The difference between a teenage girl and boy is certainly not maturity

Dear Student

Recently, a few things have come to my attention… a lot of people think teaching involves marking tests and drinking tea in the staffroom. The way I see it, it is more like a reality tv show (everyone you are watching is going about their business pretending to be whatever version of pop culture has morphed that week).

Firstly, it seems a teenager’s trustest nature seems to come out when it seems no one is watching and of course, this seems extremely obvious. However the ‘reality’ is one is being watched all the time! This is funniest when a Grade 8 boy and girl kiss and actually get caught. Now, the first question I ask is – “Why on earth would one choose to do such AT SCHOOL?”

Secondly, this business of dating… this has to be the trickest business to deal especially because it is inevitable. Even I had a boyfriend or three in high school but I was clearly playing in the minor leagues. It is like teenagers are reading out of Kim Kardashian’s handbook these days – quite frankly, schools are becoming a place many parents simply cannot imagine.

Lastly, you can say… “hey, it was just like that when I was in school…” but I beg to differ… I remember always saying to guys that girls are more mature therefore we know better like how to keep our business to ourselves! There are not enough Steve Harvey books to save this generation (probably because reading is like Chinese torture to most teenagers, yes including girls). There is not one difference between teenage boys and girls – NOT ONE!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twerking, Electric cigarettes and ‘Anaconda’ by Nicki Minaj are taking over the world… which is fine! Every single person is linked to these trends in some sort of way!

The difference is that the generation that can say ‘girls are more mature boys’ is the one that ¬†knows how to spell, finish a novel, respects an elder that walks into a room and is still so afraid of their parents, they would never get busted having sex on a school playground.

Think about it and if you need to, talktoteacher!

Run your Race!

Dear Student

It has been a while… isn’t that what people say after the ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’ moments are over but then realize there isn’t anything else to say.

Well I have quite a lot on my mind! When I was still a teenager, navigating through the maze of popularity and rejection, my mother once told me, “There will always be someone faster than you in life. Just remember that you, too, will always have people behind you in the race of life.”

Several tragedies have taken place in my life in 2014 but so has some of the best moments. I got engaged to an incredible and equally infuriating man, I get to work 150 teenagers who are able to make me laugh as hard as they make me yell and I am blessed with a family whose only concern is my safety and happiness.

Now on the flip-side, my biological father passed on a month before my 25th birthday. I had never met the man nor had I heard the sound of his voice. It was completely devastating. I crumbled in my mother’s arms like a toddler. Begging the question ‘why’ as if she was transcendant enough to answer me with certainty.

I have previously written about equilibrium. I wonder, am I truly finding balance? Is the pendulum that is my life becoming stable in light of all these events? Have I learnt the lesson that is clearly being taught to me right now?

I really do not have all the answers but I do know, yesterday when my car got stolen while I was blissfully unaware waiting for an order at a restuarant… in this race of life, when I think I am losing, all I think about arethe people who were more concerned with my well-being like my fiance, my mother, my step-father and my aunt.

I am a winner everyday because I am loved. There is nothing material in this world that can replace that! I am a winner because the people that are running behind do so because they see it fit to be my protectors.

Run your race no matter what and if you need to talktoteacher!

Equilibruim – true contentment

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Dear student

Have your felt like such a failure that it’s almost as if no matter how hard you try, it will never be good enough? It is difficult to avoid comparing yourself to the next person without feeling inferior or superior. One thing we need to bare in mind is that we are all writing our own story.

I believe life is about balance. I look in eyes that lead to teenage souls almost everyday and I can see the imbalance that is growing. Happiness and sadness are antonyms. In order to have balance, it is important to accept both these feelings. The balance that one must strive for is being content. That is when one’s book of life will truly make.

For instance, I experienced the loss of my biological father this past weekend! It was a devastating time for me. Firstly, the first time I saw him in the flesh was when he lay peacefully in his coffin. Secondly, the pain that consumed my mother when she broke the news to me – in all my life, I believe she carried more hurt than I ever realized. Lastly, there is something about the truth that is like eating a grapefruit. It is bitter to swallow and you know the positive effects it will have on you at a much later stage!

I discovered that 25 years ago, my biological parents shared a bound that was so beautiful – I am proud to have been their seed. Unfortunately, the injustices of life proved more powrrful than they could both conquer at the time. I thought growing up without knowing my father made me a stronger person but now I realize my strength lies in that he wanted me to have a life that he knew he ciuld not provide for me.

I think what hurts the most is that I thought I had time… we make plans but what happened to me is a reminder to me that we must do what makes us happy. Living in another’s shadow helps no one. Regrets are prey to feelings of guilt, you should avoid that!

I found balance when I accepted that my loss may have made me sad, but the closure broughtvme joy! I reached equilibruim and that is all we should strive for!

So if you need to, talk to teacher!

Show me yours and I’ll show you mine

Dear Student

Innocence is such a beautiful and pure thing! Freud calls it “penis envy” but to me, it’s just unadulterated curiosity. In this world, we are supposed to be equal but the reality is that: we have never been equal; we are not equal and we will never be equal!

