Letter to my baby sis!

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 🙂

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 the 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,

Zami heart

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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 😉

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 “Teacher education for social justice develops teachers who are able to achieve social justice in their classrooms. Jennings, Crowell, and Fernlund (1994) described a classroom reflecting social justice 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. 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; 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 😥 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 😉

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… 🙂

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.

Peace

In the past few days I’ve been wondering about this word…peace… Just what does it truly mean? Yes, I’ve seen the two-fingers gestures and am not entirely convinced that all those who flash it really know what it means or even mean it.

Peace Defined

According to Collins Concise Dictionary it is “a state of stillness, silence or serenity.” (2004:1102). I love that word; serenity. Is that truly what peace means?

I asked my son for his definition and he says “to be calm” and “not to have violence”.

When you go thru the New Testament, it is so amazing how the Apostle Paul emphasizes on “peace” in his letters. I chose him because he hold a dear place in my life. It shows that peace is quite vital in one’s life. I mean when we’re alone, far away from the day-to-day noise; thoughts, busy schedules and all; we find a way to this quiet place…to this peace that just isn’t swayed by frivolous things that tend to steal this peace from us.

So, all in all peace is reaching a certain confidence in quietness within, where there is great stillness and no noise (violence)…

Stolen Peace

It is so ironic that just when I was searching for the true meaning of this word, I have had to face circumstances that “rattled my cage” – in the words of my dearest friends, Wild. I think it took almost 7 days to acknowledge that this was happening. I won’t bore you with the long details of what took place, but when I started pondering on the same thing over and over, I knew something what down… Anyways, one may wonder why it took such a long time. Well, I’m in my 30’s and have been looking forward to my 40’s since the day I turned 30. In the process of being excited of my 40th birthday, I have learned to dismiss every opinion that come from those who don’t hold a title in my heart or life. Some have labelled this as cruel, but hey, it’s how I have come to be at “peace”. If you are irrelevant in my life and you share your perception of me, it don’t matter to me. It’s almost like that one ant that you cross paths with in your kitchen and doesn’t influence you in any way. That one “oh well” type of moments.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am one of the most passionate persons I know. I love people. In fact, I love too much, and in order for my love not to be misdirected; I choose whose influence to accept in my life and whose influence not to accept.

So, what have I learned this past week regarding this word? I have learned that we all seek it at the end of the day. Some of us do dubious things to get to that “peaceful” place, and some of us meditate…well, at the moment I am listening to Loyiso Bala’s Kingdom Come album…well, frankly I have listened to it everyday since I bought it a few months ago. (currently playing is Jesus Speaks… I’m not advertising but hey, get it on iTunes… https://t.co/la4BRmRuYm)

Jesus Speaks

“we will be synchronized, keep you wrapped in my embrace.

I’ll take you to paradise, yes I’ll take your restless place;

where I’ll be yours and you will be mine;

and forever you’ll shine and when you call I won’t let you fall..” Now, to me, these words imply a definite peace.

I am

This proves that not every woman has the crab disease…real women are about love, impact and growth.

Thoughts and Perceptions

I am
A sister, mother, daughter, wife
Thanks to my roots
And the branches that gave me fruits
I have been sucking a sweet nutritious nectar from the one who birthed me
The rand has not been a factor
The air I breathed has had a toxic mix
But through her my blood has served as ventilators
And cleared the darkness

I am
A woman
Thanks to my sisters
And the unending love that gave me truths In a time of pretence, back stabbing and lies
I have learned to have faith through ties
That help heal the soul when deception flies To cries that eventually die

I am
A river
Flowing through streams
Like red running through our veins
Thanks to these women
Who have raised me up when I needed a lift
Not because I asked! Because they felt
Prayed with me and for me Giving without seeking…

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Don’t Tear Down. Build Up.

