(Not) Like A Fuse

You know that feeling of having survived an entire semester comfortably, and you’ve gone through 3/4 of your final exams when THAT sudden moment occurs in which you wearily wonder how on earth you’ll have the energy to do just that one more final exam? Believe it or not, teachers experience it, too… within the last two weeks of teaching. The following was written in THAT moment.

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After a laboratory activity in which my students observed the changes to a fuse filament under increasing current, I, too, couldn’t help feeling like a fuse myself.

Like the current intensity – the demands, duties, obligations, increased tasks, last minute requests, and rising levels of anxiety from my surroundings, have surmounted to something like a power surge – and I am about to be burnt out. Like a fuse.

Oh, but let me remind you what the function of a fuse is. It serves the role of protection: a fuse is placed in a circuit to protect in the case of a power surge. To prevent the light bulbs from breaking or other such damage, the fuse sacrifices its own frail filament by heating up until it breaks, cutting off the current flow.

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In a sense, a teacher is like a fuse. Except that unlike a fuse, a teacher is not replaceable.

It was that last thought that saved me; just as I was thinking “How much longer must I keep this up… I’m gonna burn out, like a fuse” – that it occurred to me I am so much more than that. I couldn’t be replaced, which meant I didn’t have the option to go out.

Which meant submitting to the idea that every teacher must eventually “burn out” is only true as long as one believes and, indeed, expects it.

Pressures likened to high voltages in the form of papers, deadlines, and even human beings – is that what it takes to burn me out? (Really, me?) If I am considering these as power surges, then that is only because I have my DC-current source all wrong.

Who better to keep you going, 

keep you working,

keep you glowing brighter without dimming the circuit components around you,

except the All-Mighty?

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This may appear to be a huge random leap in thinking, but this really happened. There I was thinking that a teacher is like a fuse, who burns herself out for the ‘protection’ of a younger generation – than God does not hesitate to make me laugh at myself.

All it takes is for I to take a step outside in the sunny humid weather outside, and become enthralled at the few sprinkles of cool water droplets falling from the sky… as though I am being told, “Chillax, kiddo. You’re no fuse on fire. If you were, this rain would’ve immediately put you out.”

And yet I still had that spark glowing brighter than ever in me, and all that the rain did was fill me with an indescribable sense of grateful joy.

Nope; God knew that I knew what I was getting myself into. And if He led me to it, He’ll lead me through it.

If I am to be compared to a protective device in a circuit, I would prefer being a breaker. At least those are reusable, resilient, as many times as it wills to be.

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“I’ll take a dandelion any day over a rose. Now that’s a flower. It’s humble, hearty, keeps coming back no matter what you do to it. And it always blooms a brilliant yellow smile.” (Mornings in Jenin, p.209)

That’s the kind of teacher I want to be: humble, hearty, and keeps coming back.

I am like a dandelion. Not like a fuse.

And Allah knows Best.

A.S.

 

 

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Our Sweet Responsiblity

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If you find yourself constantly running on adrenaline, these are the typical thoughts that go on through your mind:

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Monday. The dreaded day.

Tuesday. The never-ending day.

Wednesday. This week will never end.

Thursday. Are we there yet?

Friday. Can’t wait to sleep in tomorrow!

Saturday. Darn, I overslept. Now I’m too sluggish to do anything worthy.

Sunday. So stressed, so much stuff to get done for the week!

 

Such is a teacher’s life: a ceaseless chorus of waiting for Fridays, so we can be productive in a relaxed manner on weekends, yet somehow still finding ourselves wiped out on Monday mornings and not refreshed at all. We dream of the day that we can spend in luxury, doing what we want without the hanging weight of responsibility on our shoulders.

And then it dawned on me.

Teacher or not, every moment of our waking lives should be submerged in responsibility… if we have the right mindset, submerged in sweet blissful unburdensome burdens.

What?

Well: here’s my motto:

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Rather than dread Mondays, we are responsible for turning them into exciting promising moments of new potential.

Rather than sigh through Tuesdays, we are responsible for holding on tight and testing Monday’s broken roller coasters to see if they have been fixed.

Rather than moaning and groaning on Wednesdays, we are responsible to be determined to turn the middle of our week into the climax of achievement.

Rather than rushing through Thursdays such as to be unable to remember what happened, we are responsible to savour its every flavour and reflect on what worked and didn’t work… and be optimistic about it.

Rather than spend Friday daydreaming and anticipating the weekend that we may not even live to live through, we are responsible to start rewarding ourselves for the hard work we’ve been doing and intend to keep up.

Rather than waste half of it in sleep, we are responsible to use Saturdays to revive our inner creativity and pause the button of life’s rushing-ness… and just breathe, and wonder, and surrender.

Rather than panic and stress this Sunday, we are responsible to take self-care in order that we may fully care about our surroundings enough to make a positive difference.

 

Be responsible to be grateful.


And God knows Best.

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A.S.

(Mar.31, 2014; written 9:20-9:50 PM on the metro)

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The Critic and the Doer

The Critic and the Doer

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”

(Theodore Roosevelt)