Complicated

I was chatting to a friend yesterday about how complicated we make our lives. This week has really demonstrated to me just how true this is.

My leaving teaching has been years in the making, and I mean, years. For some people, it must be the most cliche and boring mantra ever lol. But, it had to be a process for me, and by being a process, I made it all a lot more complicated.

I still remember the day I raced home and informed my Mum that I was going to be a teacher. I just knew. I was five. I was so excited. And, I didn’t really or seriously ever from this path, until a couple of years ago. I’m now 47. I have been teaching since 1993. I was insanely passionate about it for the vast majority of those years.

What killed my passion?

Politics, bureaucracy, stupid decisions by the Department of Education, and their inability to see and respect teachers as a vital part of the education machine. Basically, teachers are required to sacrifice their soul, their personal ethics, their personal ideals, their identity, their lives, for a system that never supports their welfare first.

Yes, I still love my classroom and I adore my kids, but the stupidity of the bureaucrats is increasingly forcing its way into my classroom and into what I teach.

One of the best teachers I know refuses to play this game, at her own expense, but revitalizes my teaching every week. I will miss working with such a creative and empowering soul.

I want less fight in my life. I still want to create a different world. That was my motivation in my twenties, and it is my motivation now; however, the mode for achieving this has changed.

When I entered teaching, I was a victim of my childhood. I wanted to save others so that I could save myself. I succeeded, on both counts.

I have matured, and I have done a hell of a lot of healing.

My core values are still the same: we are all worth a lot.

Once I realised that I was worth something, it became difficult to stay somewhere I do not feel valued. The school I work at doesn’t make a difference because the system that underpins education in this country is broken. The management of it, is conducted by people who truly have no idea what teaching effectively involves and requires. The ‘system’ thinks one size fits all for schools, for staff, for kids, ironically, as they force more administration duties for differentiation onto staff.

I shake my head in disbelief.

The investigation year was difficult. I felt so guilty and so shamed. This triggered healing on different levels for me. Eighteen months after its conclusion, I realise that it is not me who was wrong. The system is.

My values no longer align with the values and philosophies of the system. I still believe that every child, every staff member, every family, is the most important thing and deserve, and are worthy, of being treated as such. One size does NOT fit all. Far from it.

And, if you’ve never experienced childhood trauma, if you’ve never set foot in a difficult classroom, if you’ve never programmed a unit, or written assessments, or spent hours marking, you shouldn’t be writing policy for education or legislating for Child Protection. It really is as simple as that.

The smashed windscreen forced me to stop living in fear of not having enough. My soul does not belong in a system that does not look after its people. My values no longer align. It is my responsibility to move to something that suits me better.

Last night, after an afternoon and evening of tutoring, I drove home with a full heart and a smile on my face. The same thing happened on Thursday night as I drove home.

I’m still making a difference in children’s lives, and they are still making a difference in mine.

I still program, I still teach, I’m still ‘saving’ kids. And, I’m doing it without fear. I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’m just being and doing, breathing and loving. Myself and them.

Maybe, I just reached a point in healing my own trauma and pain, and I’m ready to fly. Maybe, I’m ready to grow and live large, and really own my potential in changing the world. Maybe, I’m just remembering the whole of who I am, and systems don’t support the individual expression and accumulated knowledge.

And, maybe, I’m just overthinking it all, making it more complicated.

Anyway, I’m on the bridge. I’m almost to the other side; eight more steps. It’s scary and it’s liberating, all in one.

Doing what fills my heart is the right thing. I don’t know exactly where I’m heading, but I know I’m heading somewhere. I’m doing what makes me happy, where my skills and talents are at the fore, I’m living a passionate life, and I feel truly blessed.

I wish this for everyone who doesn’t have it. It’s scary changing course, very scary, that’s why it’s taken me so long. It’s hard to leave everything you’ve ever known and take a leap in faith.

Today, when I leave for a long day of work, I will feel light and happy. Tonight, when I arrive home, I will feel full and extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in a job I love so much.