I think inequality is a good thing… it prevents people from being complacent. It fuels the desire to fight to survive. I don’t think equality is Affirmative Action nor B.E.E. Quite frankly, it is selling dreams. Society complains about a lazy youth but truth be told, this laziness stems from something deeper than addiction to texting. The youth needs to know that their achievements will be accredited to merit.

Innocence is made sour by the false recognition of one’s achievements. Former model C schools must admit a certain percentage of black learners but what about the schools that are solely populated by black learners? Is there no percentage of white learners required to balance this idea of equality? The national soccer team hardly has a significant number of white players yet I don’t see the Minister of Sport crying foul.

I am just ashamed that we put gender and race before merit. An innocent child will compete because all he knows is that his ability is his greatest gift. An experienced child will use the flaws in society’s perception of “righting the wrongs of the past” to promote their born-free status.

We are better than that! So show me how good you are and I will show you that you can be better….

So if you need to, talktoteacher!

Your colleagues will never be your Friends!

Dear Student

There are 3 things I love most and equally: my fiance, my family and my job. I mentioned in my first post that love is synonymous with disappointment. It’s something I experienced for many years growing up but now that I am a fully fledged member of the workforce, I saw the ability of people to make a person feel like less than what he/she is.¬†

I am an English teacher and I reckon, I’m a rather good one. Teaching is more than just marking books and drinking tea. You learn over 200 names every year of children who will walk into your classroom and expect you to construct knowledge in their minds that will help them survive the cut-throat nature of post-school life. You need to be able to explain the grammatical structure of an adverbial clause to one class and what a noun is to another in one day. Somehow to know the answers to questions that you had never truly expected. Teaching is more than a calling, it is a gift!

I have known that I was born to do it before I was done with high school. I am glad I followed my dream. However what I did not expect is that even in the community of teachers I reside in, my dream turned swiftly into a nightmare. Most people believe that high school would be awful to teach but truth be told, the kids aren’t a problem if you know what you are doing.

It was my colleague, someone I trusted who proved to be that even I could doubt my capabilities! When I confided with a teacher whose years of experience dripped from her voice said to me that your colleagues will never be your friends, I must say I was truly hurt.

I want to believe in the good people but if I want to protect my own heart, I realize that I can’t always do this.

One day, you will be on a journey to greatness and people will try their damnest to pull you down with criticism and judgment. DO NOT LET THEM! In the words of Marianne Williamson, “Your deepest fear is not that you are inadequate. Your deepest fear is that you are powerful beyond measure.” No ones judgment of how you do things should keep you from fulfilling your life’s purpose, no mattter what your career choice is.

So if you need to, talktoteacher!

Judgment Day for African Youth

Dear Student

There isn’t a day that goes by that you are not being judged. Even if you feel like you are the wilting flower that no one waters, the mere fact that you are in existence means you will be noticed.

Society has positioned us in such a way that we make judgment calls based on stereotypes and misconceptions. If you see a multiracial couple in Europe you think it’s so normal, advanced and sometimes even intriguing. However if you see a multiracial couple in Africa, well, then for some reason it becomes an analysis. My point is, Africans don’t seem fond of the behaviour and choices of other Africans.

The reality is the government of the country (South Africa) you inhabit feels it is appropriate to put a hold on international sport because our sports teams aren’t fielding what it believes is a deserving percentage of black sportsmen. This is the very same government that doesn’t understand that by perpetuating these quota systems, we are humiliating the very nature of being black, being gendered, being blessed with the capacity to acknowledge that Africans are not stupid.

The truth is, there is no such thing as equality. It is the most abstract of nouns if ever there was one. You hear of bring a “girlchild to work” day but I have yet to hear about bringing a boychild to work day. I am all for empowering women in the workplace but why must it be in line with neglecting our future men? The same men that we expect to respect these same women who were given opportunities that they were deprived of. This is what our democracy brings us.

As the youth, you deserve better. As a parent of the youth, your child deserves better and I, as a teacher of the youth, believes that as Africans we need to do better.

I want a world in which the future generations are given equal opportunities and given achievements based on merit, not the colour of their skin or their gender. I hope you want that too!

So if you need to, talktoteacher!

Actions make Words speak louder

Dear student

I have discovered why disappoint is more heavy-handed than anger. I think we confuse these two emotions, which leads to a rather unfortunate sequence of events.

They say ‘actions speak louder than words’ but I say ‘actions make words speak louder’. For instance, I’m puzzled by the reality that honesty can lead to the person who loves you most being disappointed in you but if you lie, then that leads to anger. Now we cannot live in word in which we do not speak or act at all but if these words and actions torment our souls, how are we meant to survive as rational, stable adults?

As I said, disappointment is more heavy-handed than anger because it stems from a place of shock and fear. I guess that is pretty obvious. However where does this fear and shock stem from? All things have a root and that root is love. I believe love is the root to all disappointments. If you think you have truly loved, then how many people have disappointed you? Be honest, which one of them did not have refuge in the garden that is your heart.

Anger is different in the sense that it is a weed. If you have your emotions, if you are handled with care then those weeds can be eliminated and as long as you keep in mind the sources from where (who) this ‘weed’ grows… well I reckon that anger is a lot less resilient than the tree of disappointment that grows everytime you shed a tear to water it.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic, I only seek to make you aware of the realities of life.

So if you need to, talktoteacher!