( Tax office and Sagicor….Christmas is coming)
So November is “done and dusted”. All done, as the young people will tell you. And so too the whole year. Almost! As it is not only beginning to look like, and thank God, with the drop in temperatures, Christmas, but that “ most glorious time of the year”, ( no, it’s not #blackfriday) is pretty much on us.
As I opened my device to start writing this week’s blog, Siri recommended that I should check out my own WordPress blog site. So I did. And found a blog which I wrote at the start of the year which resonates well with my thoughts at now, the end of the year. Talk about “ the more the things change the more they remain the same”. That’s the story of Jamaica land we love.
January 13, 2019 danielgodsurelywilldeliver.wordpress.com
Carlene Davis – This Island needs Jesus. listened also on Friday morning. Not about sea and shore and sun…..this island needs Jesus. In our hearts! So much sin! So much crime! So much injustice! So much raping and killing! So much immorality! So much corruption! So much political tribalism! Yes! We have much for which to give thanks, thank God. But God knows that the negative influences are destroying the good name of our country and causing us to live in fear and in some cases, subhuman conditions.
So why the seemingly pessimistic comment about my country and our many and varied challenges?
The headlines in the Jamaica Observer yesterday is but one part of the reason. There are others.
Corporate Area teacher begs for any other job as rude students push her close to breaking point
BY ARTHUR HALL
Friday, November 29, 2019
With the controversy still raging about the apparent meltdown by a teacher at Pembroke Hall High School in St Andrew, a teacher at another high school in the Corporate Area has appealed to the Jamaica Observer to help her find a job, any job, to get her out of the classroom before she suffers a similar fate.
Anything apart from teaching. Right now I want to leave the classroom. This morning I was leaving for work and my neighbour saw me and he said, ‘good morning, teach, how you do?’ and I said to him, ‘I don’t like being called a teacher because I no longer want to do it,” the teacher, whose name is being withheld, told the Observer.
She said after completing her diploma at Shortwood Teachers’ College she moved to The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, where she read for a degree in Education.
Armed with her degree she was employed to an upscale, traditional high school where she stayed for two years without feeling the sense of satisfaction which had sparked her passion to enter the teaching profession in the first place.
The teacher told the Observer that she wanted to work in a school with less resources, where the children faced greater challenges, and the parents, for the most part, were unconcerned about the performance of their children in school.
So she sought employment in a school in an inner-city community, where the grades of the students entering were lower and it would be an achievement to move them to levels where she could see her influence in improving their educational achievements, behaviour and personality.
Now, after 15 years at that school, she has decided to call it a day and has accepted that, if she continues, the meltdown by the Pembroke Hall teacher could seem minor to where she feels she is headed.
“The indiscipline of these students has overwhelmed me. They use expletives in your presence without any reservation; they don’t care. They gang up on teachers, they fight teachers, they tell teachers anything. The discipline, or lack thereof, the support from the administration, or lack thereof, is too much,” lamented the teacher.
If a student does something they tend to get away. For example, last year a teacher was ganged and the boys who ganged the teacher, I’m not even sure if they received a suspension. But those boys were still at school and teachers are expected to stand in front of those boys and teach them,” said the relatively young woman.
She said when she initially went to the school in 2004 there were several challenges, but she embraced them as she was determined to improve the life of her students while lifting the reputation and profile of the institution.
“The challenges were always there. In my second year, two boys climbed over a grille and went into a staffroom and cleaned my desk out. I had two phones in my bag and they stole them and my money. I did not even have bus fare to go home. But even with that it is worse today,” declared the teacher, her voice breaking.
“It has reached a point where students are telling teachers ‘go suck out anything’, and they are talking anything in the presence of teachers. I don’t think it matters to them anymore, the respect is just not there anymore,” added the teacher.
She declared that while teaching was her passion, based on what teachers are facing now she is prepared to take any other job that can pay her a liveable wage, and many of her colleagues are at a similar stage.
“Just last school year the students decided that on the last day of exams ‘we a go mash up some teacher car’. They slashed two of my tyres, they vandalised two other teachers’ cars. And when I say they were vandalised, every surface of the cars was defaced and one windscreen smashed.
“And we have to bear the expenses of these things because the administration of the school is not paying to fix it,” said the teacher as she insisted that staying in the classroom is no longer an option.
Another reason for the seemingly pessimistic comment is captured very well in the cartoon in the Jamaica Observer yesterday
A picture which lampoons the challenges facing the prosecution in getting a conviction in the famous “ Beheading Trial”, currently before the Court.
“ The convictions come more than eight years after Jamaicans woke up to news of the gruesome killings of Charmaine Cover-Rattray, 40, and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith Lynch, inside their Lauriston, St Catherine, home on July 20, 2011.
Both women were decapitated.”
