Can I breathe please? 

3a763df1eea27563354f7db6bf6c87b8--daily-mantra-inhale-exhale-tattooThese past couple of weeks have been a complete test on my ability to multitask and to do so with all the patience and grace that I could muster.   To say it passed in a blur would greatly understate how I feel at this present point in time. I was actually in the hair salon under a dryer when I started this post, that’s to tell you how possible it was to find a proper minute’s peace. And even now when I’m supposed to be shaking off the shackles of a secondary school term that left me 😥😥😥😥😥, I still feel like somebody owes me a five day for night stay somewhere sunny with a beach  and copious amounts of alcohol (any kind, not picky at this point).

So rather than give a blow by blow of what happened, I think I will just share my not really random thoughts/questions on these various events as they occurred. Nice? Here I go:

ON SON-SON’S GRADUATION

  1. These things should have tissues. I felt so old! Sniff! 😭 I couldn’t concentrate on all those programme items though I was too busy staring into space wondering where the time went. 🙁20170629_114016
  2. I get that schools have a limit to work with but they should really consider opening it up to three invites per graduand, modern families and all that.  There were a lot of visibly irritated “chile mudders” and “chile faddas” present.
  3. All of a sudden I noticed these 11 and 12 year olds standing up posing and talking like they already finished a year in secondary school. Again, whither goeth the time? 😮
  4. Are novelty photo booths a thing now? 🤔 They are everywhere!
  5. I’m glad the term ‘tea plate’ has evolved into a box of sweet AND savoury pastries AND a drink.
  6. What compares to a look of relief on a teacher’s face? (Biased? Yes!)

ON SECONDARY ENTRANCE ASSESSMENT (SEA) RESULTS

  1. This anxiety that I thought evaded me hit me square in the gut in July 4th. Nobody warned me  sufficiently. 😩
  2. Why do people find shit to complain about when they feel nervous, awkward or expect you to feel the same and concur? All ah we standing up in the hot sun. IIIIIIIIII doh feel like chatting about how hot the sun is…… 😐
  3. That anxiety again. I hope never to feel like that ever again. Even though I have two more to go. But by that time I think the novelty would disappear.
  4. Son-son did not pass for his first choice which reflected on his face in a way that only his mother would observe however, he was super stoked as he got placed in his second choice, a very good school where FIVE of his closest friends were also placed. Can’t complain about that.

ON FORM ONE REGISTRATION

  1. De journeyyyyyyyy now start
  2. I was so happy to observe that Form Six students were leading the programme for registration. I loved the culture of the school already.
  3. So I had to take out a five year insurance because my son wanted to do an extra-curricular sport activity. First I’d heard of it but better safe than sorry right? Plus it was only $100.
  4. Government issued textbooks were piled on but only when I got home did I notice the atrocious state of  one of the books. Moral: Take your time even though you feel overwhelmed.
  5. Secondary school is gonna be sweet.

ON MAM’ZELLE’S FIRST COMMUNION DAY

  1. The first communion ceremony, in spite of its great importance to any young Catholic girl, is also largely a pre-cursor to how you may envision your daughter on her wedding day. 20170630_0908351
  2. Mam’zelle looked really proud and big girl happy. I, on the other hand, stared into space……. 😭
  3. There’s a big difference between a boy’s and a girl’s first communion day. The difference lies in how extra parents are regarding how the child looks. (See 1. above).  With the girls I noticed more necks craning, eyes staring and eyebrows raising.
  4. I didn’t think that the girls actually ‘got’ what the rite was about, even though they got the basics. But like most of us who passed through it, eventually they will.

