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Passion or Insanity?

So I’m now in Week 3 of my ‘Artist’s Way Journey’. Week 3’s chapter begins with: ANGER. Julia Cameron writes that Week 3 will bring anger and that “Anger is meant to be listened to… Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map… Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we have been and lets us know that we haven’t liked it…” unfortunately, with anger “we do everything but listen to it.”

“Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out. We are meant to use anger as fuel to take the actions we need to move where our anger points us. With a little thought, we can usually translate the message that our anger is sending us.” The Artist’s Way.

What has angerised me this morning beyond the desire to spit poisonous venom into the faces of those powers that be: Inequality, unfairness, reduction of the value of the time of a human being and the fact that the ‘powers that be’ expect us to keep quiet about it! I’m not even ‘allowed’ to post this blog, teachers are supposed to be good little servants of the government who have to live, survive and eat off their ‘passion’ for their job! PISSES me off no end! N.D. Walsch writes: “Yet only the power held by the world’s wealthy individuals and nations makes that illusion of fairness possible. The truth is, it is not fair to the largest percentage of the world’s people and nations, who are held down from even attempting to achieve what the Powerful have achieved… [what is needed]… is a drastic shift [in] the balance of power away from the resource-rich to the resource-poor, forcing the resources themselves to be fairly shared.”

As a good little servant teacher of the Governing Body / Government in South Africa I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut and not complain about the unfairness of my situation as I see it. The problem is my fault you see, because I teach Dramatic Arts and not maths or science. If I taught maths, science or English to learners then I could receive overtime pay, but as a Dramatic Arts teacher no academic overtime is allowed remuneration. So, as to not make it ‘emotional’ these are the facts:

Governing Body Dramatic Arts teachers teaching 5 grades of learners, including the pressurized final academic schooling year have to work 43 school weeks a year of ‘normal’ expected working time for which they are paid about R12000 a month, which currently equates to about 666 Pounds a month, without medical aide or pension. (At the current exchange rate of one Pound to 18 Rands). According to the new Dramatic Arts syllabus ‘C.A.P.S.’, the government require us to work an hour over time in practical rehearsals for every 9 hours of teaching per grade, and the school require 1 hour a week overtime for coaching ‘extra murals’. This equates to 2.5 hours compulsory overtime per week. Unpaid.

Thus unpaid overtime required is around 100 hours. Our school holidays, 9x8hours=72 hours. So we have 30 hours compulsory unpaid work we have to do out of the ‘normal’ 52 weeks a year of working time. On top of that, unpaid, are parents evenings 3pm-7pm, 2×5=10 hours (excluding the 2 hour wait after school). So that’s 40 hours overtime, expected, unpaid. On top of that are the government meetings through the year on Friday afternoons and/or in holidays, unpaid for 20 hours. So that’s 60 hours unpaid. And on top of that we are expected to take all 5 grades at some point to see a “professional production”… crank in another 10 hours there.

THAT IS 70 HOURS, EXPECTED, COMPULSORY, UNPAID OVERTIME, OVER AND ABOVE WORKING A FULL 52 WEEKS IN THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!! And we have to be good little teachers and not complain about it.

That was me last year 2013; cranked in 200 odd hours of work over and above the call of ‘normal’ teaching work and I got NOTHING for it. Not a Thank-you card, not the pay the Maths, Science, Sports coaches and others receive; NOTHING. And the government and powers that be believe it is justified and ‘right’! How twisted, wrong and unfair can you so blatantly be? As I have now, after pleading my cause, been officially told that there is no budget for any extra work I do. With all those hours, no wonder I’m not up for ‘marketing Eish! London’. No wonder my energy is low. No wonder my motivation is low. Then I have the ‘pleasure’ of sitting next to a very wealthy business man at a dinner party who takes sick, ignorant delight in telling me that teachers do no work and are “on holiday all the time” and do no work. He tells me that he does this to all the teachers he meets as it is a ‘game he plays’.

I also had another incredibly wealthy business man telling me that it has to be like that because “education is a non-profit organization that does not contribute to the income of society”! I’m like, oh, so none of the guys making their millions went to school? Is that what you are telling me?

Maths, science, sports and English teachers went home with a great bonus in funds for teaching the “important” subjects… the one’s you can learn online or with a textbook… I challenge every single person on this planet to find a Dramatic Arts student who wasn’t changed and enlightened as a human being when they took the subject… which is, apparently, not worthy of being treated in the same manner as the maths, sciences and languages.

So what does my anger tell me? We are in a world that places more importance on ‘stuff and things and numbers’ than it does on the human soul and our development as fair, just and loving human beings. N.D. Walsch typed these words: “ ‘Living a better life’ is a proper incentive. Creating a “better life” for your children is a good incentive. But the question is, what makes for “a better life”? How do you define “better”? How do you define “life”? If you define “better”, as bigger, better, more money, power, sex, and stuff (houses, cars, clothes, CD collections – whatever) . . . and if you define “life” as the period elapsing between birth and death in this your present existence, then you are doing nothing to get out of the trap that has created your planet’s predicament.”

“Because your present incentive for greatness has to do with accumulation of all the world has to offer, all of the world is in various states of struggle. Enormous portions of the population are still struggling for simple physical survival. Each day filled with anxious moments, desperate measures. The mind is concerned with basic, vital questions. Will there be enough food? Is shelter available? Will we be warm? ENORMOUS numbers of people are still concerned with these matters daily. Thousands die each month for lack of food alone. Smaller numbers of people are able to reasonably rely on the basics of survival appearing in their lives, but struggle to provide something more – a modicum of security, a modest, but decent home, a better tomorrow. They work hard, they fret about how and whether they’ll ever “get ahead”. The mind is concerned with urgent worrisome questions. By far the smallest number of people have all they could ever ask for – indeed, everything the other two groups are asking for – but, interestingly, many in this last group are still asking for more.”

Lord, thank-You that I have a shelter, warmth, and food in my stomach. Amen.

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