Please, lower your expectations…

I am back from a long vacation I took in beautiful, warm, colorful tropical islands, back into the crowd, the mess, the dirt and dust of day to day living as a school teacher in Cairo.

While it takes me only 15 minutes to get to work at 6:30 am, it takes me a whole hour to get back home. Yet, I try to go on.

My supervisors insist that in spite of my lack of experience in teaching school children (my previous experience being one year of adult teaching) I am showing day by day why and how I am a good teacher. I feel like I am failing as my heart isn’t in it enough.

I do not like the stress that comes with such great expectations. I agreed to write a summary for the entire Biology curriculum, but they liked it so much, now I have to write a summary of two additional school years of Science!!

I am swamped and do not know what to do… I don’t even know if I should put all my heart into it, lest my dream of being a certified pharmacist in a respected country slip away…

Should I put my all into being a teacher? Or should I study alongside my job in order to be a pharmacist??

I honestly do not feel like my mind has what it takes anymore, to store thousands of pages worth of information… I can feel my memory weakening more and more day by day… but I truly do find myself being a teacher…

If you were I, what would you do?

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A Book in the Hand: Three Go-To Titles for Reluctant High School Readers

I have been looking for a list like this. Thank you Julie. I will read them all and back to you.

Julie Conlon

I was in the media center last week while reading and English teachers brought their students down for independent reading books.  The “card catalog” computers are not working yet, so we pointed students to the fiction section and told them to let us know if they needed help.  Some kids knew exactly what they wanted and headed to find the second book in the Divergent series or the manga books; others scanned the shelves looking for a book their sixth grade teacher read aloud or the skinniest book they could find; some just wander.  I have a couple of go-to titles for these wanderers:

speakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson  I love Anderson’s voice as she tells the story from Melinda’s perspective—the sarcasm and nonchalance on the surface, the pain underneath.  She truly understands 9th grade.  Beginning with the first marking period, the book chronicles Melinda’s ninth grade year as…

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How the Education System Remains Blind to the Internet, The impact of virtual education

kristian sekulic/E+/Getty Images

Written and witnessed by a high-school biology teacher.

When the internet started its public use in the 90’s, it was hardly available to everyone due to the high costs (and low efficiency) of both computers and a persistent internet connection. But recently, as we moved more and more into the years between 2000 and 2010, there were major leaps in both the quality of computers, the internet and their prices. The internet started to become highly available, and as readily available as a mobile carrier signal.

Since 2010 until now, the extremely fast progress in communication technology seems unstoppable. High speed internet is now available in much cheaper prices than before, and internet access is now possible at low cost from the simplest and cheapest of smart phones.

But unfortunately, this readily available vast pool of information resources and knowledge is collectively treated by most education systems throughout the world until now as though it does not exist.

The Ostrich Effect:

Education, just as workplaces, hides from the internet, choosing to ignore the fact that it is out there, and could be greatly utilized to greatly reduce the costs of education while also increasing the efficiency of education. Yet the educational systems throughout the world chooses to carry on as though nothing has changed since before the internet.

It appears as though education is sitting in a comfort zone, it has always worked that way before, why shouldn’t it work that way now?

This is the same exact reaction that electricity received from different societies when it first started being readily available. The only difference is that electricity was a source of energy. That is why the greatest impacts of electricity was on these processes which consume energy. On the other hand, the internet is a source of information. Wouldn’t you think such a vast source of information should have a huge impact on education the same way electricity had on industry?

What the internet could change for education:

Already, education standards are falling. Even Canada, where the standards of education are deemed highest in the modern world, is falling behind. The simultaneous rise in the costs of education and numbers of students are not helping the matter. So many physical institutes were made available, and continue to do so at extremely high costs that could be easily avoided.

Schools are made to house so many children at the same time, with all the schools’ consumption of energy, paper, books and materials, along with huge education staff payments, that are continuously rising higher than ever.  This is not to mention the vast amounts of resources, in gas and busses, with their maintenance and their drivers. Not to mention that they contribute significantly to the traffic jams of rush hours in cities, wasting millions of hours of time for other citizens, whose time could better be spent working, or relaxing to prepare for the work of the following day.

Busses are required to transport millions of students in all societies and countries repeatedly back and forth between home and school on daily basis for months on end, when the classroom could simply be available online.

What is it going to take?

