, the couple was writing letters to each other šŸ™‚

It doesn’t take so much to get my attention, but hey, I love handwritten notes & letters. There’s a certain emotion they resonate within šŸ™‚

This Student on exams…

I am not too sure why the thought of exams freaked me out…maybe it’s because I have not written exams in years. I tell you, my body broke down; literally – pimples, boils, twitching legs, sleepless nights…the whole nine yards.

Prior to the exams was the Creative Arts and Visual Art Journals that needed to be handed in for marking. Surely, I had all the paperwork with me; the written notes, handouts, printouts, referral artworks, department of Education documents, and yet I still panicked. I am not sure what freaked me out, realising that in a few days time I would be marked by my Visual Art/Creative Arts Mentor or by both my major teaching methods lecturers or maybe just that I knew that exams were around the corner. Funny enough I found myself having one of the best experiences of my life at my host school. The nitty-gritty of high school; the diverse personalities of the learners…

exam overwhelmed.jpg

I visited the doctor 3 times in a space of two weeks. He wasn’t impressed, at all. Maybe I should have gone to a doctor who does not know my history, because my GP just let rip. He made me write down what I’d been doing AND eating weeks before, and on another consultation he made me write a letter to myself. He’s amazing though.

Lesson learned: I need to rest, take it easy and just remember to take my own advise “listen to your body”.

exam stress

But on the real now, we need to revise the form of assessments we have. I look at high scholars and the number of subjects they have to study for in preparation for exams, in such a short amount of time. There is so much work to cover, so much work to study and yes some can manage…what about the learners who cannot manage? Sometimes it is not because they are not studying or even doing their homework or revisions, the work overwhelms them? What are we doing to help those learners? Are we actually doing something, if anything, to help them?

Dear No One

I’d be walking along the street, cooking or doing something that would trigger an effect that would set a certain effect and this song would be echoing in the background of what I’m doing…and we’re taught that real-life has no background music huh!

This is my soundtrack though.

“I don’t really like big crowds, I tend to shut people out. I like my space yeah, but I’d love to have a soulmate and God’ll give him to me some day and I know it’ll be worth the wait…”

As much as I love it, I must say that I tend to feel that it’s revealing a lot about me that I’d like to remain in my world.

It still remains my soundtrack, I guess until my “no one” surfaces…

possible