Saturday, November 17, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
by Taylor Mali (www.taylormali.com)
Sunday nights I lie awake—
as all teachers do—
and wait for sleep to come
like the last student in my class to arrive.
My grading is done, my lesson plans are in order,
and still sleep wanders the hallways like Lower School music.
I’m a teacher. This is what I do.
Like a builder builds, or a sculptor sculpts,
a preacher preaches, and a teacher teaches.
This is what we do.
We are experts in the art of explanation:
I know the difference between questions
to answer and questions to ask.
That's an excellent question.
What do you think?
If two boys are fighting, I break it up.
But if two girls are fighting, I wait until it’s over and then drag what’s left to the nurse’s office.
I’m not your mother, or your father,
or your jailer, or your torturer,
or your biggest fan in the whole wide world
even if sometimes I am all of these things.
I know you can do these things I make you do.
That’s why I make you do them.
I’m a teacher. This is what I do.
Once in a restaurant, when the waiter asked me
if I wanted anything else, and I said,
"No, thank you, just the check, please,"
and he said, "How about a look at the dessert menu?"
I knew I had become a teacher when I said,
"What did I just say?
Please don’t make me repeat myself!"
In the quiet hours of the dawn
I write assignment sheets and print them
without spell checking them. Because I’m a teacher,
and teachers don’t make spelling mistakes.
So yes, as a matter of fact, the new dress cod
will apply to all members of the 5th, 6th, and 78th grades;
and if you need an extension on your 55-paragraph essays
examining The Pubic Wars from an hysterical perspective
you may have only until January 331st.
I trust that won’t be a problem for anyone?
I like to lecture on love and speak on responsibility.
I hold forth on humility, compassion, eloquence, and honesty.
And when my students ask,
“Are we going to be responsible for this?”
I say, If not you, then who?
You think my generation will be responsible?
We’re the ones who got you into this mess,
now you are our only hope.
And when they say, “What we meant
was, ‘Will we be tested on this?’”
I say Every single day of your lives!
Once, I put a pencil on the desk of a student
who was digging in her backpack for a pencil.
But she didn’t see me do it, so when I walked
to the other side of the room and she raised her hand
and asked if she could borrow a pencil,
I intoned, In the name of Socrates and Jesus,
and all the gods of teaching,
I declare you already possess everything you will ever need!
“You are the weirdest teacher I have ever—”
Then she saw the pencil on her desk and screamed.
“You’re a miracle worker! How did you do that?”
I just gave you what I knew you needed
before you had to ask for it.
Education is the miracle, I’m just the worker.
But I’m a teacher.
And that’s what we do.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
- My iTunes was a matter of sitting in front of a protable radio/cassette player with a blank (or used) tape in the machine, my favourite radio station playing and my index and middle finger at the ready to press down the play and record button simulteanously so I could listen to the same song repetedly. OH MAN i hated it when the DJ would cut into the intro or jump in early at the end of the song!
- Facebook would intimate the expression that you were “Burying your face in a book”
- Tweeting was only for birds
- Burning had nothing to do with transferring data onto a “Compact Disc”
- A lap top may have flirted with the idea that someone was referring to a private service at one of those dingy joints.......you know the one?
- An Apple ipod was a walkman that you flipped the casette so you could listen to the ‘B’ side.
- Windows were those things that my mates and me smashed when we were kicking the rugby ball around
- Smartphones? We only had a homephone which didn’t even have buttons, we had to literally “dial” each number! I swear some of these Smartphones are smarter than their owners, and so they should, they’re charging a hefty monthly fee.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
|Dad and me (8yrs old)|
What an interesting day it was, lastnight I was mulling over writing this blog and planning the birthday at the same time. And here I am starting this written tribute 3 hours before closing time.
It was interesting because I (my wife really) was throwing a party for my son, but it was also fathers day. And Dad, as he does was helping us with the arrangements and the other rigmarole that comes with a kids birthday party. There's me, the middle-man blessed by giving, and my Dad.....getting old....still can't stop.
|Dad and my brother at 2yo|
- do what's right even when nobody's looking
- don't be late (still working on this one) dad believes it's the height of disrespect to be late :O
- never cower under anybody's threat, you're only as weak as you allow them to make you
- build your mind, it will get you places
- work hard, it's good for you
- and my favourite "you'll never understand where I'm coming from until you have children"
|Dad grew his little taro plantation in our bakyard in West Auckland|
So when I had my first born, one day day I asked Dad why he raised us the way he did. He said he had asked a gentleman older than him, how he should father his boys. Said gentleman had raised four fine young men (according to Dad's perception) and he wanted to know how this he did it. I inquired about dads mentoring sessions, and Dad had different stories explaining advice he received on walks, church lunches/picnics/camps etc. Without a doubt, I was impressed with these stories and I learned that learning from more experienced people is incredibly beneficial. What's really ironic is that now I acquire awesome advice from one of the sons of the the aforementioned gentlemen.
|Dad and my brother again.|
I know that in modern times, not every individual experiences a great father, some may have passed before the child even had a chance to know them, unfortunately some are abusive, neglecting, too busy etc or worse yet they up and left and weren't there at all and make a child feel "unloved". But that's still no excuse to carry through life like an excuse. Our Father's are humans, and their failures should expose to us on how we can succeed.
