There should be no surprise to you that I’m a christian. I do not follow denominations and I’m not the religious type. In fact, I think that religion as we know is much more about politics and economy, hence power than spirituality. But that’s not really why I’m writing this post.
I’m not just a teacher. I’m a mother and a wife. A mother of two grown-ups who are still finding their way around this world and a little one who just turned five. Recently, I wrote about how my family view me as a teacher. Because of family, we have certain limitations. I try to make sure that I never get sick myself, but sometimes things happen. And yesterday was the day. If it weren’t for the fact that I work for an amazing Educational Institute that takes into consideration people as well as the job itself, I don’t know what I would’ve done. In our school, collaboration is the core of our institution. In fact our PD theme this year is cooperation. A lot of gifts of humanity I have received from the HR to the financial department, from my supervisor to my colleagues, they all have saved me and my family more than once. To give you a taste to what is like working here, I’ll share two moments. When I was pregnant some of my friend-teachers would not let me walk home. I had this big belly that made people think I was going to have a twin. People often asked. And I had my financial department asking me if I needed money in advance so it could help with my husband’s medical expenses. It’s not a perfect place because we are not perfect. It’s a place made of humans. But the fact that people are able to see you is priceless. I don’t earn a bad salary either. This is the place I don’t want to leave ever.
Yesterday, my supervisor came to my classroom to tell me that something had happened at home and it needed my attention urgently. I contacted home straight way and while she was sitting next to me and comforting me, she waited patiently for the call to end and to decide together what we were going to do about my classes in the afternoon and evening. After chatting and making some decisions about who could substitute me (she did for two of my classes) and a dear friend of mine would in the evening. She reassigned her from another task so she could do it.
We have a group on Whatsapp and the messages of support came in and news went out. I work in a department that people care for each other. I have no doubt about it. When one is in need, the other one chips in and do whatever they can to help one another carry the load. My supervisor has always been good at trying to make us bring the best of us and being democratic. The language department was founded in 2008 and it has been a growing experience to all of us. How can we be so united and yet so different from each other? The answer will be different from each of us, for sure. But for me, it is love and respect. I love them with all my heart and I try not to be so annoying when the geek in me kicks in. I’ve learned through the years how to manage my tone of voice and words I use or if I can’t do that, I just shut up.
Believe me, I can be annoying. On social media I don’t feel obliged to conform to these self-rules I have made for myself because people have a choice to engage in a conversation or ignore me. And believe me that ignoring me does not upset me at all. So, feel free to just not comment on my blog, not respond to my messages or tweeters. I totally respect that. In fact, we can never see the value of being different if we lose the sight of respect. My favorite quote from Paulo Freire reads,
“There isn’t such a thing as the best knowledge, there is in fact, different kinds of knowledge. They are neither better or worse than the other. They are just different.” (my free translation)
As such they can contribute for the development of new knowledge and understandings. I love that! I learned to learn from others because of Freire and my faith in Christ. Freire taught me that in education setting, the urge to feel superior is what creates the power play and this we should avoid at all cost. Knowledge can boost our career! True, someone with a M.A or a PhD will be more respected than a teacher without it. Knowledge in this world is power. I’m aware of that. But my faith in Christ always keep me where I’m supposed to be and my goals aligned with people, not power.
And here are the people I work very close to and who I have much to thank for.