Growing up, I struggled to fit in with my peers. I felt disconnected from a lot of things around me. In my culture, children were meant to be seen not heard. That was the beginning of losing myself. I lacked space for self expression. Permission had to be granted to speak and a “wrong” response elicited punishment from the adults. Any effort to be expressive, was considered to be disobedient and wayward, and was was met with physical and emotional punishment.
I somehow managed to express myself through actions that I felt best described me and would make me heard, but were out of alignment with the norm. I hated the system in which I was forced to get an education! The rote learning, the beatings for scoring low grades, the disconnection of the teachers from their students! Nothing in the system recognized the gifts and creativity of the students. Everything was academic. Every student sat a national exam which placed all students on one standard regardless of their abilities and strengths. If you did not meet the minimum requirement, you ended up in lesser recognized institutions and programs. I ended up in one of those! Not because I was not smart, but just didn’t fit in. I felt that something inside me was being killed!
Well, it all turned out to be a blessing in disguise! I was randomnly selected to attend a Teacher Training Institute. Funny how being a teacher was considered to be one of the lower end programs! This was a blessing for me because I love teaching, I thrive during the process of sharing knowledge and supporting others! This is why doing this kind of work lights me up! As a teacher, educator, guide, mentor, over the years, my philosophy has revolved around wanting to bring out the best in each individual per their ability, whilst drawing on their interests and strengths and reinforcing their weaknesses!