ON CONDUCTING AND MARKING END OF TERM EXAMS

  1. Why did we have end of term exams?
  2. The stress to create the perfect paper in the third term which would adequately cover what students did with a pinch of first and second term, was entirely too much.
  3. The stress to mark these papers also applies. Particularly when you KNOW you almost literally bled for your students and then you are faced with… 20170627_124852(The sad thing is that this was a national test that they got weeks earlier and I TOLD them that they would get a repeat of it for their exams rather than subject them to a new exam….so……sigh……..)
  4. People tend to say that the teacher influences the student. I wonder if they know that the reverse is also true? And not always in a positive light. Frustration is real. This term was bad. My nonchalance set in quick. I’m at pains to apologise.
  5. People also tend to say that teachers are lucky that the get vacations. I wonder if they know that most of us deem this much needed recovery period? Like post-trauma…. Salute to all of you who finished on a high note though! 👏

ON BOYO TURNING ONE

  1. Turning one year old is an important milestone!! This milestone however was not celebrated by anything resembling a party. Cake, ice cream, snacks only if you want.  I held firm to this with all my gremlinz. They. Will. Not. Remember. A. Thing. Let me underwhelm in peace.
  2. Smash cakes however are essential. Icing is awesome.
  3. My Boyo turned 1 a looooong time ago. We plebs are simply now catching up. 20133683_10154400439936706_179359571_o
  4. (Stare into space……. 😭)
  5. All babies of this generation are being led into world domination by Asahd Khaled, Beyonce’s twins and the genius soon to depart from Serena Williams. I’m noticing that my Boyo along with his peers are operating on an entirely different level. Look out 😐

ON MOVING

  1. And I maintain….it is only when you are moving that you realize HOW MUCH SHIT you own!!!!! AND MOST OF IT UNNECESSARY!!!
  2. A van is an important vehicle to own. Money saving tip yo. 💰💸
  3. Despite the general consensus in Trinidad, some landlords are really nice, I was grateful to score one.
  4. You can be attached to material things and you can’t help it. I was really sad to leave my home but the life beat goes on.
  5. If you suffer with slight OCD like me, ensure that you know EXACTLY where everything has to go. Chaos is no friend to us.
  6. Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.

ON DEATH

  1. When it happens particularly when it’s some degrees of separation away, I always retreat into myself examine my life, my purpose, think about my gremz. It’s a rollercoaster of hope and depression. There is some element of strength that I still need.
  2. Death has no respect for protocol. My husband told me that and it has stuck with me since. It’s whoever, whenever, deal with it. This is the hardest thing to stomach.
  3. Live your life and make those memories. This is what got me through the rough times and I imagine would continue to.

 

So the holidays are upon me. It will be filled with exercise, camp, activities, road trips, swimming, mall runs, the usual. I’m going to try to be gremlin-centred but try not to kill out myself in the process and of course post a couple of updates!

Bless up

TMIDM

Wanna hear a story?

Here it goes:

Once upon a time on a random Tuesday afternoon, a teacher set aside her lesson to scold her class of form ones (11-13 years olds). They had been behaving badly in recent times and they needed a shake up to try to bring them back to reality.

When the teacher was finished and the bell had rung signalling the end of the school day, she had scarcely reached her office and begun to pack up when she was confronted by another teacher who indicated that two girls who were part of the class to whom she had spoken earlier, had instigated a fight with another female student that very minute. The teacher was aghast. Hadn’t she just spoken to these students about their deportment and their lack of discipline? Was it simply a matter of her 35-minute sermon going in one ear and coming out the next? Had she lost precious teaching time for nothing?

The teacher went outside and proceeded to call the two girls who proceeded to delay in walking toward her. This got the teacher annoyed because she began to think about her own biological children who needed to be picked up from school a whole 60-something kilometres away while she had to be there dealing with that nonsense. She began to shout with authority at the girls about the mere stupidity of their actions and insisted that they go to the office.

Concurrently, one of the girls had a boyfriend who was in another class who decided that he would jump into the fray to save his girlfriend from the teacher who was admonishing her. Upon realizing that the boyfriend was addressing her, the teacher turned to the young boy and spoke to him directly, indicating that no one had called him and he should excuse himself. The boyfriend muttered. The teacher asked for clarity and indicated that if he had something to say he should come to her directly. The young boy bounced up, pointed a finger in the teacher’s face and said she should mind her business. Unrelenting in her purpose, the teacher told him that he had no authority to point at her to which he replied “Hush your cunt”. The teacher replied that she didn’t know that he was aware of any body parts belonging to her and then turned to the girlfriend and said, “You have great taste in men.”