Every parent should seek out their kids interests early, and if you find that you're not au-fait with your child's interests, find someone (trustworthy) for them to guide them. If you know for yourself that you don't have that father figure, intentionally find a trustworthy mentor!
I'm grateful and blessed to say that my Fathers imprint on my life is to be like him , to show the world that there is a class of men that still find Fatherhood to be a joy and not just an obligation. Men who are not afraid to ask the right people when they're not sure. And maintain the mantle of manhood that needs to be passed through every generation.
Thanks Dad, you've added value to my life more than you will ever imagine.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
One of the coolest things I've seen this year has to be the sponsorship of Bluesky to the Samoan Olympics team. Samoa is a small nation, but as we know, media can and will convince the masses of whatever the media's message is dictating. And Bluesky did just that! Creating promotional videos, a facebook page, and possibly getting the biggest and most supportive following of any Samoan Olympic team since they joined the global event.
They didn't win any medals, but the awareness of their events, and their constant updates were a treat for the Samoan people! I like that a lot......Samoans (and others too) cheering on their fellow sporting countrymen.
BUT, last week news breaks out of a stand off between government authorities and local villagers at Satapuala. I only knew through one of the Facebook pages, and was shocked to read it. I tried to follow it to find out what was going on, and the gist of the matter is. The government want to build a public hospital, and have gone ahead to do so, but without the say so of the land owners.........yeah.....what the?!
I've only got the News from Samoa to rely on.....and of course the whispers communicated through the coconut vine, BUT is this not a sham?!
Germans, Americans, British (represented by NZ) all came to ransack Samoa in times past, for every nook and cranny and make a quid from it. I'm convinced there was even a sense of power behind their agenda (of course) but Samoa fought them back claiming full heritage rights to the land. The land and it's connection to Samoan identity is crucial which leads me into my thinking.
|The land cleared for the intended hospital|
If this is factual, then shame on the Samoan government for not respecting a solid and reliable long-existing protocol.
This should be the question on every Samoans mind. Was this just an experiment, or a test trial from the government to see what type of reaction would occur? I'm not into conspiracy theories, but this down right got my knickers in a knot.
Mr Prime Minister and government officials. Please take a leaf out of Bluesky's book and learn to win the hearts of the people before trying to renovate on your own terms.
Faasoa mai o ou manatu. Please share your thoughts on this matter....
Samoa mo Samoa.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I replied, "Oh you're a half-caste?"
It didn't take a genius to work out that she was offended by my comment and said, "you shouldn't use that term"
"No it's derogatory, an old term used by the English of old to socially accept one half and reject the other"
"Oh.....I apologise, what term do you use then?",
"Well first of all I am human, and I prefer mixed-blood rather than half-caste"
"Well I truly am sorry for offending you", thinking to myself, us Samoans use this term loosely and as a matter a fact, as part of common language . Literally translated "Afakasi". I'm actually pretty confident that the whole of polynesia don't have an issue with using this term. Nonetheless, this called for further research when I got home.
So I googled half-caste, and up pops a name...John Agard, so I click on it and stumble on his satirical, and funny poem: (you got to see him perform it to get the full gist). He himself you have to understand had a Caribbean Father and a Portuguese Mother. So he's of mixed race, and obviously has had a gutful of being called "half-caste".
standing on one leg
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.
an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.
Which brought me to ponder on the history of Samoa. So the English referred to the half Samoan/Americans, Samoan/Germans, Samoan/New Zealanders as half-castes? This could only mean that they were accepting of their white blood and rejecting the Samoan blood as if the Samoan blood deduced the human nature of the individual?
For a moment, the term "half-caste" left a bad taste in my mouth, but this has become such a second nature term that possibly we probably should remain silent and not jump on our soap box when we hear our black friends calling each other "nigga", or any other race that uses unscrupulous endearments, when we're happy to use "half-caste" or "afakasi" so loosely.
