Education and Knowledge

FIGHTING THE SYSTEM OF HARASSMENT IN SCHOOLS

Going into my profession as an educator, I knew that I was going to be an unruly, non-traditional teacher. At a very young age, being an educator was my dream, but my passion was never to teach academics; instead, I wanted to teach about the human experience through academics. Early on, it seemed as if the curriculum I created for my classroom somehow paralleled my advocacy efforts and those efforts of society. At first, I taught against bullying in-between grammar lessons, choosing narratives where the protagonist was able to rise above and the antagonist learned a lesson. When one of my middle school students took her own life, my students and I spent more time on the floor in a circle talking about life and mental wellness. After the 2016 presidential race, I knew I needed to move distr...

FORGOTTEN WOMEN IN SCIENCE: ROSALIND FRANKLIN (July 25, 1920-April 1, 1958)

One of the most influential scientific discoveries of all time was stimulated by one woman and her graduate student, but the Nobel Prize went to three other men. The color of your hair, the hue of your skin, the length of your ring finger, the shape of your lips; all of the complexities that make you a unique organism, the things that make you human, were bestowed upon you by a tiny chemical alphabet. In fact, just four chemical letters wedged between sugar and phosphate groups can define a species. These chemical letters write an Albert Einstein or a house mouse—with only a 2.5% ‘code’ difference separating the two[1]. It seems too simple, how can just four letters combine to code the template for humankind, along with every other living creature? In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick p...

WOMEN HISTORY FORGOT: PAULETTE NARDAL

While at university, I had the opportunity to study poets of the “Négritude,” the French equivalent of the Harlem Renaissance. But it was only recently when I learned about a woman named Paulette Nardal, whose ideas were hugely influential to this particular movement. Discovering that a woman had been so important during this time was both wonderful and unsettling. Why had she never been mentioned? Paulette Nardal was born in 1896 in the French Caribbean island of Martinique. The oldest of seven daughters, her father was the first black Martinican engineer, and her mother was a talented pianist. Nardal was educated to become a school teacher, but in 1920 she moved to Paris to study English, thus becoming the first black Martinican woman to attend the prestigious university of La Sorb...

UNDERSTANDING SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasonal changes. It is rarely talked about and quite common in the United States effecting around 3 million people per year. I think it is an important time to discuss what Seasonal Affective Disorder looks like and how you can take steps to improve your mood. So is Seasonal Affective Disorder just a milder version of major depression? Shockingly, the answer is no. Seasonal Affective Disorder can be described as a sub-type of major depression. Researchers have speculated that SAD could be brought on by the reduction in sunlight during the winter months. Your serotonin levels are thought to drop due to your biological clock being thrown out of wack which in turn leads to depression.Typically those with a...

A MONTH OF GRATITUDE

This is the time of year to show appreciation and be mindful of the things we are thankful for. During the month of November, I wrote one thing I am thankful for each day, up to the day after Thanksgiving, because the number 23 is symbolic to me, and below is the result: 11.1 I am thankful for the desert’s clear blue skies, crisp Autumn air, and bright sun – the desert is seemly magical this time of year. 11.2: I am thankful for mi familia, my family, who without them, without their support and love, I would not be where I am today. Happy and (nearly) free of depression. Depression that I’ve had since I was a young child (10 years old). My dreams are coming true with their love and support. 11.3: I am thankful for my imagination, and where it takes me in my dreams – my nightly inspiration....

ON BEING OPPRESSED AND PROBLEMATIC AT THE SAME TIME

I am a queer woman. I am not always unproblematic. I am a middle socioeconomic status, white female college student who identifies as pansexual. I hold some privileges and lack others. The reason I’m writing my truth is that I want people to understand that just because you belong to an oppressed group doesn’t mean you never participate in that oppression. Black cops kill innocent black kids. Women argue against the rights of sex workers. Gay and lesbian folks are often transphobic. We’re all socialized in the same society, so not one of us is immune to the biases that are ingrained in our culture. That’s why it’s impossible and pointless to call someone racist or not racist, sexist or not sexist, homophobic or not homophobic. We all have the capabilities to think in oppressive ways, even ...