In the office, while writing up the notices to see parents for the two young girls, the teacher’s annoyance switched to amusement.  In all of her years working at the school, never had she been so disrespected but she felt as though if it had to happen, it should have been someone a bit more worthy. She jumped in her car and went on her merry way, eager to give her husband the joke about these students’ obvious loss of mental capacity, ruminating on her strategy for the following day and boy would it be a good one.

THE END

EPILOGUE

The mother picked up her own children from school and after her usual pleasantries, realized that something was wrong with her son. He was unusually quiet. He then randomly asks (or maybe not so randomly) when was the next occasion for Confession at their church. This made the mother anxious. At home she realized that he was shadowing her and kept asking for hugs. She didn’t ask him anything but merely waited. Eventually he said he had something to tell her and after almost five minutes of fidgety eyes and playing with his fingers, he said that he knew she was going to get mad but he proceeded to outline what happened. Apparently he was part of  a WhatsApp group with boys commenting using very strong obscene language. A parent found out and the boys got in trouble at school with their teacher. He looked at his mother and said that he was sorry and he knew it was “out of his character” and that he got “caught up”. The mother sighed and said she was glad that he told her and she spoke to him about being responsible on social media and not bowing to peer pressure. She imagined that it would be the first of many like conversations but boy was she proud that he found it enough on his conscience to recognize his missteps and to come clean. She trained her son to be sensible enough (not perfect but sensible!) to identify a basic right from a wrong approach and wondered why other parents couldn’t do the same.

Bless up

TMIDM

Have merSEA!

Well my Son-son is 11, in standard five in primary school and about to write the big Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam this Thursday. According to Trini culture and lore, this is the most important exam of a student’s life, destined to make you or break you depending on which secondary school you are headed when the results come in. Parents cry, teachers lose hair and the children drill mathematical formulae, grammatical exercises and seemingly endless compositions up until the dreaded day that they aim to get their first choice out of four. Cue ominous voice:

may_the_fourth_be_with_you_by_themooken-da1apux

http://themooken.deviantart.com/art/May-the-fourth-be-with-you-606841449

Knowing that he is prone to anxiety, I laid all the pressure on Son-son on standard four and eased off the valve considerably. As the date draws near, I think I am more anxious than he is. However my anxiety stems from the fact that I am completely FED UP! of the preparation for the exam. I’m so thankful that his teacher is so meticulous, another parent told me some time ago that he has a ‘system’ to churn out boys to perform at the SEA exam. But at this point if I see YET ANOTHER quasi difficult poem, I will scream. I think a couple of nights ago was the last straw.  He came and said he read the poem and didn’t understand it. So I took a look. This is a poem called Children’s Song by R.S. Thomas which he had to read and answer about ten questions:

We live in our own world,
A world that is too small
For you to stoop and enter
Even on hands and knees,
The adult subterfuge.
And though you probe and pry
With analytic eye,
And eavesdrop all our talk
With an amused look,
You cannot find the centre
Where we dance, where we play,
Where life is still asleep
Under the closed flower,
Under the smooth shell
Of eggs in the cupped nest
That mock the faded blue
Of your remoter heaven.
 
