What Teachers Make

He says the problem with teachers is, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?” He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers: Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

I decide to bite my tongue instead of his and resist the temptation to remind the other dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about lawyers. Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite company.

“I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor,” he says. “Be honest. What do you make?”

And I wish he hadn’t done that (asked me to be honest) because, you see, I have a policy about honesty and ass-kicking: if you ask for it, I have to let you have it.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional medal of honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face. How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups. No, you may not ask a question. Why won’t I let you get a drink of water? Because you’re not thirsty, you’re bored, that’s why.

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home: I hope I haven’t called at a bad time, I just wanted to talk to you about something Billy said today. Billy said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?” And it was the noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder, I make them question. I make them criticize. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them write, write, write. And then I make them read. I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful over and over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again.

I make them show all their work in math. And hide it on their final drafts in English. I make them understand that if you got this (brains) then you follow this (heart) and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you give them this (the finger).

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true: I make a goddamn difference!

What about you?

~ Taylor Mali ~

Seven Principles of an Eagle

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie, that I like to share again and again. I personally disagree with the first one. I trul;y believe that we become stronger and better people the more we mix with other people and species. We have a lot to learn from each other and knowledge can be found in the smallest of creatures living in the worst of conditions. It makes no sense to foster pride and arrogance that would have us look down on others.

1. Eagles fly alone at a high altitude and not with sparrows; they do not mix with other smaller birds. Birds of a feather flock together. No other bird goes to the height of the eagle. Eagles fly with eagles. Never in a flock. Even when Moses went to commune with God on the mountain, he left the crowd at the foothills. Stay away from sparrows and ravens. Eagles fly with eagles.

2. Eagles have strong vision, which focuses up to 5 kilometers from the air. When an eagle sites his prey, even a rodent from this distance, he narrows his focus on it and sets out to get it. No matter the obstacle, the eagle will not move his focus from the prey until he grabs it. Have a vision and remain focused no matter what the obstacle and you will succeed.

3. Eagles do not eat dead things. They feed on fresh prey. Vultures eat dead animals but not eagles. Steer clear of outdated and old information. Do your research well always.

4. The Eagle is the only bird that loves the storm. When clouds gather, the eagle gets excited. He uses the wings of the storm to rise and is pushed up higher. Once he finds the wing of the storm, he stops flapping and uses the pressure of the raging storm to soar the clouds and glide. This gives the eagle an opportunity to rest its wings! In the meantime all the other birds hide in the leaves and branches of the trees. Use the storms of your life (obstacles, trouble etc) to rise to greater heights. Achievers relish challenges and use them profitably.

5. The Eagle tests before it trusts. When a female eagle meets a male and they want to mate, she flies down to earth with the male pursing her and she picks a twig. She flies back into the air with the male pursuing her. Once she has reached a height high enough for her, she lets the twig fall to the ground and watches it as it falls. The male chases after the twig. The faster it falls, the faster he chases until he reaches it and has to catch it before it falls to the ground, then bring it back to the female eagle. The female eagle grabs the twig and flies to a much higher altitude pursued by the male until she perceives it high enough, and then drops the twig for the male to chase. This goes on for hours, with the height increasing until the female eagle is assured that the male eagle has mastered the art of picking the twig which shows commitment, then and only then, will she allow him to mate with her! Whether in private life or in business, one should test commitment of people intended for partnership.

6. Eagles prepare for training. When about to lay eggs, the female and male eagle identify a place very high on a cliff where no predators can reach; the male flies to earth and picks thorns and lays them on the crevice of the cliff, then flies to earth again to collect twigs which he lays in the intended nest. He flies back to earth picks thorns and lays them on top of the twigs. He flies back to earth and picks soft grass to cover the thorns, and then flies back to pick rugs to put on the grass. When this first layering is complete the male eagle runs back to earth and picks more thorns, lays them on the nest; runs back to get grass and rugs and lays them on top of the thorns, then plucks his feathers to complete the nest. The thorns on the outside of the nest protect it from possible intruders. Both male and female eagles participate in raising the eagle family. She lays the eggs and protects them; he builds the nest and hunts. During the time of training the young ones to fly, the mother eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest and because they are scared, they jump into the nest again. Next, she throws them out and then takes off the soft layers of the nest, leaving the thorns bare. When the scared eaglets jump into the nest again, they are pricked by thorns. Shrieking and bleeding they jump out again this time wondering why the mother and father who love them so much are torturing them. Next, mother eagle pushes them off the cliff into the air. As they shriek in fear, father eagle flies out and picks them up on his back before they fall, and brings them back to the cliff. This goes on for sometime until they start flapping their wings. They get excited at this newfound knowledge that they can fly and not fall at such a fast rate. The father and mother eagle supports them with their wings. The preparation of the nest teaches us to prepare for changes; The preparation for the family teaches us that active participation of both partners leads to success; The being pricked by the thorns tells us that sometimes being too comfortable where we are may result into our not experiencing life, not progressing and not learning at all. We may not know it but the seemingly comfortable and safe haven may have thorns. The people who love us do not let us languish in sloth but push us hard to grow and prosper. Even in their seemingly bad actions they have good intentions for us.