Today, I won’t be sworn at, my windscreen won’t be smashed, my things won’t be stolen, I will only have the paperwork and admin to do that benefits myself and my clients directly. I’ll still be programming, targeting the needs of my kids, supporting their holistic learning, and connecting with community. I’ll be doing things that are purposeful and soul filling.

That’s the difference.

It’s time for this bird to fly. I might crash, but if I do, it will be on my terms and because of my actions.

Bullying ๐Ÿ˜ณ

My puppy sits on the lounge and watches television. When any animal comes on (I now think it may be when he wants a cuddle), he barks and does a little dance. This morning, Queensland’s Premier, Anastasia Palaszuck (spelt wrong – sorry), was on television demanding a national plan for bullying to be stopped in schools in the wake of Dolly’s suicide as a result of ongoing bullying.

I’m a big fan of bullying being outlawed. But, I’m not an idiot. This is way too simplistic an idea. It will not work. For so many reasons.

Bullying has existed for a long time. A long time. Not just in schools, but in workplaces and homes amongst adults first and foremost.

Bullying happens when there is an imbalance of power. It stems from the ego governing the choices of a human. That ego is often fed by a deep insecurity and fear that the person has no power themselves. The person addresses this by exerting power over another. When this happens, repeatedly, to the same person, we call it bullying.

Until our society works on healing the damaged adults who model this behavior, and we call systems to account (like institutions whose policies mandate bullying behavior), bullying amongst children in schools will continue.

However, we can attempt to mitigate the impact of bullying by strengthening the resilience of children and, case by case, responsibly dealing with early incidents of bullying. This, too, requires that egos be checked at the door.

By ego, I am referring to the part of our psyche that tells us we aren’t good enough or that something is our fault (this ego operates from a lack position), and so we become aggressive and single minded when we try to bring a situation back to balance (impossible, where the ego is concerned, because it needs to win to be satisfied).

Bullying is not okay. Not ever. Not between adults, not between kids, not towards animals.

It will continue to happen whilst ever our society runs on the adrenaline of ego, whilst ever one person has more power than another (and uses it to further their own desires), and whilst ever power structures form the foundation of every organization, including government.

So, dealing with bullying. I am often charged with handling a bullying situation at school. This often occurs at an early point because I don’t tolerate kids saying mean things to one another or being mean to one another.

In fact, in my classroom I maintain strict expectations for how we treat each other during the learning process. I expect students to respond to questions, to ask questions and to make mistakes freely ( we learn more from mistakes than getting things right). I create a safe environment for this to happen, to empower my students to learn.

I warn my students that no one will laugh at someone else without serious consequences. They only ever need one example of someone being minimized and me reacting to know that I am true to my word.

Whatever people think of my strategies, they work. Kids feel safe with me and they learn. I pride myself (bloody ego) on creating a safe learning environment for my kids. This extends beyond the classroom walls.

I am regarded by some as a bitch. I don’t care. Students in my classes regard me as fair and only a bitch if I catch you doing something you shouldn’t. I have had many kids referred to me by ex students who say, Go see Meyer. She’ll deal with it. Yes, yes I will. Every child deserves to feel and to be safe at school.

I will share my process. This is a general summary. Every situation is different and might require some tweaking, but this is it basically.

I speak to both kids individually. I try to work out what has happened and why it has happened. From both sides. Why is the bully needing the power and why is the victim willing to sacrifice their’s.

Before you jump, I have been bullied. In each case, I need to work out for myself, why I sacrificed my power. It’s a hard conversation to have with yourself because we lie to make ourselves feel better. I encourage the kids to be honest with themselves, and with me, so that we can resolve the core issues.

Often, bullying isn’t about either child, it is about the feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness – on both sides. These need to be resolved so that the bullying does not continue.

I will then often sit the kids together and I mediate a conversation, a sharing of how each child feels and the real reasons as to why. The kids start to see their same-ness rather than their difference. I do a lot of the talking in this mediation until the kids feel safe with being honest. It usually results in a lot of tears (from me too – nothing more beautiful than kids seeing each other as equals after pain and seeing a way out) and resolution.