Ronald Stuart Thomas
Dafuq is subterfuge??? ‘Remoter heaven’??? My poor child!
I mean honestly, I get the gist of the poem, but I think it’s a bit much for an 11 year old to find extra deep metaphorical meaning in a high stakes exam. I understand that the poem is usually the difficult part of the exam but have mercy, this or any poem like it reads like stress! The questions that followed were even worse.
So these last few days I haven’t been harping on him at all partly because I think he’s reached his zenith and partly because again…me…fed up…. He had practice tests for the past two Saturdays and beyond that I gave him a free pass to the TV and the games on his tab. Of course everything was done in moderation so he also had to clean inside my car and do his regular chores as well. I don’t want this SEA pressure to fold him in even before the exam.
Thursday morning I plan to wake him up, act as normally as possible and not make a big deal about it. On our way there, he may get a Bruno Mars karaoke session, lame jokes in the car and I’ll kick him out with a hug and a ‘good luck dude’! If I get the butterflies, they’re going to remain in stasis at the very least until he’s out of my sight. I hope I don’t wig out. This SEA can’t drown us both.
Bless up
TMIDM

Well Happy Divali yes!

In Trinidad and Tobago tonight is the eve of Divali, the Hindu festival of lights, the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Tomorrow Hindus pray to the goddess Mother Lakshmi for wealth and prosperity, for her to fill their homes which will be beautifully lit with deyas and celebrations will be had.

Today some schools (I say ‘some’ because I suspect not all) give children the option to dress in East Indian wear to celebrate and give significance to the East Indian community because the festival is largely cultural as it is a deeply religious observance. My gremz both attend Roman Catholic primary schools and the request is the same every year which is no big deal to me because like I said Divali is also very much a cultural thing and Trinidad and Tobago is chock full of different races and cultures mixed into one. So even though children are of African, Chinese, Syrian, European descent, East Indian wear is welcomed. 

Now Mam’zelle wore East Indian clothing and Son-son didn’t. He said he didn’t want to be noticed too much which is fine with me while she was down for the fanciness. This afternoon I picked them up from school and in the car we had the usual banter of what happened during the day. She told me “Mummy ‘soandso’ and I wore the same thing, could you believe that?”. I replied “wow! twinsies!”, glad that she wasn’t mortified. She’s very particular about what she wears, but then she said “…and thennnn ‘soanso’ tell me ‘why you have on that? you looking ugly!'”…….I understood the underlying meaning and looked at her trying to gauge her emotional state at the recollection. Then I tested her by saying very matter-of-factly “And?”. She replied “I know right? I was still feeling sad though”. It was her first time wearing East Indian wear, last year she was sick and didn’t make it to school so she missed out. I told her that she looked beyond beautiful and anybody who couldn’t see that is probably blind.

I’ve arrived at my point. There is a blindness that pervades this Trinidad and Tobago society which is beyond irritating. I get that there are residual historical, societal and cultural issues and biases that affect and are passed down from generation after generation. But….have mercy……when will it stop? A next ten/twenty years and the same nonsense? When do we begin to teach our children or to reflect to them the appreciation of the beauty and culture of all races especially in this country? The Indian/African/Syrian/’Chinee’ thing is so played out. One doesn’t have to subscribe to a religion or be a certain race to show tolerance, understanding and appreciation. This doesn’t stand for Hinduism alone, I’m ‘African’ and Catholic, not Orisha which I guess makes me less of an ‘African.’ I’m blasted for what I believe and practice which by the way is a freedom I enjoy without having to prove the rightness and wrongness of Catholicism. Don’t even get me started on Islam.

So back to Mam’zelle. I posted her dress pic early on Facebook this morning and 38 people clicked like on the photo. It may sound trivial but those 38 people, though not children,  reaffirmed what it means to be Trini for me. They helped me to make my point to her that it does not matter what some may think, in this country there are others who will disagree, do away with the blindness and still strive to make this country the rainbow that it should be.

Shine light in your hearts man, sounds good to me. What do we say about every creed and race in the National Anthem? We sing it twice for crying out loud! Sigh.

Bless up

TMIDM

So disgusted by this!!!

This past week in Trinidad and Tobago has been really trying for my soul. as a Trinbagonian. I had to endure the police road blocks on Monday which effectively paralyzed the country (we made Yahoo news!), it’s the last week of school and the usual drama applies and now this nonsense in our national Parliament last night.