7. When the Eagle grows old, his feathers become weak and cannot take him as fast as he should. When he feels weak and about to die, he retires to a place far away in the rocks. While there, he plucks out every feather on his body until he is completely bare. He stays in this hiding place until he has grown new feathers, then he can come out. We occasionally need to shed off old habits and items that burden us without adding to our lives…

Dr Myles Munroe (edited)

Dr Myles Munroe is the Founder, President, and Senior Pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries International, an all-encompassing network of ministries headquartered in Nassau, Bahamas. He is a multi-gifted international motivational speaker, best selling author and business consultant addressing critical issues affecting every aspect of human, social and spiritual development.

Do we need special schools for black kids in Britain?

Government research shows that black pupils, especially those of Afro-Caribbean origin, are three times more likely than white pupils to be excluded from school.

There are two conflicting, yet plausible, explanations to this phenomenon: Either black children in general are worse behaved and less academically driven than white children, or our schools are quite simply failing the black students. Wanless suggested the latter to be the case and branded our school system “institutionally racist”.

Regardless of which explanation we believe to be true, the key fact remains: black pupils are disproportionately denied mainstream education and the subsequent life chances it normally offers. As a result, these children are more likely to resort to antisocial behaviour, smoking, drinking, taking drugs, and committing serious crimes. Furthermore, they are less likely to achieve five good GCSEs (or an equivalent qualification), more likely to be unemployed and likely to earn on average £36,000 less during their lifetimes. (The Independent, 2006)

Do we need special schools for black kids in Britain?

Support Fenrose bid for twitch tv affiliation

12 Sofia needs support on twitch

As you may have seen or heard already, my daughter Sofia is upping her game and going for affiliate level on twitch (which is where you start making money), and to reach that goal she needs more followers.

So, how can I help? I hear you asking.

1) Well, If you’re already on twitch and want to follow a female gamer with an attitude that’ll make you laugh, just go to twitch.tv/fenrose and click the little 💜 button to follow her.

2) If you’re into gaming, but not on twitch, then I would suggest you go to twitch.tv to get yourself signed on and then you proceed according to the instructions in 1).

3) If you’re not on twitch, and not really into gaming, but still keen on supporting Sofia as she begins to create a niche for herself within the gaming industry, just go to twitch.tv/fenrose and click on any of her videos. Then turn the volume off and go for a walk, read a book, watch a film in another tab, do some gardening, knit a jumper or whatever you can think of that interests you more than a gaming video. Each view counts when you’re building a platform, so you can actually help without having to register anywhere or ever watching a live stream or gaming video.

4) If you cannot do any of the above, you can still help by sharing this post so that more people can see it.

Thank you and much love,

//Evalena xx


On Solicitude and Storytelling

Last year, after ten years of professional networking on facebook, I decided it was time to start a new chapter. My professional days, no matter how badly I wished this was not the case, were over and the time had come for me to accept, adapt and advance.

When everything is taken away from you, you are forced to balance the books of your life. To truly examine the core of who you are, and what makes you tick. For me, it has always been Solicitude and Storytelling. Without these two I am nought, and so I knew I had to explore new ways of keeping my body and soul together. Thus, I embarked on what can only be described as a new adventure.

I knew that, in order to advance, I had to conquer my irrational fear of public humiliation and start taking my storytelling seriously. Writing, however, doesn’t come as easily to me as it once did, so in a bid to circumvent this obstacle I tried each day to film myself talking about something. (This is not an easy feat for someone who gets hypertensious (good word!) and inarticulate at the sight of a camera!) Slowly, my fear subsided and I learned how to make basic videos. Then I decided to challenge myself further by uploading my efforts on YouTube as a record of my progression. The feedback, kindness and support I received from complete strangers on a platform known for its harsh and unforgiving audience was as heart-warming as it was encouraging, and I soon realised what a terrific storytelling tool the camera could be even outside the realm of cinematography.

Around the same time as I shot my first video, I began the herculean task of collating all my written material and publishing it on a domain I own and control. Not because it has any particular value as far as literary achievements go, but because my words matter to me and I feel a need to take control of the legacy I leave behind.

I want my little Frog Prince, and any future grandkids, to know who I was and what I believed in. I want them to be able to read and hear and see the stories of my life as I saw them and decide for themselves what and who I was. We live in a time where we have a unique opportunity to pass on messages to those who come after us, rather than having to rely on the scattered memories and biased opinions of others. Whether we are literate, or tech savvy, or even particularly creative makes no difference anymore; and even poverty is no longer a (complete) bar to access to the technology that makes it possible for people in the so called privileged part of the world to keep a record of their lives. We’ve sure come a long way since Caxton, Niépce or Lumière*.

As a logical progression, and in line with Tennyson’s old adage “out with the old – in with the new”, the time has come for me to turn my facebook profile into yet another private food, kids and nonsense account for family and close friends. Now, I’ve invited all my contacts to join me on my facebook page Evalena Styf and/or its Swedish sister Evalena Styf på svenska instead. On these pages I will keep sharing the kind of interesting updates and relevant content I used to post on my profile, plus updates whenever I make or partake in anything that I think might be of interest to my followers.

If this sounds like something you might like, both pages are already open and you too can pop over to check them out if you’d like. If you have made it there already –  I bid you a warm welcome and invite you to click on that follow button to come with me on this new chapter of my life.

Much love, always, Evalena 😘

*Caxton, Niépce or Lumière are credited as the fathers of the modern day printing press, camera and motion picture, but they did not invent printing, photography or film.