Very rarely have their been repeat offenses. And, if there are, I become a bully to the bully. Not nice, but effective.

The core issues are integral to solutions. They are often ignored in the resolution of bullying incidences. There is too much blame and too much anger and too much a need to be right rather than happy. Us adults model this poor behavior all of the time. We need to model our authentic selves rather than our masked selves.

Realistically, the solution to bullying relies on us adults being honest with ourselves. The bandaid solutions that will filter down from government are bullshit. They will achieve nothing. Us adults needs to be empowered to be our best selves. Only then will we empower our kids to be their best selves. Only then.

An Unfortunate Culture

I woke up this morning to my Facebook feed, as I do most mornings (this from a person who in the early nineties was never going to get the internet because only bad things could come – insert forehead slap here).

Van Badham, an Australian commentator, has shared an article about Don Burke’s predatory bullying and misogynistic behaviour, and how the Channel 9 Television Network took no appropriate action because he was their cash cow. They acknowledge, at the least, that there was gossip about Don Burke’s behaviour, but nothing was formally reported.

Who knows what is true.

In the comments, often the best part of anything on the internet, was a seemingly harmless comment along the lines of, “This is so sad if it is true.” The man, probably thinking nothing much of the words he chose, opened himself up to some not nice responses. In one, he was called a “douchebag.” He tried to defend himself by replying that he hadn’t said he didn’t believe it, but he was erring on the side of caution until Don Burke was in front of a court, rather than being tried on social media alone.

God love him. His argument appears logical. I lean towards agreeing with him. I do believe that any court would find Don Burke guilty; there seems to be a lot of evidence, a lot of reports with similar themes, and a lot of witnesses to the behaviour.

However, it sent me into a tail spin. I was drafting a comment to let him know that I had heard him, but I couldn’t find the words to express it clearly, without sounding like I was supporting Don Burke’s disgraceful behaviour.

That forced me to look at my own potential biases. Where does my need to defend this man come from? Am I being so careful to not become part of a witch hunt that I am complicit in seemingly condoning bad behaviour? What is right and what is wrong?

I get that the man who commented and was then attacked, probably didn’t think his seemingly innocuous comment would unleash what it unleashed. Probably didn’t think. Probably doesn’t need to think. It is obvious from his replies and attempts to protect himself, that he didn’t mean harm and was not condoning Don Burke’s behaviour. The responders didn’t want to see that.

But, our society’s culture did and still does permit Don Burke’s behaviour. Women and girls are still routinely subjected to comments about their appearance, their sexuality, their personalities, their everything, and much of it is demeaning.

We are held to ridiculous standards of beauty and minimalised for our opinions if we dare speak them. For Christ’s sake, our first female Prime Minister was routinely attacked for not being married, for being childless, for her clothing choices, for the size of her bottom and for the colour of her hair. And so many moronic imbeciles condoned this behaviour from the media, and it validated misogynistic behaviours and attitudes from unintelligent people who then felt they had a public platform and public permissionto air this vitriol.

Australia went backwards at this point. Thank you, Tony Abbott and Australian media.

We then had the atrocious behaviours from Harvey Weinstein in the US made public, following the #metoo movement (interestingly, following on from the allegations against Bill Cosby which did not give rise to such a furore – I wonder if colour plays a part here). This opened Pandora’s box. In the US and here too. And, rightly so. For so long there has been none or not enough public condemnation of this type of behaviour.

I used the me too hash tag. I debated using it. I read articles from women who were against it, believing it marginalised men and vilified innocent men. It may have done. It was also argued that no woman should feel pressured to own their abuse/assault in a public forum. I don’t think there was pressure; it was personal choice.

I think it was powerful, ultimately. I think it provided an alternative platform for women to own their assaults/abuse (the distinction being that abuse is longer term). It was empowering. For me, who speaks and writes openly about my life, it wasn’t too big a deal. For others, who don’t, and who chose to use the hash tag, it was empowering and unifying. They knew they were not alone.This enables and empowers healing. It strips shame away. It makes the abuse the focus, not the individual.

