To the Friend Who Walked Away

To the Friend Who Walked Away,

Hi. This letter is to you. Perhaps you would tell others we are “friends” and part of you might believe that, but in reality, we both know this is not the case. A while ago you walked away from this friendship. I’ve reflected, responded and prayed. I’m sure we see things differently because we are two different people, but in case you were wondering, here is how it ended for me.

At first I was so confused and hurt. You were my closest friend. The person whom I confided in. The one that I turned to in good and bad times. The one whom I was genuinely interested in hearing the response when I’d ask, “How are you?” I replayed the last few months in my head again and again, trying to figure out what I did that was so wrong. How did I offend you? What did I say? What did I do? What did I not do? Morning, noon and night, I thought about it. I never tried to justify anything; I was simply trying to figure out what I had done wrong so that I could correct it and make it up to you. I cared so deeply about you and would never mean for any pain.

Next, I felt anger. How could you do this to our friendship? How could you boast of being such a good friend and yet turn your back on me? How could you ignore my attempts to reach out to you? And most of all… still… why? I was angry, mixed with hurt. I had repeatedly blamed myself, but I could not come up with a reason for why. I’m a loyal friend who was always there for you and never judged you. Is this what you now call friendship?!?

Then I simmered down some. The pain never left. I guess with time, it eventually will. During this time, I realized that perhaps I had viewed our “friendship” as something more than what it was this whole time. I began to question if you ever truly felt I was your friend. Perhaps friendship is not something you deeply give much value to? I began to remember all of the things you told me about your other friends, and I recalled what others have often shared, “If someone is talking about someone else to you, chances are they also talk about you to someone else.” Maybe all these years you had gone to other people and told them all of that which you did not like inside of me? This is a concept that has always been hard for me to understand. For me, if I do not like someone’s character, then I simply do not pretend to be their friend. I can be respectful towards people and not fake a friendship. Authentic friendship. That’s what I thought we had. But I was wrong.

I became sad again and began to question what was wrong with me that this individual walked away from our friendship. Was I not wealthy enough? Was my family structure too different? Did my parenting decisions make a rift? Am I no longer fun to be around? Do my choices in my social life impact your willingness to invite me places anymore? Does our history mean nothing? So many questions raced through my head. So many questions that remained unanswered.

Time passed and as I repeatedly reached out to you, I could feel things were so very different. I expressed my concerns and shared my raw emotions. Yet still, only the superficial was emitted. This wasn’t the person I knew. This wasn’t the person I held in such high regard. This wasn’t the person I valued, no matter any flaws. This wasn’t the person I loved. This wasn’t the person whom I had been so loyal to. This wasn’t you. You were gone. Our friendship was gone. You walked away, without a word being said. Yet you walked away and took so much with you. With time, I will find peace. Eventually, I will develop a close friendship with another person. But I’ll never forget our friendship, I will always pray for the best for you and I’ll never fully comprehend why my friend walked away.

With love,

Your Loyal Friend Who Stayed

 

Ahmeli… that we treat our friends with a love and respect and clearly reflects honor upon the title “friend.”

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What is Teaching? (Part 2/3)

THE TROUBLES

*I understand that my comments are not true of all schools. I can only speak of my experiences in some urban school districts in the U.S.. In addition, as stated in another post, I am going to be honest and state what is really happening without the fluff that disintegrates our ability to determine the root of the problem and tackle the real issues in an effort to discover solutions.*

 

There are many articles and posts on the Internet that explain the challenges in the current educational system here in America. Writing about all of them here would be too much, so instead, I’ll write about the ones I find the most troubling.

– Teachers only work for 9 months a year. This is one of the best jokes told! Dedicated teachers work throughout the day, and against our Will, throughout most of our sleep as well. You are constantly reflecting on how a lesson went, how you could improve it, what a child told you that day, how you could best meet that child’s emotional needs, what activity you could share with parents, how you can get parent to attend the event…the list goes on and on. You teach during the 8 hours and then you plan, grade classwork, locate materials, create differentiation, design leveled homework, complete building paperwork, complete paperwork from other sources, create a new bulletin board, restructure a center to fit a new students’ needs, make photocopies and that list also goes on and on. These additional hours throughout the mornings, evenings, lunchbreaks, bathroom breaks (ha! what are those!?!), weekends, holidays and summer months are not completely counted for in our “hours worked” (and let’s be real, not in our paychecks either!). These are the hours that weaken the teacher who’s been at it for years. These are the hours that split a marriage. These are the hours that make a mother feel like she’s failing at giving her own children the time they deserve. These are the hours that make friendships become distant. These are the hours that are ignored in society, while negatively impacting the lives of teachers around our country.

