Mindfulness as a form of Self-Therapy
I’ve been on a quest since Junior College trying to find answers to life. As if a young women would go against the norms and question the very meaning of her being . A philosophical question was posed. What if there was no God? This went against everything I had been taught. My father, a Methodist Minister was who I admired. All we four siblings ever knew were the teachings of the Bible.
All that was about to change when at twenty-one I would have it my way. I put on the back burner everything I was taught, including the teachings of the Bible. Furthermore it never made any sense to me. This began my questioning of the rules made by the ruling class. I looked under rocks, swam across the vast ocean, stood on a cliff and jumped, knowing there was a bottom, but not knowing when I would land.
I was running on automatic pilot. As if there was a being inside of me pushing all the buttons, kicking down the door, running at high speed. From the outside I looked like junkie looking for the next fix, an addiction that would never be filled, trying to feed a hunger, not giving my life what it truly desired, feeling like there was this big question and I had to find the answers.
I would never stop hitting a brick wall. When I did, I would retrace my steps, make a slight detour and move on. Not standing still for too long. Knowing very well water become polluted if it is not flowing. I was like a sailor taking on the challenge to cross the vast ocean to get to the other side. Not knowing where I would land. The sheer excitement of the voyage was what I was after. I found that and more, such has been the essence of my life.
Always wanting to be accepted, but never did I find the refuge in the heart of the other. In the past this troubled me. I would implode and make the same choice. Knowledge is what I devoured trying to find myself. I have come to the conclusion that I had better love and accept myself. Love whom I have become, appreciate the decisions I made, glance over my shoulders and move on.
I have been a tiny spark that grew into a mighty flame, burning a pathway to happiness. A passion inside of me for answers to the meaning of my life. I am worthy I accept this as fact.
The position of the educator/mother as feminine leader and sovereign obliges you to act in an ethical manner. Not only do women mother and teach, but you also have the moral responsibility to sustain the continuity of human life. As mother/educator, you impose the social norms and values both through formal and informal education.
The Current Focus in Education
The emphasis on testing and learning the ABC’s has pushed to the rear more important courses that young people need to learn. Examination of facts and numbers have shaped the culture in schools. This has led to a decline in the purpose of education and of human life.
Grades and Self-Esteem
Just recently a study was conducted on the correlation between student grades and self-esteem. It was found that a student’s self-esteem is tied to the grades she or he makes. Thus, student’s self-worth becomes measured by a test. A test which oftentimes is biases towards white.
Cultural Images for Children and Society
In the role of cultural keeper, women teach young people how to behave socially in everyday life. In the past the role of mother/educator has been used by the state and women have been willing partners in maintaining the status quo. I want to challenge you to become a believer in young people. Ensuring that their interest and needs come before the demands of the state.
I had the opportunity to work with a teacher in Florida. I was a Para-professional. I thought I would be a teaching partner, but instead I was a teacher assistant. Roles sometimes become blurred in the classroom.
Granted I am a seasoned teacher and could have provided valuable support to the teacher. I was not utilized as a support but used as someone who carried out the demands of the teacher.
She once told me to run a personal errand for her. I would have, but it was the attitude of this teacher that I could not bear. She once told her students, “if I tell you to walk around the table three times, no matter how ridiculous it may be, just do it.”
Schools Have Become Unsafe
In the elementary school where I taught, fighting was a normal thing. There was violence and bullying, disrespect and fights. School was an extension of the neighborhood children came from. Instead of teachers and the administration shaping the culture in school. It was students who shaped the disruptive climate in the classroom and made it impossible for them to learn.
The days of blind obedience to authority is over. The teacher isn’t always right. Just because of your position you do not have inevitable rights. The teacher must utilize moral guidance when she relates not only with students, but other adults in her classroom.
A Means of Control
Unfortunate, most teachers are on a control trip. In my twenty years in education there were few peers that I could relate to. Most teacher used teaching to an end. Which was a way to exercise personal power and to dominate the lives of children. This is the one problem I see with education that does an enormous disservice to both young people and the world.
Change the Purpose for Educating Young People
Even though the society that we live in set the standards, women have the power to impart the lessons that are valuable for the full development of young people. In education and as your child’s first teacher you can transform learning into a process of empowerment. A style of coaching that inspires a new generation of young people who want to change the world.
A Heart to Heart Exchange
It is the art of teaching that touches the heart of young people. It is more than a mere passing along of useless facts. You can create the environment that becomes the perfect place to practice democracy. Regrettably, it is only taught, but not actually lived.
When you teach with your whole self-young people get the best of you. Oftentimes because of the nature of teaching, most teachers are stressed. There is a tremendous demand of your time. In addition, parents want you to teach their child and give her the best. Lastly, the city and state want you to produce loyal subjects who can pass a test and not question, but only follow the orders that are given to them.