And, the hash tag wasn’t gender specific – males suffer abuse and assaults. That is undeniable. The impact of violation does not discriminate; however, for way too long, too many women have endured the shame and guilt that comes with behaviour that is not condemned by our society. And I feel myself checking myself, too many people.

Gender politics. I am a feminist. I have been marginalised because I am a woman. I have fought harder because I am a woman. I have been abused because I am a woman. And, a strong woman at that. Intelligent, compassionate, articulate, informed.

I have also been privileged to work with a therapist who has empowered me to see what I have yielded as a result of the abuses against (for) me. And I mean privileged. So many are not in the position where they can afford or access this type of therapy (Demartini).

For every male student who has disclosed abuse to me, I have had five female students disclose. Neither is supported adequately at the end of the day, despite all of the child protection rhetoric. It’s all about ticking boxes. And this entitled behaviour from all genders needs to stop.

But, we all need to understand that change is a process and learning the right language takes time, and at the end of the day, only compassion and love will move us forward.

Abuse, assault, bullying, aggression, unkindness, violence – it all stems from the same place – disconnection. We need to work together to change this unfortunate culture, not against one another.

The Magick of Kampuchea: Pol Pot

The Khmer are a resilient people. It has been just under thirty years since Pol Pot died and his specific regime ended. Our current guide lost most of his family during this time.

It hits home how blessed we truly are in Australia to have not known long term war or totalitarianism on our shores. We have been involved in the conflicts of others, but not on our ground. No comment to make there.

It also makes me even crankier that some Australians take their freedoms and their right to vote for granted. It isn’t hard to do the research on google to make an informed vote. Enough said on that.

We haven’t been to the museum; I don’t think we needed to. We were informed by our first guide that we wouldn’t see many elderly people, especially in the cities. Very true. A whole generation of people is missing or very underrepresented.

In the rural areas, we have been privileged to see life how it is. People that have little, but are happy. Consumerism, especially overconsumption, tends to not bring very much long term happiness. I know that myself from my experiences this year. It is important to be able to live, but money does not bring happiness.

Dominant Culture Privilege

You know, it’s very easy to sit back and judge. It’s probably the easiest thing in the world to do. Even easier to sit and judge from your own perspective, your own context, and not give time to a different perspective.

We are all guilty of this. Including me. And, regrettably, I continue to be despite my best efforts to be a better and less judgemental, more open, person.

For all of my youthful years I celebrated Australia Day on 26 January. I am, and always have been, in principle, a proud Australian. I am not always proud of my countrymen’s behaviour, choices and attitudes, but I love Australia and the potential it offers for an amazing life.

At some point though, in my celebration of Australia Day, I hit a point of realisation, as I became better educated, that that particular day was a day that marks a period of time that Australians today should not be proud of. For our first people, our Indigenous brothers and sisters, it marks a horrific turning point in their collective history.

The start of a genocide, not just of people, but of language, culture, beliefs, tribal systems and hierarchies, their entire way of life and way of knowing was attacked. Today, we still see the impact of this, and statistics validate the argument that there is a significant gap between the success rates in education of the dominant culture to the indigenous culture.

The Stolen Generations, as one example only, is not something restricted to the past. The forcible and government mandated removal of children from their biological parent is something that occurred during my lifetime. The effects of this still impact an entire generation of people.

And so, I stopped celebrating. I stopped attending barbeques, stopped listening to the hottest hundred, stopped participating in Invasion Day. At the time, most people didn’t get it. Today, more and more people are starting to express the same sentiment.

I don’t mind being different when I am standing in my truth.

In Australia, we pride ourselves on the ideal of inclusivity. I don’t believe that we are. I think we are deluding ourselves. We may once have been, but even this is highly doubtful to me. Inclusivity exists only for the dominant culture.

As a child of migrant parents, one German, in the seventies and eighties, at school, post WWII, I remember being bullied for being a “kraut” and kids would chant “Sieg Heil” at me.

What dicks.

But, as a child, I was told I was different; there was no inclusivity here. And, I only knew Australia. I was born here. This was my home. As an adult who chose blonde hair, I had other adults inform me that I could not possibly understand racism; I belonged to the dominant, blonde haired, Australian culture.

