Thoughts about teaching :)

It’s been a long time that I haven’t written. I was too busy working and worrying about how my students are progressing or not. I also had some time to think about my own way of teaching and TEACHING in general. I came to the conclusion that was is important in teaching is WHAT YOU […]

via SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT TEACHING — WELCOME TO OUR ENGLISH CLASS WORDPRESS

To anyone interested in teaching, I strongly suggest you read this beautiful manifest of love from a teacher (who I love dearly) to her students and herself!

A specific intuition

A specific intuition

Trust intuition
Trust! She has spoken!
Easier to ignore
Oh, granted – for sure.
But she comes back more
And if she tells you
Repeatedly
Specifically
Then maybe you
Should hear, listen to
The little voice meant to
Save you
And protect you,
Here to guide you.

Not sure I want to see

     Not all of us feel intuition the same way. According to the Myers-Briggs test, some personality types rely on intuition to make decisions and others don’t, but in all things linked with research, creation and feelings, I cannot help but think that it plays the most important role in guiding us and leading us to the right path. Sometimes, I just have a sense of things and I know, deep down, no matter what my logic and reason tell me, what I have to do and how I must do it. It applies to human relationships, but also to the choices I make in research for my PhD and to the way I teach my students or handle them in class. And I am not the only one.

William Wordsworth wrote: “Faith is a passionate intuition.” 

Albert Einstein said: “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

      A poet and a man of science who agree on the power of intuition – what could be more beautiful than that? It not only resolves the mind/sensation conflict, but also the ridiculous separation we force ourselves to make between art and science. Even psychology accepts that intuition must be used as it creates a link between our reason and our unconscious and our instincts, making us more aware of ourselves and probably happier in many ways.

       Lately, I have been overwhelmed with a very powerful intuition and gut instinct about a number of things and somehow, every time I went against it, I felt sick. Now that I have embraced it, I feel more at peace with myself and perhaps it is the best thing I had to do, along with avoiding self-deception.

I hope you all have a wonderful night/day!

Love,

Sacha ⭐️

The Time to Move on…

2016 is coming to a close. It has been a strange year in many respects. The world lost so many wonderful artists that I have lost count. We have sunk deeper into fear and unrest. It would be much easier to refuse to see, but there we are… This world is a mess, and in spite of this, we still, on a personal level, break the beautiful things that we have.

As for me…So much has been offered, and so much taken away from me… I started this blog, and my PhD. I have been writing, reading, travelling and painting. I have taught wonderful kids and made some amazing new friends. I am grateful for everything, even for the bad because I hope it will help me grow.

2016 is coming to a close… 2017 is going to open its arms to us and I would like to share my hopes for the future. My first hope is that I find the strength within myself to work hard on my PhD and the classes I am going to teach so as to bring something good to the world. The chance that has been given me is incredible and I do not want to ruin it. My second hope is that all the people I love can be well, healthy, happy and fulfilled. That their troubles, if they have any, are solves and their pains alleviated. I hope that my inner light shines for them to protect them, and shines for me so I can stand on my own two feet and move on. Move on with my life, move away from what and who hurts me, move towards the future with a heart full of kindness and wonder.

But even though I know that it is time for me to move on –  and I will move on – my last and third wish is that my prayers for love are heard and that the promises made once are fulfilled rather than broken. If there is such a thing as fate, please let the odds be favourable. Let what my heart feels to be true indeed be a reality in time. It might take a long time, but I still truly hope that what we told each other was real and will come to be realized. And if it doesn’t, please let there be someone, somewhere out there, that is meant for me or please let me be at peace when I am by myself.

Three things: work and create, health and happiness for the people I love and for myself and hope for a better future full of love, the real kind. It is cheesy and cliché, I know… But these things do make life brighter, don’t they?

Treasure to Vulture

You used to be my treasure

But you betrayed the sanctity
And you destroyed the harmony
You disfigured the poetry
Of you and me.

Go and kiss the lips of youth
Walk and drink the skin of youth
Revel in the lack of truth.
I’ll forget you.

You used to be my treasure
You have become a creature
Empty, fake – mediocre
Nothing but a dead vulture.

Author’s note: When I saw the word treasure in my reader, I thought of all the words that rhymed with it and vulture struck me as a fairly spicy choice! So I tried my best to see how I could go from one word to the other. It was a intriguing exercise. Do other poetry writers do that here?

Love 🌟

Sacha

And there will be a flame

It is a cloudy Sunday morning – the autumn sky looks like a very light grey shroud devoid of shadow or light, making the world around, that flavourless cityscape I can see through the widow, look anaesthetized. There is no wind; the trees stand very still; the electric cables here and there hang motionless. I can hear no rushing cars, no laughing school kids and no old ladies of many colours argue down the street, near the bakery shop. Somewhere in the house, dad is watching television as he always does – the lulled voices of commercials and various programs are an unescapable background noise in the flat.

