Are you a good teacher?

I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Galatians 5:10

I like good teachers. Those that believe in their students, even when he or she is at their worse. Do they make teachers like that anymore? Even though teachers these days seem to lack patience and empathy for their students, especially when they neither understand nor can relate to their student’s culture, this was not the kind of teacher Paul was. Paul was a shepherd of a teacher. Not only did He taught well, but he gave encouragement to people that seemed like they didn’t deserve it. Have you had a teacher or mentor like that?

are you a good teacher

Teachers were once students, and it’s like they get to have a foresight over their students’ future. That is, they can call forth gifts and talents out of their students, that the students can’t really see for themselves. But, if that student trusts the teacher, he or she will believe in the words spoken, and strive to become what the teacher called into fruition. We are assuming here that the teacher is speaking nothing but positives to their students. But, do you know that if that teacher prophesies negatively over that student it will also have the same effect?

READ MORE: Take control of your thoughts

You will probably agree, teachers have influence over every student they come in contact with. Paul is the head teacher and he is not pleased. He asks, who was it that was throwing the Galatians into confusion? Paul says, they “will have to pay the penalty.”

I’ve had some great teachers in the secondary school systems, both in Jamaica and Canada. And I have also had profound professors at the University level, both undergraduate and graduate. I have been blessed with teachers who filled me with encouragement, had patience with me, and empowered me by their words to be extraordinary. In fact, up until my experience at Seneca College in Toronto, I have never had a negative experience with a teacher. I was 30 years old when I attended Seneca College. It was my first and only time I had a teacher that looked down on me. I could tell she thought I was never good enough in the four months I was with her. She gave me a failing grade in the end. This kind of teacher can thwart God’s plan for a student’s life. Even though I felt crappy and demotivated, my thoughts were above confident. I was already a University graduate and a professional woman. The fact is, I already knew I was a great student, regardless of how she felt about me and the grade she assigned me. If the Apostle Paul were in Canada, he would have stepped in the class to give me a pep talk: I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. In other words, regardless of the teachers ill words, grade or attitude towards you, you are still the star God made you to be. That one teacher do not have authority to change your life or destiny.

READ MORE: Running the good race until it’s over

Paul says those teachers who create confusion will pay the penalty. Teachers come from all walks of life, they are in the church, in the workplaces, at conferences, at home, and of course at school. We ourselves might even be a teacher. We have a responsibility to be great teachers, as well as to pray for those not-so-great teachers. While God hasn’t overlooked what they have done to you, we do have a responsibility towards them as well. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 12:34). Let us be transformed by the word of God. As teachers, we have a great responsibility. And that is, we ought to teach well. None of us should be in the business of causing other people to fall into confusion. As Christians it is our job to uplift and lead everyone to Christ.

I spy with my little eye, racism

For a long time, I thought I understood racism based on the definition, “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” (Oxford online dictionary). But now as an adult, I have to ask, do I really know racism, if I see it face to face? How can I tell? Can you? When I watched Malcolm X movie for the first time in my grade 12 religion class, I saw what racism could do to people, to a nation. The divisiveness of it, and how it created such practices as John Crow laws, and the offensive apartheid regime in South Africa. But, when I left the protective embraces of my school, and stepped into a world of big bad wolves, I don’t see these flagrant acts of prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism. Instead, what I see are very polite people who are going about their daily lives, too busy, too focused, too apathetic to concern themselves about me. In other words, everyone is out there, trying to get what’s their’s, “by any means necessary” (to steal Malcolm X’s words). So, how do I spy with my little eye, a racist in all its disguise?

How can I tell that one believes that he/she is superior? This is the premise of racism, right? For one thing, I cannot read minds. So if I enter a room with an all white interview panel, and a month later, I am informed, I didn’t get the job, is that because of racism? In an isolated situation, we can never know. I am unable to tell whether the simple act of not picking me for the job was discrimination, or straight up, I wasn’t the best candidate. But here is a real incident that happened to me in 2014. I was one of approximately 20 students in a Public Administration program at Seneca College. The program had an internship component, which was why I chose to take this graduate certificate program in the first place. Four months into the eight-month program, seven students were selected for the internship. All seven were white. Is that a coincidence? What was their selection criteria based on? Grades? We were not given an explanation. The rest of us who were not selected were part of the great Canadian non white diversity. And we did nothing about it. Why? The students expressed their concerns to me, that they were shocked, and disappointed, but on the other hand felt afraid that if we were to do something about it, we would be punished (i.e. getting a bad grade).

Check out Deandra’s blog: This is a Phase   

Upon doing some research, I find that we condone racism in one of two ways. Either we do nothing when it happens, or we benefit from someone else’s demise, then lap up the blood from the corners of our mouths. It’s a wolves world and we are in it for ourselves. But, there comes a time, when each of us have to stop and think. Stop being naive, stop acting in apathy, and definitely stop benefitting from someone’s loss. It’s time for me to wake up, and realize that racism doesn’t come with a label. It comes with a subtle feeling that something isn’t right.

Recently, I went grocery shopping at my local Food Basics. As I was pushing my cart, I saw an older white staff standing in front of one of the aisle with his coffee in hand. Having been to this food basics many times, these people are aways working, so it confused me as to why he was standing so stiffly. I looked down the bottom of the aisle, and there it was. The staff’s target was a black young man, early twenties, searching for something on a top shelf. Was that what I thought it was? Even as I made my way to the cashier I wondered. I felt something was wrong because I had spot racism. It can’t always be determined with those big words, but it can be with your gut.

When we spot it, we must decide what to do about it. In Food basics, I did what many Canadians would do. We acknowledge it, but we do nothing. I was not the one being a racist, and I was not the one experiencing it. But, I was a witness. So what is my role? It’s important to think about it in terms of what the bible says,

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

In other words, be brave for our friends, for our co-workers, for our neighbours. Why? Because God said so. “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

We may never truly know on the onset when we are experiencing racism, or when we see it being done to someone we know. But, rather than labelling it immediately, listen to your gut. Trust it. What you do after, is your decision. Ultimately, we all have a role to play when it comes to racism in our society, and playing a blind eye, or feeling sorry for ourselves, is not a role. We must act.