 

– The curriculum is modernly updated and laid out for teachers to then plan from. The new resources always seem promising, but then reality sets in. Technology continues to advance, and district budgets rarely do, thus leaving classrooms with equipment that is not updated and thus not properly functioning. There is also the quickly shattered hope of

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Setting up before the start of the school year.

receiving proper training for the new resources, as the school year begins and you are expected to just jump right in and begin to teach. Then you have the district that is constantly on the look for new curriculums. It seems like every year a new textbook is purchased and adopted in as the new Bible. Two years later, you are likely to see this pattern repeat. How are the students and teachers expected to really get into the meat of the curriculum in such a short amount of time? Switching resources every few years is hurting the educational development of the students, and it is not permitting your staff with the time to dive into the manuals and truly take ownership over the content. Growth takes time, yet we seem more interested in boasting at the next board meeting about our newest purchase and all of the studies around it (by the way, you know who paid for those studies, right!?!) than we care about permitting the length of time needed for honest data to reflect the effectiveness (or lack thereof) with the newest program. On top of that, with all of the lesson plan requirements with the latest programs, how is a teacher to model creativity when our ability to think outside the box appears to be shrinking with each new purchase and the mandated requirements that keep rolling in with them?

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One Day

One day.
Something happens. It takes you by surprise.
Never expected. Never could’ve imagined.
You reach and you grasp. You rush and you grab.
No movement can satisfy. This feeling that aches.
You’re speaking to God. Wondering if you’ll die.
Is this your time? Is this how it ends?

Each day.
Episodes keep running. This series never ends.
Asking yourself why. Is a battle you’ll never win.
Flashbacks come. Sleep stays away.
The hunger in your gut. Is silent through each day.
Seeing so many doctors. You’re one in the many.
Yet of them you see one. A face you’ll never forget.

Each week.
The stories keep playing. The truth is silenced.
The questions grow and grow. The answers are locked up.
Independence and self-worth. Both left this house.
You hear the voices all around. Yet the words cannot be heard.
Then you grab ahold of the hope, the advice, the future.
The sunshine begins to glimmer. Perhaps this is the way.

Each month.
The silenced truth. Never returned.
The lies eat away at you. There’s proof all around.
Each piece plays the game. Each one wants to win.
For you there is no winning. The only champion is truth.
Why do they hide it? Why do they lie?
To them you’re just a number. Your soul to them is none.

Each year.
The pain is always present. Mask it if you’d like.
Time can heal they say. What if the clock is broken?
Warmth of the son shines through. A smile you begin to feel.
They keep you going in circles. It’s the nightmare of no end.
You’re begging for the truth. Does corruption ever die?
Each day is like the last. The roller coaster never ends.

One day.
His words begin to sink in. The Louder voice confirms.
You never chose that day. But now can choose either path.
The anger needs to leave. The pain will become routine.
This is no way to live. They’ll never admit their wrongs.
Let go of the suffering. Let go of the hurt.
One day. Today. This day. You move on. A new day.

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Ahmeli…that people get to the point where they can leave the pain and begin a new day.

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Sleeping Through Corruption (Part 2/2)

…continued…

– The prison guard who antagonizes an inmate just because he/she can. The prison system should be one where people get consequences and are guided towards improving their lives and changing their future paths; not one where inmates are treated as less than human because they are imprisoned and their voice is rarely heard. Your job is to watch over the inmates and make sure things do not get out of hand. That does not mean you should mock inmates, call them names, go through their legal mail (not general mail), provide narcotics to individuals as a pay-off, nor many of the other things that are often reported (yet ignored) in the prison system. Provide the needed measures to keep things safe in the prisons, but do not use your authority to berate others just because you “can.”