It is a day neither good nor bad. It is not a day that calls for an epiphany; the special moment of revelation seems even less likely as steam gradually builds on the windows which take on the wan colour of the clouds. I can no longer see the buildings across the street, or the trees that stand very still and the electric cables here and there hanging motionless from their posts.

I have caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror earlier – sleep-deprived, sallow, hollowed cheeks, hunched shoulders and lank, unkempt hair. My pyjamas have stains on them; I can see all around me that the house is not so tidy. I have been sad for too many days.

under-the-sea

And yet, I can feel a new emotion crackling inside. It is not a flame; I could not even call it a spark, but perhaps it needed to begin on such a dull, faded day for if it can catch fire today, when there is no precious light and no vivid colours, perhaps it will endure. It speaks in a really soft, barely audible voice and sings to me: “This is not you in the mirror; remember the promise that you made”. It is true that I made a promise to someone, a vow to keep on drawing, writing, painting, reading, studying and laughing. It is also true that I asked this person to promise me she would endeavour to get better and heal so she could be happy. She promised she would try – I want her to succeed because I know she can, but the only control I have is over my part of the contract. And my part I want to fulfill, because if I do, perhaps the crackling sound inside my heart will catch fire to be a flame. And maybe I can keep it ablaze, one day at a time.

Careful

Rope of weeds.jpg

My every word feels like a pin
Stuck in and out of your skin

I know I have to be
Careful
I do not want to be
Hurtful –

But how can I prevent the hurt
If you turn all my love to dirt?

I always have to be
Tactful –
I’m just tired to be
Thoughtful –

When you fumble through my heart
Try and tear it down, and apart

How can I ever show
I am caring?
How can I still be sure
I am feeling?

If you destroy the foundations I laid
And the wreaths that I have made

To lace your life to mine, and to heal
All of the wounds that you conceal.

I really tried to be
Careful –
But it has come to be
Painful –

To resist the waves of your silence
To fight your storms of defiance

I am starting to feel
Hopeless –
But I guess you could not
Care less.

 

My Adventures in Inktober?

The Inktober Adventure Goes On!

     We are now five or six days into Inktober, and I can already say that it is quite the adventure, in a really good way. First, I have stuck to drawing and inking one piece a day so far, which is quite the exploit for me, as I tend to always put off drawing to later, fearing I will not have enough time to work. But the truth is, now that I am actually making time for drawing in my day to day life, I am coming to realize that there is, in fact, enough time in a day to study quite a lot and still practice art!

         And practicing I have been!

inktober-day-2

Inktober, Day 2/ Am I really a Grad Student? 

   Inktober Day 2 has had me poke a little fun at myself and ask myself a number of questions about life in general. There is a flagrant discrepancy between the way I look and the things I do for a living… studying to get a PhD for example. But I was recently asked if I was still in high school and people usually assume I am in my first or second year of college, perhaps third, at the latest. I am totally fine with it. Actually, I think there is something cool and funny about it and it means that I can still dress whichever way I like without looking ridiculous! Still, it made me wonder, as I looked at myself in the mirror, bow in my hair, little white, collared shirt and skater skirt on: “Are you really a grad student?”

      I feel like a child or a teenager inside!! But then… I also feel very old sometimes. My friend calls me “granny” because I have early meals and I like to stay home a lot. But when would I : a. Read?, b. Draw/Paint?, c. Write? if I didn’t? And so, as part of the Inktober adventure, I have decided to pay to tribute to some of my favourite games, mangas and animes.

Inktober Day 3.jpg

Inktober Day 3 / Suigintou, from Rozen Maiden

       Day 3 was Suigintou from Rozen Maiden. She is not my favourite doll of all, but she is a really interesting character, one that does not open up easily to others and acts harsh and feisty but is actually caring. You know, sad girl with a bad girl complex… Much could be said about it. It could be a full post I am sure.

Inctober Day 4.jpg

Inktober Day 4 / Wicked Lady, from Sailor Moon

      Inktober Day 4 brought me back to the land of Sailor Moon and to drawing the evil version of my beloved Chibiusa, who I mentioned in another post.  Another very interesting, broken character…

 

Inktober Day 5.jpg

Inktober Day 5 / Sora and Heartless, from Kingdom Hearts

Finally, Inktober Day 5 made me travel to Kingdom Hearts. This piece was an interesting one of create because I do not often draw several characters in the same picture. A heartless is a sad little creature you become when you lose / break your heart. It can be aggressive, much like a rabid animal, because it is actually looking for a heart. Another intriguing concept…

So here is where Inktober has taken me so far! Please let me know if you would like to see all the ink drawings I am making for Inktober or if you’d rather see one, once in a while and prefer to get more “intellectual” posts. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Love,

Sacha

Inktober 2016

      A few weeks ago I decided to participate in the Inktober drawing challenge. The idea behind this is to make an ink drawing every single day in October. The rules are simple. The execution, not so much. I made the first drawing today, and when I finished it, I realized that sticking to it would prove hard – because it can be time consuming, because it is going to test my drawing abilities, because it will make me question myself a lot.

