The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 13

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Week 13 of the year is dedicated to someone I admire. While there are many people that I admire, I’m choosing to focus this moment on Malala Yousafzai. While procrastinating on my conference presentation, I came across the documentary He Named Me Malala. In 2009, at 12 years old, she wrote a blog for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule. When the world took notice of yet another injustice that of this region, Malala rose in fame by giving interviews and becoming the face and the voice for women in the region would wanted education. In 2012 she was shot three times while on the bus to school. Even while in the hospital recovering, she continued to speak out for women, and continued to speak out for the importance of education. In 2014 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and continues to build, and sometimes rebuild, schools for women, refugees, and those in a war-torn region.

“I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.”
― Malala Yousafzai

I admire her courage and dedication. At 18 years old she has done more for the world than most people hope to do in a lifetime. She has faced death, doubters, and incredible adversary to continue to push for a cause that she believes in.

I only wish I could be half as courageous and make a fraction of a difference in the filed of education. When I had my chance to stand up for what I believed in two years ago, I caved, and let it break me. I had the chance to pursue the matter, and to let the university know what was going on in the programme, but instead, I chose to just bury it and get out of the United States as fast as I could. I’m still terrified that somehow that programme will catch up with me and it will hurt the work that I am doing in the UK (stupid I know, but I sometimes worry that the sins of my past will catch up to me).

And now that I have watched a young woman who did not let being shot in the face stop her from defending what she believes in, then I should not let a momentary blip in my educational journey stop me from pursing avenues that I think will improve the learning potential for students in higher education. The two things can hardly be compared, and I admire the way she treated it as nothing more than a reason to continue trying to make the world a better place for women.

 

The Scamp and Distraction

da-mo-2018

 

I had a rough week. Even now I should be working on my paper, but the lure of Netflix and my blog has me stalled at three pages of the five I was hoping to do tonight. My inability to focus is stressing me out, and not even a trip to the gym today made me feel better. I have found myself stuck in my own head, and feeling a lot like I did when I was living in San Diego and working nights. The last time I felt like this, I pushed away a relationship, applied to school in another country, and alienated myself from my friends. This time, I am  picking fights with the boy (when I should be focusing my attention elsewhere and not taking that so seriously), counting down the days until I can get back to Scotland, and feeling gloomy about the fact that all of my friends live either in different parts of the state, or in different parts of the world. Instead of tackling my list f things to do (and do everything that I learned from my therapist in Scotland), I am stewing in my negativity and getting very frustrated with everything and everyone around me.

In an effort to shake the feelings, and to get out of my own head, I put this aside for an hour and put the finishing touches on a presentation for the philosophy class. A few weeks ago I expressed my extreme dislike of Horace Mann and his theory of the perfect educational system. As part of the course, we had to write a scenario of a problem in higher education. Working with a partner, we then had to pick another group’s scenario and try to work out a solution to the problem using the philosophical theory of one of the men (and so far they have all been men). I like the assignment. A lot of the case scenarios presented interesting problems, and I snagged a fantastic partner with a sense of humor and a strong work ethic. We decided that it would make for the perfect presentation if we used Horace Mann as our muse.  This will no doubt make the class laugh, as the last time I had to discuss Mann, I talked about his Fantasyland view of education, and the improbability of his model ever producing the results he envisioned. In essence, I was labeled a Mann hater (I seriously just made that up right now, and I am totally tickled by it) by the class, so no one would expect me to use his philosophy to unpack a scenario.

I would love to say that the time spent with Mann has given me a change of heart about him and his theories.

Sorry to disappoint, but it has not. While I think education should be open to everyone no matter what color, gender, socioeconomic status, or religion is, I have a hard time buying into the fact that education will act as the great equalizer and erase all the ills of society. His Utopian concept of school has made a significant impact on the way classes are taught today, but I am far too cynical to think that a rich kid and a poor kid will leave school with the same chances for a good job and a betterment in class and status. I do however, think that my partner and I have provided a strong Mann answer to the issue presented to us, and I think our ten minute presentation will make the class laugh and allow them to think about what the perfect program would look like.

I can cross that assignment off of my list of things to do, but I am still feeling distracted and stuck in my head. I think it might be time for me to switch gears, go Zen, and try to shake off the long few days. So with that I am going to

da-mo-2112

 

It might not hurt if you send me your good vibes though. Good vibes never hurt anyone.