I don’t usually get worked up about what happens in Trinidad’s Parliament because as far as I see you have to have a certain amount of brain cells to follow what goes on in the Lower House and I don’t have brain cells to waste. It’s a lot of shouting, derailed “arguments”, unnecessary picong and time wasting. Yesterday this senseless motion of no confidence that was brought against the Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley was enough for me to steups but what that woman Vernella Alleyne-Toppin from Tobago said enraged me to the highest when I woke up this morning to the news. How the hell are you going to abuse the cover of parliamentary privilege to accuse another Parliament member of being conceived through rape which resulted in his aggressive, arrogant behavior. Hellooooo? You had that mess written on the paper from which you were reading??? You using the story that he was born due to RAPE to make a political point of no confidence against him??? Rape is a damn crime!!!!!!

Of course I heard the full broadcast on the radio this morning and I was beyond shocked and starting yelling in the car to myself and well the gremz in the back seat who kept asking what was ‘disgusting’ and who was a ‘damn fool’ and if I was alright. I was so damn mad. I started thinking about one of my relatives who was a victim of rape and how BROKEN she was months after being stripped of her dignity in her own home. I started thinking about one of my students who was a victim of incest and rape and how dehumanized she felt and the sea of tears that she shed in front of me. Rape victims have to deal with that act that crushes their soul and then be strong enough to deal with the possibility of disease and pregnancy. Do you know how strong you have to be to raise a child of rape? Do you know how strong you have to be not only to raise a child of rape but to raise him/her with strength and love and to destroy the residual feelings of resentment? Do you have any idea of the level of trauma facing rape victims and to a lesser extent their family members?

Whether this story is true or not, what kind of human do you have to be to decide to include that in your speech to “get one on him” in a parliamentary debate? And better than that, what kinda implication is that to make, that a child of rape is aggressive and uncouth and therefore cannot aspire to attain a lofty position as the Prime Minister of a country? To make it worse you are the Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, a ministry with dubious beginnings but dreamt up to “care for the people”!!!!!

Vernella Alleyne Toppin, do us all a favour and get the hell out of office and take all those others who agreed with your atrocious view by thumping their desks in the house. Your statement was sick and repulsive, was an affront to all rape victims and children of rape victims and brought down whatever scraps of dignity that remained in the Parliament. I wish you well on your return to Tobago, you will have it to deal with across there. They waiting for you…

About Trinidad Carnival…….

impressivemagazine.com

Random musings I’ve had over the past month or so heralding the greatest show on Earth:

  • I love Carnival, the excitement, revelry, anticipation, joy, splendor, colour! but something this year was lacking.
  • The soca music this year left much to be desired. I’ve found myself waiting and waiting for the great ones and save a few I could count on one hand (‘Like a Boss’, ‘Lucy’, ‘My Home’…), there wasn’t a selection of music to raise the pores.
  • Machel Montano is not doing it like a boss, he is simply a boss…the end. The passion he has for soca music is what puts him ahead of the game. Other artistes don’t exhibit the level of near madness with their performances, this is why Machel is ahead. Everybody else battle for second.
  • When did I become priced out of fetes? Being a member of the middle class (read: working poor) means that I can no longer afford fetes I used to attend (that $850 for Central Bank’s All Inclusive fete threw me for a loop)…and no I’m not taking out a loan….and no, I did not save up all year for Carnival….and no, I’m not paying over a grand to party even if I could…but yes, if that ticket is free :). I know I’m in a minority.
  • I looove Kiddies Carnival but whyyy Lord is the sun so hot on Carnival Saturday as opposed to Monday and Tuesday? I skipped it for that reason (thankfully the gremz didn’t play) and chose to go to Bunji Garlin’s children’s show in Arima Velodrome instead….which will probably never see me again…more on that later…
  • This Monday Wear thing is a runaway horse, it’s putting so much pressure on people to wear decorated bikinis like when the Carnival gods decided that sneakers were out and boots were in for the road. If I were playing mas this year, I would wear a tank and spandex boyshorts for spite.
  • You see this thing where you party in the night an go to work the next day normel normel, sometimes two, three nights in a row?, I can no longer achieve that feat.
  • Calypso Fiesta Saturday usually finds me on my couch for the entire show, eager to hear the picong*. This year, some delivered, others need a re-definition of calypso.
  • If I see my daughter swaying her hips while dancing which may be considered to be Trinidad wining, I will not condemn her. She does this in addition to the jumping, waving and hands in the air. She is a dancer so when the music hits, her whole body moves including her waistline. If however, her butt is rolling and rolling and she’s dropping it to the ground and that’s all she is doing, twerking song after song, I will drop the mic on her. I don’t know when parents will realize that this shit isn’t cute and this was in full display during the children’s show last Saturday. I was highly annoyed and it added to the lack of snacks (children party with no popcorn!?!), short performances and the whole rushed vibe of the thing. But hey the gremz seemed to have fun so what the hell.
  • I’m not in costume playing mas this year and I don’t miss it. I don’t know if I should feel scared that age is creeping up but I’m watching the pics of people having a ball on the road and I feel no pangs of longing or jealousy. Maybe I’m over it? We’ll see next year.
  • Finally, I still can’t believe I’m going to work tomorrow! Such a thing has never happened in recent memory! I don’t think I’ve ever gone to work the day after carnival, it’s going to be so strange. I may not know how to function after I get my ashes.