Inktober Day 1.jpg

        As I sat to draw this afternoon, however, I understood one thing about the way I create my drawings: I just do not trust myself enough. I draw and then erase everything, and then  start over…

     The one thing I have noticed about my favourite artists is that they have very distinctive, personal styles. That’s what I love about them – they’re all really different, but they are all equally great. Seeing a painting or drawing they made on the Internet, I can recognize them immediately. I think that’s what I want my participation to Inktober to help me do: I would like it to be a chance to improve, to discover my real style and to become more confident. Off I go practice and study the First World War poets!

Teaching, Studying and Living Feminism

Part 3: Living Feminism

Some time ago, I started a three part series devoted to feminism. I did not want it to take that long before I actually completed it, but it is never too late!

The first two parts were about teaching feminism and gender equality in high school and about ways to study feminism. Of course, they were just my personal experiences, but they  were both very interesting to write as they enabled me to see how much could be done in the classroom (from experience) to improve gender equality and to realize how much more can be done still.

This is when part 3, living Feminism, comes in. It is one thing to read about feminism and gender equality; teaching the subject is another – in both cases, you are making steps towards equality. Even if both these experiences can be painful, as you may very well be discouraged to discover how sexist the world still is or to hear students tell you that feminism is for angry, ugly women, they are enlightening. There is also something intriguing about searching “feminist” on Pinterest and finding pictures like this one, which rings very true:

807eb0f7bfcb40d16de568aad4a0c90b

Only to find that one as you scroll down:

36261287e57b6ed006e2d7c913ceda73

Don’t get me wrong. I love fashion and I am always impressed by the creativity of some pieces, but how do you go from searching “feminist” online to being shown images of fashion, jewelry and makeup? Is that because feminism is about women, and just because it is about women it must lead to what we are all told women like: shoes, dresses, mascara, diamonds (a girl’s best friend for sure ^^) and pearls? And in that context, is it really possible to live feminism?

Some people will tell me: yes, it is. Of course, it is! I do not disagree… But there is still a long way to go. A little anecdote will serve as my example.

I know a girl who studies feminism; she does not study it as I do – it is actually her field of study. She rages and revolts when she hears sexist jokes; she is very independent and she lives her life like a pro. But then… love comes in and everything seems to disappear. We are back on the same old tracks. All of a sudden, it is alright that the guy she likes has sex with her whenever he likes, but will not be there when she is the one who wants some affection. He will go, take what he wants, and refuse to sleep next to her. And she finds excuses for him – and she will say that it is normal that he did not agree to be with her when she wanted to because he was busy and she was being tiresome, as if she had forgotten that she, too, could say no and that her body was not his object. That he should treat her with respect.

Of course, in real life, things are a little more complicated – there are issues of self-love, trust and commitment on both the boy and the girl’s sides. And I am not saying that the boy is an ass, only that my friend sometimes forgets about all the values she defends so fiercely when she is around some men, as if male presence muted her.

The sad part is… it is true of many women who believe in equality. How many times have I seen very outspoken lady friends fall silent when around men? How often have I noticed that in a group composed of both men and women, men usually speak the most? They just direct the conversation. Then again, not always. Not all men. Not all women. But the pattern can be observed everywhere…

Such observations make me wonder if I am quiet because I am girl and not simply because I am quiet. They make me ask myself if I like cooking and a clean house and being a good, nicely dressed hostess because, as I often jokingly say, I was “raised to be a housewife” or just because I actually do enjoy these things and would still like them if I were a boy. They make me wonder where I would be right now if I had been born male.

Because of such observations, every time I see a girl wearing a lot of makeup, clinging to a boy, I wonder if she is happy or if she does everything FOR the boy because that’s what magazines have told her she must do ever since she was a child. If she’s happy and she loves makeup then it’s awesome. But what if she is afraid the boy will not like her anymore if she does not wear it? What if she is actually really self-conscious because other girls are mean to her because of her looks? Then it is a sad situation.

In a weird way, I think maybe that’s what living feminism is: rather than just trying to live by a set of rules, it is questioning the world around you. Always. And questioning yourself, your habits, your thoughts, your prejudices and preconceived ideas, for we all have them, and taking a close look at the way you treat women, but also men.

As as Maya Angelou would say:

“I think a hero is any person really intent on making this world a better place for all people”.