Finally a video which again has gone viral. One that challenge us to get a grip on where did we go wrong in bringing up our children. How did, according to the well known Soca hit song, and who knows what influence this genre of music has had on the kind of “ back it up “ behaviour, “ I was a good girl once, and now I loose”, come to “ rule the roost” in segments of society. Saw it last night . Not even sure it was fit for AirPlay.
But thank God there a “ redeeming one”, which offers hope.
In her midst of all of this , I was inspired to send an email to my church.
Many of us are hurting. As death stalks the land, and sickness brings all kinds of problems. Many are concerned about the decline of our once vibrant congregations. And many teachers can relate to the headlines, and the body of the story, in the Jamaica Observer this morning. We live in a broken world 🌎. So what do we do in these circumstances? Be they personal, Church, or National concerns!
Wisdom and Revelation
Chris Tiegreen‘s “ The One Year Wonder of the Cross Devotional”, which I opened randomly this morning, has a meditation which I think will help.
I pray also that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened. Ephesians 1:18
We live in a world of darkness,and we get lost often. Plenty of voices offer to help us out too – there is no shortage of people whom will offer advice and speculate on the right decisions to make…….
I’m going to pause here and insert some tweets which I was moved to post on Twitter, a few nights ago and which “ discussion “, illustrates this point well.
@All_Angles @djmillerJA the young Christian doctor posed an interesting question about the #abortion issue. Since Jamaica is not a theocracy, Christians should live their lives how they wish to and not necessarily try to restrict the freedom of others. @FaeEllington
But how would this seemingly progressive idea work itself out practically. What would a Christian do about Labour laws to improve the lot of workers. Or social nets to protect the vulnerable. Or the road traffic act to ensure that bikers wear their helmets.
Or is it because those issues are not necessarily controversial and therefore Christians could intervene without being accused of restricting freedoms. I have no doubt that the hot button issues are very tricky ones to negotiate in a democratic country…..
and I am happy, as it reveals a compassionate and fair mindedness that is sometimes sadly lacking in the debate, that he raised it. But ultimately Christians have to grapple with what would their Redeemer have them do and say in a National conversation about a difficult topic
Even if their views will ultimately contribute to how a law is shaped and how people’s freedom may be constrained. Otherwise we as Christians would have no moral authority to comment any ( other) aspect of national life. Which would in essence mean that we could not spread the gospel…
For the central message of the gospel of the crucified and risen Christ is to set the captives free. From sin and evil and death.
Needless to say, the very first tweet attracted a lot of likes, while the others went “unnoticed”….at least didn’t attract any comment. Interestingly though, and I don’t do it often, when you check how many people saw the tweet, and you can check, over a hundred saw the final one. I didn’t check the others.
So we are back with Chris Tiegreen
….. Navigating a landscape of diverse philosophies and beliefs can be very confusing.
That’s why one of the greatest requests we can pray for each other, as Paul did for the Ephesians, is for a spirit of wisdom and revelation ( v. 17). Or as he he so colorfully puts it, “ that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” And Paul seems to have some have some pretty specific ideas about what our hearts need to be enlightened with.
We need to know the hope of our calling, the riches of our inheritance, and the power that is available to those who believe. If these things are firmly embedded in our hearts, we won’t find ourselves lost in the darkness very often.
…….This a perspective altering prayer. When the trials of our lives loom large in our vision, we become fearful and depressed. But when we lift our sights to the truths that are greater and even more real than our circumstances, we can overcome anything.
If any situation oppresses you today, lift your eyes higher. Get a clear picture of the hope, the inheritance and the power of God, and live and pray as though they are more real than anything else in your life.
Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds – Thomas Benton Brooks.
I sought the Lord
And then early this morning, deep in my sleep, came a “ song in the night”. Words from a haunting song which I posted on Facebook a couple nights ago, and one friend indicated that a day does not pass and she does not listen to the song. It’s one from the famous BTC…Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. And it is inspired by Psalm 34.
These words, these powerful words, are what Jamaica needs to consider well, as we enter the Advent season tomorrow and remind ourselves,that one day God in Christ Jesus, will not bring not just what the world considers to be Christmas cheer, but come to judge the world. Both the living and the dead!
“ I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Fears that according to the Prime Minister Himself, “ the youth are in crisis”, and in the minds of some, there is no remedy. Although the PM is optimistic that, those of “ good report”, can help to temper the behavior of those with “ bad report”. But the Scriptures give us no such assistance. But rather that as BTC recommends, we ought to follow the God’s Holy Word, and seek the Lord.
As “ The eyes of the Lord are in the righteous, and his ears open to their cry”.
I pray God that my people will come to their senses, in this “ back up “ generation and seek the Lord. So that teachers will no longer be fearful, that mothers will no longer worry about “ losing their heads”, literally, and that God’s Peace may descend on this beleaguered and embattled nation that most of us still love so much. With all our hearts. For nowhere no better then yard. Not even foreign! But Carlene Davis is so right. This Island needs Jesus. Every hour of the day.