Have a great cool down!

TMIDM

*Picong or Piquant is light comical banter, usually at someone else’s expense. It is the way in which West Indians (particularly those in the Eastern Caribbean) tease, heckle and mock each other in a friendly manner. However, the line between humour and insult is fine and constantly shifting, and at times the convivial spirit may degenerate into more heated debate and perhaps, physical altercations. The ability to engage in picong without crossing over into insult is highly valued in the culture of calypso music. (Wikipedia)

Christmas Prep

So I’m off work until January and verily launched into Christmas prep. I’m a powerful strategist in terms of getting everything done on time and avoiding the Christmas rush that comes so naturally (and sometimes gleefully) to many Trinbagonians. Me? Unless it’s a Carnival-related event, I hate crowds and will do anything to avoid the near mass hysteria so the following is what I try to do to leave me with some semblance of sanity for the Christmas holiday.

Plan early

As conventional wisdom states,The early bird catches the worm and this is so true regarding Christmas, whether it be cleaning, shopping or cooking.Once you start planning early you have a sense of exactly what you want and what you want to do before you engage.  I visualize everything from room decor to Christmas meal. I also like to write so I have a little book scored with everything from lists to budgets to thoughts from month to month, I “ideate” then create!

Browse early

I tend to wander into store and store and spend nothing until I am ready. “Do you need help?” “No thanks, just looking!” I will visit a store over and over to see if I have it right, if I want anything else, if they have new stock until I am ready. There’s a new store that opened recently that I visited so much times that I started to wonder if they had me flagged on their cameras (it was really because I felt so “Christmassy” when I went in that it became addictive). One may say that I am wasting time but when I do this I don’t feel the pressure of buying one time or having to wonder if another store has it cheaper. This also allows me to have a plan b and c as well when it is time to purchase and my plan a disappears which is rare. I tend to start early on this activity as well and it works from gifts to cleaning supplies.

Start early

Yes, I’m on vacation and I have the luxury of sleeping late but once it hits past 12 I don’t feel like doing a thing, so I get up at five as normal. Some people prefer to do this in the evening into night though and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. More power to ya! Even when I was working through the holidays the same applied so I would get up and clean just ONE thing and in the afternoon do the same so when the weekend comes there would be less to do!  I’m the one in the parking lot sitting in my car waiting for the grocery/mall/cloth store to open and I’m usually in and out in no time because I already have my stuff (and price) written in my trusty little book 😉

As you can see my common thread is ‘early’ but it is only so that I don’t feel bothered and frustrated coming down to the end. It may or may not be applicable to you even as this is the last full week and there is still time. This is not to take away from those who LOVE the rush or from those who have no choice having been paid just before the holiday. I’m also waiting for December’s paycheck to finalize but I need to be clear and how that money is going to be spent before I get caught up. Even with the preparations, there is life after Christmas. (Put away that January money first!)

