I’ve had a memory come back to me, because I’ve been thinking about writing and ability and enjoyment and spontaneity in writing.
When I was in junior school, probably around the age of 8 or 9, I loved writing and I was good at it, I wrote very spontaneously and with imagination and just wrote, without planning or much thought in some ways! I Just loved using my imagination and loved writing. However, I can remember there was a certain teacher, this teacher decided I didn’t write creatively correctly and decided I needed to know how to write properly. I needed to know how to plan my pieces of work, to plan a beginning, a middle and an end…not just write.
Looking back at this, it rises my blood pressure a bit, because the effect it had on me was the opposite to the possible aim of it… I became anxious about writing, I couldn’t write like she wanted me to and it really affected my perceived ability and enjoyment of it. So I didn’t really write like I had done previously any more. Not for a while anyway.
I think this sort of thing, amidst other encounters and the general fact I really didn’t like school from beginning to end influenced my considering home schooling for my kids. If I’m giving my children to someone else to influence and build up (or not) and teach and do life with, which is what happens in schools, I need to be able to trust them. I know there are fabulous teachers, it’s just I also know it just takes one to damage them as well (as it does parents, and I am in no way perfect there).
Although when examining this memory I did also consider if it was a necessary part of teaching and maybe I just don’t like it because I don’t like discipline. I came to the conclusion that no, it wasn’t necessary, it wasn’t just what she said, it was the way she did it… it was wrong.
I think what also influences me is that I’ve already brought up a daughter, who was and is expressive in the way she presents herself and she is artistic. This seemed to present great problems in her latter schooling days. The school establishment seemed to have great worries and problems with the fact that she sometimes had pink hair, had a stretcher in her ear and some piercings. I will never forget her coming home from school in floods of tears and deeply hurt, because she had been called into the office, because someone who had seen her on the way to school had called the school to object to her hair and say she was a bad example…I was furious. Mainly about the way it affected how she saw herself and the world, about the fact someone could be so superficial as to say she was a bad example because she had pink hair. Have you spoken to her? Do you know her? Why are you so worried about what my daughter looks like? aaaagh…Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like the stretcher either, but it didn’t affect her schooling in any way at all. In fact, she was a straight A* student. She could have done with more pastoral support really, rather than putting down for her appearance, although her textiles teacher was amazing and like a second mum to her in some ways. I’m really glad she had her.
Teaching is an amazing job and we’re all teachers in some way, but “with great power comes great responsibility…”:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1-2)
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)
There are so many scriptures in relation to teaching but I think this is my favourite:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)
I think my problem is that this ‘has to be done in a certain way’ can be our attitude to life sometimes too – you’re not doing that right – it’s got to be done like this. I’ve never gone for this, there’s just part of how I’m made that looks for other ways of doing things, I don’t just take it because somethings been done a certain way forever that it has to carry on like that. I think that’s why I made a good nurse to be honest. Some things need challenging and some things don’t, but I love finding new ways of doing things and I quite like challenging the status quo. I can be quite annoying because of this, because I question, because I don’t just take things that I’m told as gospel. But I do think it’s a gift, and as part of Jesus’ family, this is vital for me, because it’s how I’m made. But as the quote above shows, it is the Holy Spirit who I need guidance from and whom I love getting guidance from, so I don’t just do things for the sake of me….or because I enjoy change…also, to help me accept and love others who do like routine and rules and doing things a certain way. I can be a bit rude occasionally… as well as fantastically loving and kind 😀
Have I drifted from the subject? yes…never mind… Maybe that teacher’s approach works if someone is struggling with their work, maybe she really thought she was helping.. but she wasn’t. Please try not to stunt creativity (I’ll try too). It’s a gift.