Saturday, 21 January 2017

Hoomanising hoomans

I was talking to a friend over banana leaf rice (getting in shape for Christmas) about how our ages were getting closer to the third decade, and how I felt like an underachieving piece of ..Plasticine (because plasticine has potential). We went home, and I thought about the year, and what it had taught me.

Lesson 1
Breaking down in public.

I've broken down in the classroom more times last year than when I first arrived at school. Each experience  unique, whether it was a quiver in my voice, or tears welling up or yelling at them through wretched ragged sobs, I've categorised them all as breakdowns; big or small.

The question is 'Is this an unmistakable sign of weakness?', a teaching faux pas? Are we forbidden to do so? Am I the only exception to the rule, "It's okay to cry sometimes"?

While showing emotion is so often negatively translated as being delicate, frail, powerless and feeble,   I believe it should be embraced as being fearlessly, courageously vulnerable. I believe being vulnerable is exposing yourself  to criticism or judgement but with the aim to achieve a deeper connection and understanding.

Having said that, I must stress, that  did not do it with an ulterior purpose. My voice may have quivered just because, at that point, I couldn't expertly handle the situation and I believe it is perfectly alright, that in those few seconds, they got a glimpse of the feeling and emotional person I am underneath all the Verbs, Nouns and adjectives I preach every day. Soon one's breaking point will cease to be a breaking point anymore. One will learn to reprove students in a meaningful way, to admonish artfully.

The subject of vulnerability, is often discussed in terms of a relationship, or potential partner but what about looking at it through a different lens. As a relatively new teacher I was always told from the get go, to build an emotional wall and never let students see that you are scared, that you are hurt, that you feel confused or amused because that was giving them a psychological upper hand. But in all seriousness, how then, would they know that we were human and not robots. Instead of a psychological upper hand what if they were merely making connections, understanding and feeling compassion, closeness, brotherhood and belonging. What if seeing their teacher tear up stirred a sense of remorse and compassion? was that such a cringe-worthy effect?

By all means, I'm not saying I bawl on every stressful classroom experience, you too will soon be able to withstand greater challenges, but I refrain from advocating the NO EMOTION rule. I believe it grinds us into unfeeling moulds, that we force onto our students, who in turn learn never to share problems, never to admit defeat, never to show sadness.

I'm still on the road of self discovery, and the road is a long, winding and well worn path.

The Art of Saying No

Hello reader, How is your weekend going? Off hiking? Building an arm chair? Travelling to New Zealand? Food hunting? Good for you!

My ideal weekend involves actively doing nothing, in my room, with Spotify turned up, some form of junkfood, (and if my internet is being nice) a movie.  Nothing tops this. So if I am out and about on a friday and/or Saturday, its either obligation or a case of me not being able to say no.

Saying no is extremely hard for some, and an especially arduous task for me. It is NOT because I have a heart of gold; neither does saying YES give me a deep sense of fulfilment. I say yes, because the alternative seems like a socially gargantuan task. 

What my brain is thinking : 

"No, I don't feel like it"
"No, I'd rather not"
"No way, I'd spend my afternoon doing that"
"Hell no!"

What my mouth says:

"oh OKay"
"yea sure"
"yea can"
"yes Im okay with that"
"yay, sounds like a plan"

So at the end of the day, I’m left with nothing but a shitty sense of you-tricked-me.


A few times, my brain wins! And I end up declining an offer to hang out. But then I do this absurd thing where I try to make up for meet ups I’m unable to/ don't want to attend... and...sigh.   Let me illustrate, 
In the picture above, I have very expertly dodged a lunch. Alas, somehow I end up planning a raincheck meet up, and  even recommending a place! ARgH!!!

This has occurred an uncountable number of times! 

But the real question is, "why can't I say no"??

1. Too concerned with what people think 
People talk, they come to conclusions, and they infer from situations, I do it all the time. So I get really nervous about what people would think of me if I were to reject an invite. 

I wonder if anyone out there feels remotely the same. 

Having said all this, I do enjoy going out sometimes. Not a total weirdo. Hanging out with yourself doesn't allow for much conversation. 

So if anyone is struggling with this predicament, just remember, you are not alone. We'll figure it out soon enough.