Right! So back to the prep!

Bless up

TMIDM

In loco…

are you my mother

NOPE.

On this Universal Children’s Day 2014, I told three of my students that they were behaving like realllll jackasses and I put real stress on the ‘jackass’ as much as my Trini tongue could muster so that it sounded as caustic as I felt. I was also very loud, one of the usual tones used when I have to ‘dispense justice’. You know like long time when you used to see the F-word written in public transport but spelt with an ‘O’ instead of the ‘U’? That kinda enraged tone.

I recognise that children have rights. I recognise all 37 of those rights including the right to health, education, a good family and standard of living, play and protection from abuse. I recognise that without these rights children are doomed. What I don’t recognise or rather what I don’t ‘see’ with the human beings under the age of 18 that I encounter on a daily basis, is an acknowledgement and appreciation of these rights.

I don’t normally descend into the quasi-obscene but sometimes the shock value is absolutely necessary. I told them they were behaving like jackasses because a teacher was in class and they decided to pelt each other with paper, one of which struck the teacher on the forehead. What made it worse is that this is my form class, what made it even worse is that I am also the acting Dean, and the icing on this particular dessert is that these children know me and know the kinda shit I don’t stand for so why raise the beast with this horseplay nonsense especially if you don’t do it in when I am teaching?

You know there’s a saying that as a teacher you are in loco parentis which means you take the place of the parents with those under your charge. To be honest it’s not only a saying, it’s also a legal requirement. So sometimes I feel that if I am in loco of your parentis (and as a Spanish teacher this term is especially thrilling), I should act that way. SO! if your parentis feel like it is ok to play de ass in school, me, as your parentis (in loco) will greatly beg to differ and I will open my mouth to indicate such. So if my children whose rights I should respect, coming to school with no pen but combing hair and brushing shoes in class, I feel I should say what I need to say as I am in loco parentis. If my children, whose rights I should respect, are leaving their free textbooks home and writing all subjects in one notebook so their bags will be light, I feel I should say what I need to say to point out the error of their ways. If my children whose rights I should respect, do no homework and submit no assignments, yet somehow end up in bacchanal and fights, I feel I should do what I need to do to steer them in the right direction because clearly school is the wrong direction? Clearly you doh wanna be here? And this does not even begin to touch the surface of gambling, sex acts and narcotics on the school compound in other schools in this country. If I’m lying God strike me down. Thankfully it hasn’t reached there in my neck of the bush.

Now don’t get me wrong eh. Teaching is a vocation i.e. not something to be trifled with. This is why I could allow my emotion to shine forth in the way I feel will be effective. This is why I have to keep impressing upon these human beings under 18 that school is the only way out of the poverty that they are all desperately seeking to escape. But it only works if you put the work in. If I didn’t care, I would simply teach my subject for my particular period and the effort stops there. However, this feeling lasts up to the very point where I realize that my sanity is being endangered, in which case I draw the line and remember it’s only two humans that have passed through my vagina and I need to keep my atoms together for them and that third one that I share a bed with. At this point I stop being the inspirational ‘Lean on Me’ Morgan Freeman and become this guy:

Bless up

TMIDM

Germageddon

-

Ebola is at the forefront in many ways than one and you know when things are bad in Trinidad and Tobago when people start making up jokes as a coping mechanism.  So overheard a caller on the radio today: “You go by the doctor to find out if you have Ebola and the doctor tells you well hear nah,  you don’t have Ebola but you’re HIV Positive! which then makes you shout for joy: Thank you Jesus Thank the Lord!”. The radio announcer says he knows he shouldn’t be laughing but it’s funny because the thinking is at least you can live with HIV…sigh….Imagine the biggest debate in Trinidad and Tobago regarding Ebola is if to cancel Carnival in 2015…-_- Carnival yuh know, dat is what people studying!!!