I've really taken my kick up the bum to heart. So to all my afakasi friends. Don't be surprised when I start calling you mixed-blood.......but then you've got the bloods and crips thing that could possibly link in....oh man you can't win. What do you think fellow polynesians? Should we rethink how we use this term, or don't fix something that doesn't appear to be broke?"
"I don't have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't deh pon nobody's side. Me don't deh pon the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me deh pon God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white." - Bob Marley
Thursday, March 8, 2012
|Image Credit: invisiblechildren.com|
Here's how things looked from my perspective prior to watching the referred 30min film.
- I watched "Blood Diamond" and I realised some of the challenges that Africa had
- I met a family from Sierre Leone who saw their parents killed in front of them and heard their stories. I felt compasson toward them, befriended them and that was about it.
- I carried on with life and soon forgot the impression these stories had on me.
This whole hype represents so many good things. It shows that the majority of the world still recognises that this type of activity needs to be stopped, that the Youth will make mountains move when they're given a purpose and that tenacity will even get the leaders of a Superpower country to listen....and then some. But people forget!
|Image credit: invisiblechildren.com|
- refuting the claims and that the charity is a fraud
- happy to sit back because there's so many other causes to help
- deliberately finding something else to distract yourself with
- taking action because it'll make you feel good (and everyone else is doing it)
- taking action because principle demands it
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"We should not be defined by the smallness of our islands, but by the greatness of our oceans. We are the sea, we are the ocean. Oceania is us! We must wake up to this ancient truth and together use it to overturn all hegemonic view that aim ultimately to confine us again, physically and psychologically."
'Epeli Hau'ofa (Tongan Novelist and Anthropologist)
Thursday, January 12, 2012
The introduction of the internet did not just open up the world to endless opportunities, but also endless ethical challenges that never use to exist. There are no marshals to patrol and set the World Wild West into order.
These ethical challenges even challenge the very fabric of our existence, which is relationships. Relationships are essential, not one person can live without them.The health of relationships rely heavily upon communication. As communication is the key to sharing whats in the heart and mind of one to the heart and mind of the other.
Most professionals have identified the following five levels of communication in sequential order:
1. Acquantance: This is where we use cliche's like "hows it going?", "hi, thanks" answering the person with "good" when all they said was "Hi". This is habitual and more of a knee-jerk reaction than a thought out process of thinking.
2, Facts: where the individual will share facts, and moves on from the cliche to small talk. "Hot today isn't it?". Usually we say these to remove awkward silence or for the lads, trying to make a move on a girl. "Nice clear sky today"......"Oh look that bus is full". No real in depth thought needed at this level either.
3. Opinions: this is where the wall (not a Facebook wall) between two individuals starts getting chipped away at. The individual will start sharing their opinion on the management of the club, their personal goals and desires, Things they're concerned about etc. Obviously if two people have opposing opinions, this level is where the relationship is first challenged. "I like it when the weather is hot, we can go swimming"
4. Feelings: If the relationship survived the previous level then you would feel safe to reveal deep emotions about things, people and situations. "When it gets hot it makes me happy because it reminds me of Samoa!"
5. Intimacy: The level at no holds barred. This is the deepest level of a relationship where the individual feels safe enough to reveal their unique needs. It takes skill to interpret these statements as most of us are too proud to begin a sentence with "I need.....". An individual may say "You don't care anyway" is a bait, that they need to be affirmed and that the other individual does care by saying and putting to action"But I do care about you".
The problem with Facebook, Social networking (in general), and online relationships, is that people are cheated of the first three levels and stages of a relationship. Quite often you see in peoples status' that they share deeply felt emotions or even an intimate need but the other 3 levels have been skipped.
It's a shame that a lot of the younger generation are falling privy to this, and as a result they lack communication skills in reality as the first three levels are the warm ups, for the actual real excercise.
I've heard of a lot of online relationship stories ranging from awful failures to sensuous successes. However, when it comes to meeting your life partner, or dating in that regard, I'm an old-timer and believe that the safest and surest say to know somebody is by moving through the succession of the five levels mentioned above.
In my books relationships are null and void without experiencing low and high times together, hugging and holding hands, running and tripping over each other on the beach, watching the facial muscles move in discussions, and observing from afar as they mingle among the crowd or with individuals.....or when they're just by themselves are all part and parcel of a strong relationship.
If you're involved in an online relationship right this minute. I suggest you make a deadline, no longer than 6 months to meet this person, and alleviate any anxieties that you may currently have. Then after you part ways it's no longer an online relationship, rather a long-distance relationship (a whole different topic altogther). And if you're in love with the concept of being in love......then cut all ties immediately.
So in conclusion, I recommend staying with the old offline relationship.