WHAT TO EXPECT ENTERING YOUR SIXTH OR SEVENTH DECADE

Life has been quite a journey. I’m approaching 71 years young and still going strong. At many times in my life, I have surprised myself and achieved something that I thought was off the table, or walked through a door that I thought was already closed to me. People said that falling in love was no longer an option, but I got married at 69 years old. People said I should stop working, but I still model and act and founded a new business in my 60s. I’m here to tell you that anything can happen in your later years, and help you make sure you are ready for it for the surprises that maturity can present. The first rule is to always have a positive attitude. It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we handle it. And secondly, if any negative energy enters your space, walk away. These two rules alon...

THE MAGICAL UNFOLDING: HOW I PUT MAGIC BACK INTO MY LIFE

Sometimes life’s magic reveals itself to you in little moments, sometimes you only see it in retrospect. Helen’s 8-step process will empower you to trust your unfolding pathway through life… Helen Rebello is the author of the highly-anticipated The Magical Unfolding: 8 Magical Processes for Peace, Potential and Purpose (RELEASED 25 October 2018). An intuitive mentor, self-development teacher, and former tutor at The College of Cranio-Sacral Therapy in London, Helen has spent over a decade empowering soulful women to find more meaning and magic in their life and unlock the courage to live and work on their terms. www.helenrebello.com When I was 19 years old, I had a life-saving “awakening”. After 18 months in a controlling, abusive relationship, living in fear and trapped in the belie...

HOW IS THE MOVIE INDUSTRY STILL MISSING THE BIG PICTURE?

In the wake of all the backlash from the movie Sierra Burgess is A Loser, I wanted to view the movie myself before letting other opinions taint my idea of the movie and its themes. I was excited most of all to see Shannon Purser as the main character after falling in love with her as Barb on Stranger Things. I loved that I was finally going to see a female lead with someone who looks so much like my peers and get to be in love. However, the movie did not seem to disprove the feelings of those who scrutinized the movie.   While I won’t rehash what everyone has ultimately said about the controversial script, casting, and themes of the movie, I will say I am very disappointed that the movie industry used a bigger girl as a way of drawing in an audience for her to be incredibly problematic. Sh...

PARKLAND: REFLECTIONS ON A NEW SCHOOL YEAR

The 2018-2019 academic year begins, and new expectations are in place for my students and myself. Anticipation, excitement, fresh purpose, all converge to create momentum. But this fall, a new feeling is tossed in the mix— a deep-seated unease fueled by over 20 US school shootings between January and July 2018, and by what may come.   When I started teaching, it never occurred to me that it would become a hazardous profession, that I would begin a school year with active shooter drills. I should’ve reached retirement without experiencing such a thing. Combat pay isn’t the kind of pay raise we educators seek.   And no, this bizarre time is not “the new normal.” I hate guns, and I hate even more that I know what AR15s and bump stocks are. Sickening.  A vicious cycle, that’s what this has bee...

“THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS”: A RESPONSE TO BEING ACCEPTING TOWARDS SEXIST BEHAVIOR

“That’s just the way it is,” was what my mother had told me when I complained to her about how hard it is to be a working woman, how differently you were treated because of your gender. “That’s just the way it is,” was what she said again when my brother asked why it was easier for men in a working environment.  Now I know my mother meant no harm at all, but it was disheartening to hear her say something like that. “That’s just the way it is” – but it shouldn’t be, right? Why should it be a norm for gender to denote how a person should be treated? It shouldn’t be – and yet, it is.  In the context of my country – Singapore – there is still an air of traditionalism that exists with the older generation. Of course, with the younger ones, there is a ripple of unease, an undercurrent of realiza...

IS FAKE NEWS REALLY A NEW PHENOMENON?

When I was a teenager in the 1980s everyone knew someone who had a friend of a friend who had flushed an alligator down the toilet that had grown into a sewer monster or knew the lurid story about some rock star or movie star who got a hamster stuck in their derriere and had to go to the ER because a friend of their friend’s mother was a nurse at that hospital. We spent hours pontificating about these “true” stories, which in reality turned out to be urban legends.   Although the phrase has changed, the principle has remained much the same. Today instead of huddling around a half-eaten pizza, sharing tantalizing stories at a slumber party, people are huddled around their smart phones and computers consuming these types of “stories” or as they have been coined, fake news. And the effects ha...

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