It is going to take huge amounts of debt, and other countries successfully implementing the virtual school and classroom model for other countries to follow suit. Seriously, cutting the education budget, which  makes up 4% to 6% of a country’s entire GDP, just came on a silver platter. As it currently stands, there are only two scenarios left for the impact of the internet on education:

The first scenario: Pretending it is not there:

The numbers of students and the costs of education will stay rising where either spending will rise in attempt to keep up with the rising costs, or standards will fall as governments will fail to increase the education budget sufficiently to maintain the standards.

The second scenario: Utilizing the internet:

The direct costs of education and its load on national budgets could drop significantly, while raising the efficiency of education at the same time. Furthermore, the impact would not only be great in countries that already have a good system of education (that is struggling to remain that way), the impact would also be massive on other countries with masses of uneducated children. Whether the reason in this failure comes from governments or families to keep up with the costs of education, the cheaper and more efficient option can only have one outcome: greater numbers of better educated children at lower costs.

What should be done:

There is not much time left to allow the internet to properly make its impact and mark on education, much in the same way it has created an impact on every aspect of our lives. I admit that a system that would effectively work is going to be highly complicated to develop and may require years of experimentation. On the bright side however, these experiments with children attending virtual schools have already begun, and it is only a matter of time before other parents choose that option gradually over the coming years.

Hopefully, in a nearby future, physical schools and colleges will be destined to empty, the same way libraries already did.

Have you enjoyed this post? Check out this one on 7 Reasons to Enroll Your Child in an Online Elementary School

Have an opinion? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. No email/registration required.

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My thoughts on ISISTerrorism

I have heard and seen the attrocities of Qaeda And Boko Haram throughout the decade. But never have I been disgusted by a militant group as much as I am of ISIS.

The most shocking part however is The Islamic State Of Iraq and Syria declaring themselves a caliphate with authority over all muslims.

Well, I am a muslim, and I would like to declare that ISIS has authority over shit.

Also, there are people who link a terrorist organization to Islam, simply because of terrorists’ collective delusion that they are muslims. To these people I say that Hitler does not reprsent Atheism, and paedophilic priests do not reprsent Catholics.

My last word: I could not be more proud of Indonesia, the true jewel of the Muslim world. I would like to thank the 200 million souls in Indonesia who are 95% Muslim for banning ISIS, its beliefs, and declaring it an embarassment to the Muslim world.

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The job of trying to find a job

I could have written this myself. It speaks of my life, word for word.

Little One

‘The nights are the hardest. But then the day comes! And that’s every bit as hard as the night. And then the night comes again…’ Rachel Green, Friends.

As funny as I find Friends (it is one of the only programs I actually laugh out loud to), I can’t help but relate in a serious way to this line from Rachel; apart from in my case, the struggle isn’t my fear of never getting married, it’s my fear of never achieving a successful career. For the last few months I have found it increasingly difficult to sleep, I lie in bed endlessly scrolling through job websites searching in vain to find a job that I may be suitable for. This is what it has become now, what am I suitable for, instead of what do I want a career in. Then when the day comes I spend more time trawling…

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Fear of Failure

challenges-ahead

Of all the instincts that mostly come with great benefits to all of us, fear of failure seems to be the most malignant of all. It does not stop at simply ensuring that you work hard in order to succeed, or avoid obvious dangers, it is in many cases the barrier to your success.

The worst kind of fear is one that is so great, it effectively cripples you into doing the bare minimum to survive. I have this trait so badly, that I simply can no longer start my own business or provide my own service, that would pay me a lot more and better than any other full-time job.

Is fear of failure a blessing or a curse? Is it stopping us from succeeding? Or is it protecting us from making rash decisions that could harm us to great extents?

Is it a good thing to fight to play it safely? Or to fight your own fears for the remote prospect that your own efforts could pay off?

In my case specifically, I had attempted to invest many times, so I can get out of the employment box to a more financially flexible (and fair) option. I read several books on trading via the stock market, forex and network marketing. Every time I had experimented with those things, I had failed. I blame my failures on fear. He who does not have excess cash that he could afford to lose, tends to make the wrong decisions. These decisions are mostly driven by a great fear of losing money that it turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I slowly came to realize that their is no shortcut to whoever does not have the starting capital to take his own risks and bear their responsibilities. Shortcuts, although probably much smarter and better options, cost a lot of capital that I don’t even have.

barrier2

Currently, I do not have enough money to start my own business. Other people keep telling me that opening a pharmacy is such a safe project that I should definitely consider even borrowing to get it up and running until I buy back the money I borrowed. Knowing my fear of failure complex, my chances of failing will be much greater when faced with falling into debt with friends that I could very likely lose because of a venture like this, I believe that my only option currently is to be employed, look for a job that pays extremely well, until I have my own capital for my own business, and not lose the money of other people, their trust, or their friendship.