Yesterday I looked at one of my dearest friends, let’s call him H’mm, and how he is as an individual. There are so many things I could say about him that just aren’t right; from the little big lies he tells while looking me straight in the eye to cursing like a sailor. So, as I was walking for about an hour or so, it dawned to me that we’re most of the times total opposites and this draws us even closer as friends. What started as little whispers ended up being prayers…yes, while I was still walking. Alone. In the middle of the street. As I was praying out loud that he doesn’t need me to point out his wrongs. I think the words were “Lord he’s Your child. I can’t do this anymore. I’m so exhausted. I stand on Your Word when you promised that You will bring the blind by a way they don’t know. You will lead them in paths they have not known. You will make darkness light before them and crooked places straight. You said it Lord. You did, and I know that You are not man that You should lie. You say these things You will do for them and not forsake them – H’mm included.”. I tell you I was so close to tearing up right there in the middle of the road because I have come to realise that some friendships are more precious than others and I tend to forget to remember that each person decides to live the way that they choose, regardless if I like it or not. (by the way, that verse is Isaiah 42:16)

I was so frustrated and so exhausted; saying the same things to H’mm over and over. It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t show up to work some days, not because he’s hungover but because he is frustrated of where he is in life. It wasn’t and isn’t my place to scold him. He’s a grown man. To continually tell him to stop this nonsense is no longer my business, not even as a friend. Yes, it bugs me so much to keep repeating myself to him. And to hear him all defensive and pull away over and  over again, of course there’s that tagline I despise “I know what I did was wrong. I don’t know what’s wrong with me”. (I always picture a sucker punch right there & watch him lay unconscious until he figures out what’s wrong with him). I can fill a legal pad or more on what he does that just do injustice to his talent, that continually taint his character and all.But now, I won’t do any of that anymore. No more calling him out. I’m putting away my lime highlighter, and no longer will I move it over each and every error I think he has. That’s not the kind of love I want to receive either…not when I am not ready to fill whatever void I may or may not find missing…

So here goes, this is who he is
He is one of the most intelligent people I know.
He is funny, with the craziest sense of humour. Comes to think of it, he has a very crazy laugh too… I can hear it echo in this space right now, and it just brings goosebumps to my entire body and make me smile 🙂
He is very talented, creative and innovative… whoever said “think outside the box”…well, that box, H’mm has no idea what it is. His talent is limitless.
He is an academic…humble one, you’d never ever hear him mention his academic achievements…Cum Laude or Masters Degree 🙂
He is a son. A brother. An uncle. A father. A dad. A husband…:) he has no idea yet 🙂 – this revelation is yet to come 🙂
He is a protector…well, I’m not just literally meaning that. Though I see traces of a fighter in his character and past. Let alone that he says I tame him… yeah (✿◠‿◠)
He’s a true friend. He grounds me, and is probably the only person who acknowledges my nonsense and doesn’t entertain it. I’ve never met a man who isn’t afraid to take me on like that. I love that about him. Maybe we do that for/to each other  we discovered this song & individually decided it’s our song, when we were miles apart. Coldplay’s Fix You   (◡‿◡✿)    He is very much handy and I appreciate that about him. He fights against injustice. That moves me.
I just remembered…he has one of the most oddest handwritings I have ever seen…there’s something artistic about it. It’s almost as if he’s dancing and drawing at the same time.
He’s an amazing Artist… Graphic Designer… Printmaker… Art Administrator…Cartoonist… mostly, he’s an Artist!
He is a visionary, has great zeal and passion for things people tend to take for granted. He’s a child of God… He may still have trouble embracing that, but I know that all miracles I’ve asked for have come to pass. (so there!)
He’s an adviser… encourager too , even when I don’t wanna hear it. He just lays it there for me, even at times when I don’t want to hear it, and yet need it the most…

Beachville

Waves were so rough that afternoon, and yet he eased me and managed to take a pic that didn’t show my pounding heart. He kept on reminding me to flash a smile (✿◠‿◠)

He’s a leader. He’s not afraid to remain true to the truth, regardless of how many “friends” he may lose. That moves me because it shows true character and genuine. He’s my friend, one of my best friends ever and I just love him so much and hope that he understands that those defensive walls and heart of stone he tends to throw up to my face, well 🙂 I know how to tear them down 🙂 And yes! I’ma love him to life – the next life too!