As a high school teacher with interesting ideals, pedagogy and methodology, I have always felt marginalised. I have never quite belonged because I have never embraced the status quo; it didn’t work for me. So, I found teaching not very inclusive too.

What I have learned from all of this, plus more, is that until we have walked in the shoes of another, or made serious attempts to empathise with the perspective of another, we are engaging in dominant culture privilege.

Just because the majority may think it, doesn’t make it right or true or inclusive. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change or revise or grow. When one person does not feel included, we cannot argue that we are an inclusive democracy.

Do I even need to connect marriage equality to this argument. No question mark. Seriously, Australia, wake up. Dominant culture privilege.

And, the rights of people with disability. I know a child with Autism who is being deliberately bullied at a local Catholic high school by a mob of his peers, to the extent that he is expressing extreme anxiety and suicidal tendencies, whilst the school continues to argue that they can’t do anything about it. Dominant culture privilege.

We are so ego based that we fail to focus on what is in the collective best interests. We don’t want to ‘lose’ that which is sacred to us, but we are happy to deprive others of the same.

Time to evolve, to ascend, to be better because we know better.

The Inevitableย 

It’s 1.35 in the morning. I fell asleep on the lounge around 9.30 last night, waking up an hour ago. I’m now in bed but can’t sleep. I’m reflecting on my week. 

Last night I realized that the inevitable had happened. I have emotionally connected with and become attached to a group of adults and kids at another school. And, I’m okay with it. 

I’ve also realized that whilst I can come across as very arrogant, and at times, behave arrogantly, it’s mostly because I am really good at what I do. Not perfect but really good. And not acknowledged by those in charge, in a very broad sense, for it. I think the arrogance, if that is what it even is, stems from that quest for someone to acknowledge it. A result of damage and trauma no doubt. 

I had a success at work. It made my heart melt. I smiled inside all afternoon. I felt connection. 

There is a boy who struggles with change. The first few times I relieved for various teachers, he couldn’t even come into the room. On Monday he came into the room, and he stayed in the room even when he had the opportunity to leave. 

Yesterday he was reluctant to come into the room but did. And then he started to tease me and play with me. He smiled and he laughed and I just watched him blossom right in front of me into his potential as a happy person. It was so magickal. This transformation. Wow. He trusted me. 

It is such a gift to become the custodian of someone’s trust. As a teacher, it is our reward.

He completed no work but I have always maintained that to learn, we need to trust the teacher, and building that relationship takes time. Small steps. Being consistently in the unit is enabling and empowering me to build the relationships, with kids and with the staff. 

I think I’m feeling a return, from deep inside of my soul, to my passion for teaching, separate from the bullshit that can be the profession. A return to wanting to make a difference in people’s lives. To caring and to trust that caring is okay. 

And inevitably, this leads to an understanding of the extent to which last year has damaged me. I always trusted that my employers would look after me, and they didn’t. And this is why, even with renewed passion and yearning to make a difference, my days in the profession are restricted. 

Teachers need to feel empowered and inspired by the leaders in their organization, and that doesn’t happen. To ‘succeed’ you need to be a certain type of person, and that isn’t me, can’t be me, not interested in it being me. I have always created my own success in partnership with my kids. And that was enough for a very long time. 

But it isn’t anymore. I’ve lost respect for the institution. I don’t trust that the organization knows what is in the best interests of its ‘clients’, and that teachers are no longer empowered or supported to undertake their core duties. You need to look no further than NAPLAN reform and continual syllabi changes to see this. 

There needs to be fundamental change in every aspect of and at every level of the education machine in this country, and unfortunately, apart from the odd random twinge of politicalisation, I’m not interested in the fight. Maybe that spirit will return one day, but I don’t see it happening just now. 

Still too damaged. 

Climate Change? Hmmm …

Throughout the years, I have had many discussions with intelligent people about the validity of climate change. Is the earth freezing inevitable? Historically, yes. This fast? Nup, I don’t think so. 

