Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Superman Dilemma in Education

super_hero_flying_silhouette_116437Hi Everyone!

Four posts ago, I wrote something called The Superman Effect in Education. It discussed how teachers and students should be treated like they are super heros, meaning they should all be valued and appreciated. I received a lot of great responses on this post, and one in particular stood out:

“I always shied away from the whole “superman” analogy for teachers, because I think we shoot ourselves in the foot, when we don’t make it clear that we are only human (thus, the public’s unreasonable expectations of us).”–Bethany @ Journey to Ithaca

This is such a great comment because it reminded of something I talked about in another post called the Detachment of Education, in which I discuss the absolutely unrealistic expectations and burdens that are placed on teachers. Bethany’s comment was a reminder of that discussion and the dilemma that comes with treating teachers like super heros.  Yes, I believe that teachers are indeed super heros. However, I also believe this:

1) Teachers = Humans

NOT Teachers = Robots or Teachers = Superhumans

As I said in my “Detachment of Education” post: “I truly feel that it is a common belief that teachers are supposed to be magical robots with no feelings or emotions, and that they are placed on Earth to only teach strictly from the text to magically and easily instill knowledge on their students who all magically receive it in the same way.”

Oh, and unless they are truly robots, they cannot honestly and efficiently grade 100+ term papers in one school night.

2) Teacher ≠ Parents/Guardians

Teachers are not responsible for educating students on manners and common sense, you know, all the things that parents/guardians should do. And yet…

So, here’s a trick question: Can teachers be treated as super heros without the expectation that they literally should be?

Here’s my answer: I believe that the basis to all of this is the need for all teachers to be treated with respect and understanding. Respect what they do, understand what they do. And for the parents and students, respect and understand that you are a vital part of a successful education as well.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

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The Liebster Award

Hi Everyone,

This week I was nominated for the Liebster award by College Girl Dai.  First, I thank God for blessing me with the art of writing and inspirations to write these posts. Thank you to all my readers, followers, and commenters.  I write for you!

The funny thing about this experience is that I have only just realized that there are certain rules to the Liebster award:

“1. You must link back the person who nominated you. 

2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the person who nominated you.

3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers.

4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer. 

5. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees. “

Sooo, here I go!:

College Girl Dai’s questions and my answers:

  1. What led you to creating your blog? I wanted to inspire and teach people about hope, honor, and happiness through my words.  I wanted to touch and enlighten my readers.
  2. What is your favorite tv show(s)? I love Whose Line is it Anyway, and I love watching Japanese Animation.
  3. What is your favorite store? I love any bookstore.  Although, that’s not saying much these days.
  4. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Spending time with my husband.
  5. What is your proudest accomplishment? The completion of my first book.
  6. What is your dream job/career? Author, writer, wife, and mom all in one.
  7. If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid where would you chose to go? Japan!
  8. What is your dream car? One sick sports car.
  9. Is there a city that you wish you could live  in? Probably Kyoto or some quiet city in Japan.
  10. iPhone or Android? iPhone.  Then again, I have never had an Android.

The Ten Blogs that I have Nominated for the Liebster Award

1. Barrywax

2. Dyan Diamond

3. A Small Act of Kindness 

4. All But Homeless

5. A Blog on Prayer

6. Verawrites

7. The Narrow Path

8. 2rainydaypeople

9. Scottsholar

10. Faith Ann Colburn

Ten Questions for my Nominees

1) Why did you feel the need to start a blog?

2) Sunsets or Sunrises?

3) What is the last good movie that you have seen?

4) How would you describe compassion?

5) What is your favorite animal and why?

6) What is your favorite movie quote?

7) What is your ideal vacation?

8) What was your childhood dream?

9) If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

10) Do you enjoying dancing, even if you think you don’t know how?

Whew!  That was fun!

To those I have left off the list: you’re still important, which is why I follow you. Thank you again, Everyone.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

Do Not Forget

girl-62328_640Hi Everyone,

This past week, I have read some blog posts that really reached out and touched me.  That is because they reminded me of these important things:

 

No matter how much money you have or what job you do, our purpose in life is to help one another.  From something as small as a smile, to something as quiet as a prayer, to something as big as a hug, we are not alone on this Earth because we’re supposed to act like we are.  We are all together in this world to serve one another.  That is a direct reflection of spiritual, Godly beliefs and His light.  It is a direct reflection of who we are as a person.  Do not forget this.  And do not forget these quotes:

May you cultivate a servant’s heart so that if wealth comes your way…you will be generous to those in need. -Bill Tonnis, http://billtonnismusic.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/enter-the-kingdom/

Humility does not mean you think less of yourself –it means you think of yourself less. -Ken Blanchard

And finally, I will leave you all today with this amazing, beautiful story of kindness and compassion from Quotes Via Text’s blog:

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart wen out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey, thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to a private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach, but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying all his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.” I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse.

http://quotesviatext.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/story/

 

Peace and Love Everyone

Ariffa

You’re the Greatest Ever

number_one_smooth-150x150“You’re the best wife ever.”

“You’re the greatest husband in the world.”

“She’s the best mom ever.”

“He’s simply the greatest.”

“You’re the best grandpa in the world!”

These are words that make me smile and sometimes laugh when I say them, hear them, read them, or when they are said to me. It’s because the true meaning of these words make them that much more powerful and sweet.

When something like those words are said, they may not be taken that seriously because one may unknowingly think in the back of their mind that they cannot possibly be the greatest at something in the history of ever and the world.  And even so, these words are still gladly accepted because the general meaning is understood.