– The researcher who changes the results, or does not disclose the real results, of testing because it does not line up with what the financial donor desires. The point of research is to do testing, identify the facts and report the findings. The results of research should not sway based on what the person/company conducting the research wants to find. In that case, it is not honest research. A recent story from Humans of New York  explained a researcher who was discovering that money is the decision-maker. Information from the study should not be purposefully omitted because it does not go along with what one wanted to find. A researcher should provide all facts from the work he/she conducted no matter what results the study finds.

– The lawyer who cares more about how much money can go in his/her pocket, than looking out for the welfare of the one who sought help. Yes, everyone needs to earn their paycheck, but at what expense? Do you twist and manipulate things just to make sure you get a bigger paycheck? There are people who are genuinely confused and seeking your professional advice. They should not be taken advantage of. Lawyers should defend their clients and fight for the laws to be carried out.

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Sleeping Through Corruption (Part 1/2)

            Growing up, when I thought of corruption I thought of countries across the ocean where governments openly suppress the people, military members use the power of their position to get what they want, police brutality is displayed in the public forum and rape is used as a method of controlling females. While scrolling through the internet, one can find many websites that offer opinions/facts about corruption in the US: the government, the police, the judicial system and the list goes on. As an adult, I soon observed that corruption is not just a term used to describe other countries, it is happening in this country as well – on a daily basis. Perhaps what is different about America is that the corruption is often masked; yet with today’s social media, that is changing and bystanders are becoming more vocal about what they see taking place around them. In my opinion, it feels like corruption is becoming more of the norm and less of the “rare occasions.” This leaves me feeling pensive. Though I’m sure the list is much longer, here are some examples:

– The police officer who uses excessive force with a compliant individual. Children are watching your actions! They see you responding in an aggressive manner. They begin to develop a sense of distrust for the police force and that creates barriers in the community that lessen your ability to solve future cases. Just because your job places you in an authoritative role does not mean that you should abuse that power. Your duty is to protect the community.

– The school administrator who does not get the proper services for a student due to the cost. I was under the impression that a main point of schools was to help children to grow and become productive members of society?.? How can they do that if you restrict services because it will cost more money? Do you really care about the welfare of the children if money controls your decisions? And do not tell me about the budget. More often than not, there are cuts that can be made in other places such as the snacks for staff or the expenses paid for sending staff members to workshops/conferences. The top priority should be the students and getting them what they truly need.

– The judge who hears testimony from a detective and has a copy of previous transcripts where the detective’s story significantly changes. Who you are friends with, or who helped you with another case, should not determine which facts you listen to and which you ignore. This is not a matter of opinion. The transcripts are in black and white. The sentences you give can completely alter the life of an individual. You are to deliver an unbiased judgement based on the facts.

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What is Teaching??? (Part 1/3)

MY EXPERIENCE (Part 1)

Ten years ago I entered a field that quickly became my world – teaching.

I began as a teacher of regular education at the elementary level in a large city. The school had already been thrown to the side (and was closed a few years later) due to not meeting

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This was not my school, but it portrays a similar feeling.

the expectations put in place by others. People thought I was crazy for teaching there, but I
loved it (perhaps not during every minute, but I loved it nonetheless). There were no supplies, bathrooms were kept locked, unwelcomed guests continuously found their way into the building, violence occurred on a daily basis, teacher-bought materials were vandalized the moment they were displayed, and each day you entered the front doors dreading, “what will happen today?” And I loved it. Sounds like I might be crazy, but tickle my fancy and let me explain.

The kids were dynamic. I’ve been in several school environments over the years, but the students (I lovingly always refer to them as “my kids” so excuse the switching between terms) at this school were unlike any other! They were full of life. I had the nerds, the shy ones, the singers, the NBA stars, the rappers, the dealers, the beauty queens, the drama queens, the corner store regulars, the sleepers…I had them all. But what was special was that no matter what personality the child had, they lived it 100%. Their personality ran through their veins. There was no questioning what inspired each individual child. As a teacher, that helped in linking “boring” content to the interests of the students.  Continue reading