Regardless, I think we do need to look at the way that we live in the first world. We are disconnected, we are out of balance, and we have lost respect for the miracle of nature and it’s ecosystem. People, animals, the earth … all in crisis. 

Click the link. We have been on this planet for not much more than a blink of the eyes …

http://youtu.be/VrzbRZn5Ed4

“Trauma not transformed becomes trauma transferred.”

Below is a link to a TED Talk presented by Ashley Judd. It has strong language content (including the c word) and some possible triggers for trauma in all its guises (in particular sexual assault and/or domestic violence). 

But it is amazing. 

Ashley Judd is a Hollywood actress and is outspoken. She speaks up. In fact, I should have introduced her as an activist first. That says something. 

Her talk focuses on gender trolling online and how that manifests in women’s real lives. Some of you may roll your eyes at this point, maybe stop reading, maybe not click the link. It will not only be your loss but also the world’s loss. She has some things to say that we all need to hear. And that we need to act on. 

Now. 

I have seen this gender specific trolling in comments on posts on Facebook (my social media addiction of choice). They appear whenever a woman voices an opinion. The trolling is designed to minimise the voices of women and terrify women into submission. 

It is disgusting. 

When we minimise, demonise or objectify women, we are changing the fabric and humanity of society. The consequences of this serve none of us in the long term. 

We all need to be supported to fulfil our potential and purpose in living. For anyone to intentionally bring another person down and corrupt this process is not only reprehensible but also exceptionally dangerous. When we are treated as less than, the ripple effect permanently changes the world we live in. Trauma not transformed becomes trauma transferred, and we are all responsible for minimising the impact of trauma as well as the incidence of it. 

I hope you ‘enjoy’ the talk. 

How online abuse of women has spiraled out of control https://www.ted.com/talks/ashley_judd_how_online_abuse_of_women_has_spiraled_out_of_control

Why They Leave

There has been more exposure in the last week, in the broad media, regarding the increasingly high numbers of teachers leaving teaching. One such article suggested that 53% of trained teachers are no longer working in the field. They always focus on the young teachers. Older teachers are leaving or taking extended periods of leave too. Like me. 

The reporters state that there is not enough data about why teachers aren’t teaching. I scoff at this. The Department has our details. Call them. Or continue reading …

When I decided to be a teacher, I felt the calling. I was only 5 so I couldn’t articulate why, I just knew teaching was what I was meant to do. Initially I wanted to be a primary school teacher but by the time I was seventeen, I had moved into a calling for high school teaching. I loved English, so high school English became the dream.

My home experiences during my adolescence also impacted this change. After my parents divorced when I was in Year 8, and fighting in both homes became the norm, culminating in me moving between my mum and my dad’s houses, and ultimately living in a caravan in a friend’s backyard for a few months after receiving the beating of a lifetime, I didn’t want any child to feel as alone as I had during my high school years. I vowed that whilstever I was in a school, kids would have an adult they could turn to for support, whether I taught them or not. For me, it was the responsibility of the adults to protect the children. 

When I was in my first year of teaching, 1993, I was interviewed by a local newspaper. They asked why I wanted to teach. My response was simple, “To change the world.” 

Over time this idealism has tempered itself. I still want to change the world, and believe education is vital in this, but have settled for changing the children’s lives I teach so that they are empowered and enabled to change the world. 

So, why am I on leave, initially hoping to leave teaching (but not so much today because I miss it from my core)? 

Because teaching is run by bureaucrats and politicians who have absolutely no idea about what teaching is, and why teachers teach. 

As a result, the art of teaching has been seriously compromised. 

Administration duties have taken over from the magic of programming, preparing lessons and units, and actually teaching. Stupid behaviour and clothing restrictions have been mandated to ensure that teachers are “professional” (pfft, please, professionalism is an attitude not an appearance). 

Data collection, which only serves to demoralise teachers and students, and takes away from the magic of teaching by taking time from preparing resources, has become the most recent catch cry; let’s take time from teachers teaching to collect data do that the results for kids stay low. 

Teachers, young and old, to stay on top of everything that is required, lose the precious work-life balance, lose time with their families, lose time to exercise, lose time full stop, and begin to resent the career they so nobly entered. 