10686618_879559012056605_750753635583562808_n

Everything is a joke in this country. That’s how we deal…..

This deadly disease is on my mind because germs are transmitted so easily as far as I see. No amount of pitchy hand-washing campaigns by the Ministry of Health and hand-sanitizers on sale in exotic fragrances of Japanese Cherry Blossom and Midnight Pomegranate can sway the fact that germs still bounce from here to there. People still sneeze and cough wildly in public, in taxis and buses and still talk animatedly over food being sold (watch your doubles vendor). Today I saw one of my students sucking her thumb and it dawned on me that it’s a habit that can exacerbate the germ-spreading much like biting the nails, both of which are mostly done so absent-mindedly, both of which are ever-present in schools….yikes….

I’m no germophobe but my mother always clued me in to germ-spreading when I was growing up so much so that I was forced to “see” germs being spread. So I used to press the button in the bus with my knuckle, open doors with my forearms/elbows, hold my bag on my shoulder when I have to use a public restroom, pump the soap with the corner of my wrist and I have hand sanitizer in every one of my handbags and my car. I’m not perfect with it and I certainly won’t reach my mom and her level of OCD where she takes grocery cheddar out of the plastic, washes it and then proceeds to slice……..yes…….I’ve talked to her about that.

My daughter Mam’zelle sucks her thumb, a habit she picked up before she breathed air. When she was born she was searching wildly for the finger by the mouth so much so the head nurse exclaimed “Aye Aye! She fass! Look she suckin finger! Chile yuh jus’ born!” I’ve never cut the habit with her because I too know the sweetness, so too my husband, same issue, same hand, (is thumb-sucking genetic?) and I figure she will cut that out very soon. She doesn’t do it in school which tells you the level of pride (or shame) that she has. So when I pick her up and I don’t hear her antics in the car, I know she’s sucking the thumb as though she suffered withdrawal and de feeling so sweet but then I have to yell about germs and cleanliness, rinse and repeat the following day. Sometimes she asks me “Can I suck my finger now?” or she would casually ask if I have hand-sanitizer as if we’re talking about the weather (“oh, by the way…”).

It’s all well and good with the common cold and sundry other mutated forms of viruses that I can battle with doctor visits, meds, excessive talking and frenzied harping and hand-washing but Ebola??? Who am I against a disease that is dismantling West Africa, is one-up in the US, crept into Brazil and made it’s way into Spain and Germany’s news headlines? I am praying to God that Ebola doesn’t make its way into Trinidad and Tobago because we are studying Carnival and at our very best I don’t think we are anywhere close to handling it the way we should and if it’s one thing about this country, ting does realll spread.

Stay safe and be wisely informed. Pick sense from nonsense.

Bless up

TMIDM

Happy World Teacher’s Day!

2014-09-04-National-Teachers-Day

I never wanted to be a teacher. As a matter of fact it was a topic of contention between myself and my parents because they considered it a profession that is respectful, stable in the long term in terms of gratuity and pension and of course what else would I do with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish right? sigh…another topic by itself….

After various rewarding job opportunities in the private sector I ‘landed’ in the teaching profession. I will not say I have regretted it and I often wonder if my parents saw something in me that I did not see in myself. Thus far it has been a roller coaster ride, 100 feet in the air some days, 100 feet at the lowest of the low on other days. I guess this is like any other job. But teaching is really more than a job, it is indeed a vocation because you literally have to envelop yourselves into the lives of students and their wellbeing. It may not be even be all your students, it may be just one and that one may be enough.

On this day, I’m grateful for my school teachers (Mrs. Olton you were the best!), I’m grateful for my work colleagues who are truly a great group and on whom I can sincerely rely and I’m also grateful for my colleagues who I don’t work with but from whom I’ve learnt a lot.

So people, keep us in your prayers as we do our best to ensure that your child and by extension the next generation is moulded in the best way needed to develop the country.

Bless up

TMIDM