Teacher Professionalism Integrates Moral Purpose.
There are plenty of opportunities for professional development for teachers within education. Most teacher, in addition to earning a degree can have letters and citations added to their name. This does well for professionalism, but there is a need for personal development.
Personal Development is not offered in educational training. Schools and universities have steered away from the morality of teaching. Oftentimes confusing it with religion values. One’s religion is personal, but on the other hand, there are universal values that we all can ascribe to, such as honesty, integrity and compassion. These values are left out of teacher development schools. I want to propose that teachers seek out Personal Development independently of a formal education.
Personal Purpose are Fundamental to the Future of Society.
A moral purpose keeps mother/educator of children close to the needs of children and youth. A moral purpose for education is key to changing the course of the world. Currently our world is on a trajectory headed toward the edge of a cliff. We educator/mother of children must impart to young people a desire to do good and find meaning and purpose in life.
Morality is also Core to Educational Renewal
You are central to the direction the world will take for the next one hundred years. When can find meaning and purpose and disengage from the state you become an Agent of Change.
Creating a Culture that Empowers Young People
Culture is created in schools and in the home. In the way we women allow young people the freedom to be themselves. It is how we interact with children that must be changed if we want to change the world. Oftentimes we want young people to conform which puts the woman in charge. We want control. This does not go as planned and young people rebel.
Children’s violence and disrespect reflect the decline of the purpose of education and human life. I propose that the learning environment becomes one of sharing. Both the teacher and student, parent and child learn, develop and grow. It becomes a shared partnership. Where each one has something to give and share.
“Education is the most important task, because it prepares children to become future leaders.”
PROBLEMS FACING EDUCATORS in Education:
(This conduit called education carries everyone through life.)
I know you struggle with discipline in your students and a lack of respect for the teaching profession. I have been on the inside of education looking out. Now I am on the outside looking in. From a detached perspective, I offer another model for feminine leadership. A vision that reveals how women in education are being used by the corporate state and why it is imperative for the future that you become a participant in your own liberation.
Graduating from High School was a small endeavor, but I wanted more. So, I enrolled in college because unconsciously I knew it was the next thing to do. First in junior college then off to the university, still searching for meaning and a way to find a measure of peace. Sitting in a counseling class, I was caught in the grips of despair because the root of my problems had surfaced only to go underground again. It would be many years later before they would resurface again long enough for me to heal.
As I look back on my life I see how I was primed to be an educator. I was a child of the 60’s. I grew up in a time when being black was a source of pride. A child who believed in adults and the world she grew up in. I loved education and found success and a measure of ease. Unfortunately, I found myself trapped in the world of learning looking for meaning and purpose, finding no release so I continued this unending search until it guided me to find the meaning of my being.
Education discovered me. I embraced the idea that I was an educator. Stepping through the door as a teacher would be how I would relate to the world. Children would come to my class and be changed by learning. They would open themselves up to the wonders of discovery.
A few years later I attended an educational conference. The underlying theme was the idea that the educator was the central figure who would transform the world. I was excited and impelled to go back to my school. Later I fully embraced it as my mission to transform the world through my work with children. Little did I know that it was me who needed to change. I grew to understand the link between and society and school and where the transformation was to take place.
Value of the Educator
It is my belief that the educator is the single most important person in education. We are on the front lines, in the trenches, working diligently every day to educate children. It is an overwhelming responsibility to educate the next generation, but an awesome honor to the touch the life of a child. To ignite a spark and help a child navigate through life. To see the glow in her eyes when she learned to read when she has figured out a difficult math problem. To watch a flower open and bloom and the wonderful aroma and colors brighten the room.
Teaching was the next best thing to being a lifelong student. The very nature of education is growth. Graduating from college most think they have arrived at a place of successes. Unfortunately, we as educators must continue to grow. A possible reason why education is on the decline is that we as adults have stopped growing.
In all sunshine, there is a little dark. I soon become disillusioned as I saw through education. I was the teacher. Testing is what education was all about. I did not find the comraderies with teachers or principal at my school. I had to change my classroom many times, looking for a place to be a peace.
In the classroom, children constantly challenged me. Defiance was the order of the day. Students came to school unprepared to adapt to an alien culture they were thrust into.
During my ten years teaching in Kentucky I watched as new teachers, including myself, got lost in the shuffle to remake education. There were hostile school takeovers and lost respect for education that sent most teacher on a fast track to burn-out. I soon became disenchanted and no longer wanting to play the game. So, I decided that I needed to leave the very thing I had come to value.