Not only that, but teachers are no longer respected by society. Parents think nothing of abusing teachers, of telling them how to do their job, and of enabling their child’s poor behaviour choices to continue. All the while, belittling the teacher’s knowledge of children and pedagogy. The media, politicians, parents, the average person on the steeet, all think they know better than the people at the chalk face. I shake my head. 

And then, there is no protection for the teachers who find themselves facing an investigation, or accusations of misconduct, or being bullied by other teachers/deputy principals/principals/students, because the child comes first. And whilst they should, it shouldn’t always be at the expense of diligent teachers who are doing the best they can under hopeless circumstances most of the time. 

As a classroom teacher, throughout the last twenty four years, I can’t tell you how many mandatory referrals I have made to principals with students who have suffered some type of heinous abuse. I can tell you how many times the system has supported my welfare needs at these times. Nil. We are expected to listen to the crimes of others, deal with the results of post traumatic stress in our kids, refer them so that the system can continue to let the kids down because the system is under resourced and under funded, WITH NO SUPPORT for us. 

At the end of the year before last, I faced an excruciating decision: immediately refer alleged misconduct of another staff member possibly setting the kids up for reprisals without ongoing support, or protect the welfare of myself and the kids and build resilience so we could cope with the fallout. I waited to refer, I did refer, but not straight away. 

Investigation. 

I could cop that except that it was months of not knowing before I found out why I was under investigation, and then more months before I had a chance to respond, and then because other people lied in their reports and the investigators did not ask me for evidence (dodgy investigation at best), I was labelled as a self-serving liar.

Teachers are leaving because it is not the profession it once was, and because they are not protected from ever increasing workload, attacks from every angle, and dodgy investigations. Because they receive no support to do their job. Because society is disconnected and kids embody this disconnection and teachers deal with the impact of this every day. Because the system doesn’t cater for changes in the way kids learn in the 21st century. 

Because it is just too hard … 

and no one cares. 

Crisis of Confidence

I finished last year on such a high. My Indian experience truly transformed my life by empowering me to integrate the different aspects of self and identity roles. I was unable to return home and not make significant change. This was a process. By following the signs and saying yes to different opportunities, I finally opted to take leave from permanent full time teaching this year. A massive decision. My identity as a teacher has sustained me for many years. 

During the last four weeks, my identity labeling has shifted. I am now considering myself as more than a high school English teacher. And man, that is terrifying. 

But today, interestingly and ironically, Mike Baird has resigned as Premier of my home state, New South Wales. He has cited the necessity to spend more time with his family as his main reason. I hope there isn’t a scandal waiting in the wings because his reason has impressed me. 

As a people, we seem to have surrendered the important things in life for work, addiction, fear. It doesn’t seem that many of us are living our best and most authentic lives. Most people I speak to feel a yearning, irrespective of how small, for something different. And most of us use fear as a reason for not seeking it. 

I am feeling that fear every day. I am so worried that I won’t have enough money for all of my adventures, then not enough time for everything I want to achieve. Bloody fear. It won’t stop me from walking this path. I have paid many deposits for a variety of travels and have paid in full my flights to Perth and Minnesota/Las Vegas. I will write my book and I will empower my business to do what it needs to do, but I am scared. 

Today I pulled out a Butterfly Affirmation Card and I giggled: 


I have faith that all will be well and that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I just want to acknowledge out loud that it isn’t easy. I am hoping that disclosing it will calm my mind and pacify my fear. 

You have to laugh. 

Mike Baird answered questions at the end of his resignation speech. The journalists attacked him, expectedly. Why did you promise to continue as recently as December last year? When did you make this decision? Where were you? Why are you doing this? 

It takes courage to stand against expectation, to walk a different path, your own organic path, to put yourself first, to create a new reality for your life, but I think it costs the soul more if you don’t. 

Kudos to Mike Baird today, for his resignation has reminded me that my choices are right for me. As a result, this upcoming year of transition, transformation, and discovery will continue to permit growth, and enable me to live fully and authentically. 

Scared but infinitely blessed. 

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