But the way I feel about it is that to everyone that loves us, we are thus a part of their world, their lives.  So within this large world are “mini worlds” that belong to each of us personally.  So, to be told that I’m the greatest wife ever means so much because in his world, in his life, I am the greatest, and out of everyone in the entire world, he has chosen me.

Everyone has the potential and power in them to be something great and to do something great.  I hope that you are and will be someone’s greatest.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

The Superman Effect in Education

Hi Everyone,

I read an article last week about something called the Superman Effect.  The term was used by a man named Aral Balkan to discuss the influence that designers have and how they are able to craft experiences.  What I liked most about this post was how its author related it to education in saying that “As teachers we have to recognise that every interaction we have with young people is an opportunity to have a positive impact upon them. Teachers are artists and lessons are our art. Being passionate about our subjects mixed with a continued desire to improve and develop our pedagogy is key to providing the ‘Superman effect’ for our students.” The author then discusses the significance of making students feel like super heros and how educators should take such into consideration.  The entire blog post can be found here.

This article spoke to me on many different levels.  First, I absolutely believe in making students, all students, feel valued, respected, and intelligent.  This is shown by how they light up when they truly understand something and when they are commended/praised.  I enjoyed seeing that when I taught ESL.  However, I was in a situation where as a student, I felt worthless.  Math was never an easy subject for me, and of course it didn’t come any easier in college.  Unfortunately for me, the professor that I had made it worse.  One of his favorite lines was “C’mon guys, this is fifth grade stuff” or “You should know this material already.”  It was awful.  And so, of course, my colleagues and I were afraid of asking questions because the material was “fifth grade stuff” and even when a question was asked, we were sometimes told that we “should know this already.”  It was so bad that when he asked,“Does anyone have any questions?” more than once, I would raise my hand and say, “Yes, can we please stop for today?”  And although my colleagues all nodded in agreement, this was, of course, to no avail.  As a result of all this, I got a D in that class, hated math more than ever, thought I was dumb for not knowing more math than I did, detested this professor, and spent most of that class fantasizing about chopping off his ponytail.

Students are not the only ones that should be treated like super heros.  Yes, I’m talking about teachers as well.  Teachers are the super heros that are hardly recognized or appreciated for being such.  It’s like they live their entire careers as Clark Kents.  Some teachers are literally the super heros to many of their students. I get so frustrated because many do not realize or appreciate how different society would be if teachers and educators were not available to inspire and educate.  And so, I will say it again:  Where would we be if teachers and educators were not available to inspire and educate?

Education is about super heros teaching super heros.  And this needs to recognized more than ever.

 Peace and Love,
Ariffa

The Power of Imagination

Dear Readers,

I often forget how truly powerful and vast our imaginations can be, and nothing reminds me more than the reading of a book. I’ve lost count of the numbers of times that I have felt such a deep connection to characters in a novel that I experience a sort of deep sadness when the book is complete. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that has felt disappointment, and even anger, when a film adaptation of a book is horrendous or a character is depicted in a way that did not necessarily match up with who I pictured in my mind. And when this happens, I often think back to something my 12th grade English teacher told me: “I stay far away from film adaptations because I don’t want the image of the book and its characters to be ruined. They’re mine.”

And she was right: our imagination, this powerful thing, belongs to us. It is amazing that we can take words and create them into meanings and imagery that apply to us and reflect certain aspects about ourselves. It’s amazing how we can take the words of someone else and make them part of ourselves. And it is even more amazing that one author’s imagination can ignite inspiration in someone else. The same goes for any artist.

This is why I love reading and writing, and why I wish so much more emphasis was placed on these subjects as opposed to science and math. It is often said that children should be encouraged to dream and use their imagination. This is true, but why should they stop as they get older? I don’t think many realize that imagination is what writing is all about. For example, a teacher or professor may give an essay or presentation assignment on a book, and receive an immense variety of topics and themes that stood out to each student individually. I found it so interesting to listen and read about aspects of a novel or play that I never thought about or perhaps see a view on a character I never considered. It was like getting a sneak peek into the minds of my peers, understanding them a bit more.

Growing up, my favorite books for my brother and I were After Hamelin, Marco Millions, and of course, Harry Potter. We often talked and joked about why we liked them so much, and we eventually agreed that they took us to a different world. Our bodies may have been snuggled in our beds, but our minds and imaginations were taken on an amazing journey that we wished would never end. Have you ever looked up from a book you were reading and forgot that you were in the real world? Yeah, it was like that, and I hope that Kingdom of the Sun can give you the same feeling.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

My Words

My book, Kingdom of the Sun. Publishing Soon!

Dear Readers,

On many occasions I have discussed the power and influence of language and the significance of the ability to see and feel one another.  Today I would like to talk about language as it relates to my words and why I write.

With words I can create riddles that may seem simple on the surface, but mean so much more underneath.  Words like: “Education needs to be Education” and “Live Life for a Life for Life.”

I can create anything I want, in any way I want, and call it my own.

With my words, I can formulate ideas, concepts, and imagery that once read on paper, become a part of you as they enter your mind and hopefully, your heart.

I can make you see things that perhaps you have never seen.

I can make you understand something that used to perplex you.

I can make you hear me without hearing me.

I can make you feel me without touching me.

And maybe, just maybe, I can make you believe in things you had no faith in, or perhaps…remove your faith in things you once believed.

My words are power and strength.  They are joy and sadness.  They are memories and dreams.  They are filled with hope and a message.

All for you.

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

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