The Status Quo
Female educators are the carriers of culture. We women pass on this unspoken code to children in our care. What are we passing on to children? A soul-less culture that wants to maintain the status quo. That idea has outlived its’ usefulness. Now on the decline, it has become a totalitarian rule and a source of violence that has lulled children into. How can we create a culture that empowers children and helps them find a measure of success?
I could no longer be in a place that was not progressing, so I abandoned my source of income and started to wander. I moved away from the very thing I had become passionate about. I lived as a substitute teacher and a tutor, but not a moment of rest did I find. So, I continued to flow with the current that was my life. But like a shadow education followed me.
Unbeknownst to me, it was like the glue holding my life was coming undone. If I let go of my identity as a teacher who would I be? I left education in 2001 and drifted aimlessly for over fifteen years trying to discover who I was.
Pulsating in the background of my life was the idea that there was a secret to life that I did not know. I dug to the core of the earth to find what it could be. While questioning everyone and everything to be sure. I discovered it is through education that the elite maintains their stronghold on children and the world.
Also during 2001, it was like the floodgates of my emotions that had been locked inside opened and released. All the anguish and disappointments I had experienced found its way on the empty page. The writing was how I began to make sense of my life.
For the next few years, I bounced around with a few part-time jobs. A tutor at the community center, as an in-home tutoring, all the while writing poetry, trying to heal the hurt and figure out my next move.
The Next Move
The next move was to Florida to help my daughter with her children. It was a good mix, I helped with the children and I had found something else to throw myself into. While in Florida I found the internet. First Facebook then as a WordPress Blogger. My next venture was a poet on the world wide web. As a Word-press blogger, I found the platform upon which I sent my words. Facebook allowed me to tinker with video and visual images that portrayed the wisdom that was revealed to me as I continued to immerse myself in this new world of learning. All measure of life I explored, from Spirituality to Mindfulness to understanding the power of Creative Visualization.
Finding the Wide-World Web
This new-found stream of information opened me to another life that I needed to see. Viewing my thoughts from a distance, I saw how they had me in a perpetual prison, trapped in my own reality. Slowly the thoughts were like clouds floating by as I began to evolve beyond my own thoughts and an identity that kept me a prisoner to them. I realized that my thoughts are but one perspective in a field of many. Once I started to allow my thoughts to be and not totally believe in them this lead me to the center of my meaning and showed me how to extract a small grain of truth that opened a door for me.
No Longer a Prisoner of Thought
As I stepped outside of my thoughts, I saw them as the thoughts of my culture, my father, my mother, those who lived in my immediate vicinity. I started to cling less and less to the persona that I called my personality. I was free to be. I could understand my life and which way I need to go.
Meditation and quiet contemplation moved me to the next evolutionary shift that we humans must make. It is the only thing that will push up forward from this stuck-on rewind mode of educational reform.
I had to turn around and look directly at my life and see that I could transform myself and meet the challenge before me. It has been my mission to transform education ever since I entered the arena in 1992.
After leaving my fulltime job as an educator in 2001I began to see the slow decline in Democracy that we see on a national level. This loss of purpose is directly related to the decline of the educational function of schools as a guiding light.
True Educational Reform
Education was once a sacred undertaking. A ceaseless process of producing humanistic individuals and creating culture and peace. It is the most precious art of life. Schools were the site of learning about life and practicing democracy. This is no longer clear.
For so long, there has been too much emphasis placed on the cognitive elements in learning, and none on the internal life of the child. Administrators and teachers take for granted the dual personal and social nature of children. This has led to a disconnected culture.
The twenty-first century demands a change from feeling disconnected to embracing the interconnectedness of life which leads to a radical shift in society.
The current purpose of education is a mechanism that serves national objectives, be they political, militaristic, economic or ideological, casing children into a uniform mold.
The uniforms in schools are a physical sign that young person are being co-opted and used by the state. The current leadership in education at the national level wants children to be uniform in their thinking and pledge to the American flag. It is a system that fosters obedient imperial subjects that are used by the state.
True educational reform has been pushed out and replaced by high-stakes testing controlled by the corporate state. This deliberate dumbing down of the educational system has created a population of citizens devoid of critical thinking skills. Any educational reform that does not have at its’ heart the personal development of the educator will prove to be futile. School’s meaning has reached an impasse.
Thus, the need for a New Standard of Womanhood/Educator
To be a real force for change in the twenty-first-century educators must wrestle free from being an instrument used by the corporate state. What is essential is that you adopt an empowerment leadership style that empowers children and helps them create value with their life.
You are the deciding factor in the evolution of educators. You can elevate the status of education to be the golden pillar of life, society, and the future by taking on the challenge. We, women, are trained to be leaders in the classroom. We are the ones who have a direct influence on the lives of children and the power to transform lives.
Each child comes to school with a world they were born into. She must be respected as an individual and not treated as an empty vessel to be filled with meaningless facts.
The truth of the matter is, schools are a mirror reflection of society. Training grounds for real life. Unfortunately, the lack of discipline and disrespect for women not only happens in schools but in society as well. Women now occupy approximately 83% of teachers at the elementary level. We can shift the perspective and bring respect back to the teaching profession.
Schools are important for young people. It is where they exercise social competence, which is directly related to success in school and later in life. It is in the classroom where democracy is experienced. Students learn to become global citizens and trust. It is the last frontier for some children to learn valuable skills needed in life.
You want to be a hero for your students. Teaching is your Super Power. The classroom is a place to stretch your leadership muscle and take a leading role in transforming the lives of the children in your care.
Changing of the Guard
This moment in history something is shifting, but we cannot really understand. It is the changing of the guards. The old system is falling away and losing its’ usefulness. There must be another system erected to take its’ place.
This is the time to build a partnership culture with your students. They bring to the classroom a history and a life up to that point. You must respect them and meet them where they are and bring them along.
You are the leader that will lead the evolution in the teacher-student relationship. It will happen in your classroom every day as you go about your day, teaching and interacting with students. It will be in the way you embrace students as an equal partner in learning and changing the world.
When you walk into the classroom you become the guide and the facilitator. You ensure the content is presented. Just step back after it is offered and watch the children come alive. Let them dance with the information and make it their own. Allow them to fail. Honor their choices and encourage risk-taking. Lastly, make the lesson engaging filled with adventure and excitement.
You are the hero for children. The direct intermediator between them and the world. You become a surrogate mother, teacher, and counselor. I know you did not sign on for this tremendous responsibility, but it has been thrust upon you. You are needed to be a buffer between them and the state.
EDUCATION BECOMES A PROCESS OF LIBERATING, EMPOWERING AND SOCIALIZING CHILDREN.
You are the
The one that Empowers
A Renewed Sense of Purpose
The last leg of my journey has brought me full circle to the source of learning, the system that educates children. Public education is the medium through which I now direct my life.
I no longer run away from this awesome task. But now I look at it and see that it is possible to remake education into a system that empowers educators and children. I propose a value creation education pedagogy lead by you. Where the aim of teaching is to awaken student’s interests. Bring forth the inner life of the child, which is filled with joy and motivation. A happiness that comes from learning rather than being told what to think.
As you begin to change how you think and act. You view education through a different paradigm. This changes the culture in the classroom and your school. It becomes a transformed system from domination to a partnership culture. Education then becomes a joint effort between teacher and student, who both develop and grow.
I want to inspire you to be courageous and an advocate for each child that sits in your classroom and look up to you as a role model.
In the twenty-first century, schools are social intuitions, a place to socialize children, instead of teaching them to play the game and continue the status quo which has lead us to this defining moment in history.
You create culture every day. In how you talk with children and other adults in your school. It is paramount that teachers respect children as individuals, and observe students as they try various approaches always based on feelings of deep empathy and compassion for them.
For so long we women have adopted the male model of leadership that has as its core, domination, and coercion to mold children’s behavior, consequently children rebel and cause classroom disruptions.
There is an alternative mode of leadership. It is Feminine Leadership that embraces the whole of the child and the classroom environment. You become instrumental in co-creating a culture where you enter the classroom with an openness and a leadership of empowerment that empowers children and help them cultivate a love of learning and citizenship which is practiced in the classroom. The classroom becomes the mini-society where each child is listened to and made to feel a valuable contributor to co-creating culture.
A belief in the Universal Bond that connects us ALL
Woman Shape Relationships
A key concept associated with “Ubuntu” is how we behave and interact in our various social roles, e.g., daughters traditionally greet their parents and serve them food as a sign of respect and maintain the highest standards of behavior that will be extended or reflected to her family and all the women raised in that family. The daughter is an ambassador. She functions and play that role always. However, this does not apply only to daughters but to all women in general, even among friends and equals such as brother and sister.
Other manifestations of Ubuntu are that it is taboo to call elderly people by their given names; instead, they are called by their surnames. This has the effect of banishing individualism and replacing it with a representative role, in which the individual effectively stands for the people among whom he comes from at all times.
The individual identity is replaced with the larger societal identity within the individual. Thus, families are portrayed or reflected in the individual and this phenomenon is extended to villages, districts, provinces and regions being portrayed in the individual.
This places high demands on the individual to behave in the highest standards and to portray the highest possible virtues that society strives for. ” Ubuntu ” embodies all the invaluable virtues that society strives for towards maintaining harmony and the spirit of sharing among its members.