So how do you think my fear of failure is working? Is it hindering me? Or protecting me?

What about you? How is fear affecting you?

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The College Delusion

Congratulations on your college degree! Now you’re just like everybody else…

Not very long ago, education was considered a main player in an immensely important role: shaping the minds of young ones with not just sciences, but discipline, religion and life in general.

Education Today:

What the wrong college is like

That is the case no longer; the entire education system runs till this day and age under the assumption that there is no internet. Elementary education still emphasizes science, maths and language, assuming that all students are going to be scientists, doctors or engineers. If you are not one of these, you have failed. Higher education overstuffs you with knowledge that is enough to work twenty different jobs, the far more efficient option being a 6 months program for a single job.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH EDUCATION?

Overqualified is the new qualified:

Everything, as it currently stands, is leading to a dead end. The next global crisis will be one of academic overqualification combined with experience underqualification, that releases people to the work force around the age of 24 and are still not ready and too old. Where everyone has overpaid with extreme prices to obtain a masters degree that cost more than a hundred thousand dollars, without any practical knowledge or skills to perform specific jobs.

It is no longer practical:

The worst part: they may still fail to obtain a job, being considered all studying and no work, or simply too old to start working. They could have been far better off taking their time to study a business project even up to a year. That could have been far more successful, profitable and not as risky as investing in education that is neither practical nor special.

Ask yourself:

Ask yourself: If you’re hired into a position in a lab for the analysis of food products, and the position has a 3 months pass or fail training program up front, did you need your college education at all? How about any job that does the same?

Ask yourself: Did you need to stuff an entire book case full of business management books, to know everything there is to know about finance and accounting, to simply graduate into the mundane task of calculating the payrolls of people and their salaries?

And I ask myself: Did I need 5 years of education in almost all known disciplines related to pharmacy and medical chemistry, in order to teach school kids what I had already known very well since high school?

Even a PhD can be worthless:

The only practical advantage of education is to be one of the few people, in demand by the market, that possess the knowledge of your discipline. If you lose that edge, you are as worthless as your PhD. Not long ago, high school was an advantage. When many more started getting high school diplomas, a college education was the new advantage. Then the bachelor’s degree. Then the additonal diploma.

Very soon people will need to be 24 year olds with masters degrees looking for a job, or even 27 year old PhD holders still looking for the entry level job at the rate we’re going.

The only way a degree could be worth something:

Do not follow the crowd. Do not follow your friends, your parents or society, as people are unlikely to admit that a system that has been working for a hundred years is all of a sudden broken. Trust in yourself, and study the market before you pick the profession you like.

Follow your own direction, and do not wait for college to end before you do

Pick your profession first, THEN see if there are any qualifications needed. The sooner you work the better: practical experience is far more precious than theoretical experience. I mean seriously, don’t expect to be paid to do something that nobody actually wants, or has too many people competing against each other to do it. Now there are books written by professors, not simply angry graduates, of how the problem with college is growing (even having an architecture degree nowadays. even if from Cambridge, is becoming useless).

No matter what your job may be, self-employment and doing business will always be more fulfilling that employment if you are smart. Treat your employment job as hands on practical experience that you also get paid for, unlike college, which is the cramming of tons of mostly uselss information that you PAY to do in order to obtain a piece of paper that is more often useless than it is useful.

Do not fall in the same trap I fell through.

Do not be like me.

Further studies: A great documentary on today’s problem with higher education, adequately named the college conspiracy:

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My Goal With This Blog

This is my very first entry in this blog. My goal with this blog is to treat it like a diary, so I can share my experience with other teachers, presenters, public speakers, doctors, or anyone whose occupation regularly asks him to take up the marker, take to the board and wield the label of “instructor” one way or the other.

The reasons why I want to share my experiences are too many to share in my first post, but I will attempt to mention the most important points. They are as follows:

  1. Convince others that finding one’s purpose is far more important than any apparent career prospects. A doctor may be financially a lot better off than a teacher at first glance, but the truth is that the key to success in your chosen profession is your love and enjoyment you get out of that profession, whether you are employed or self-employed.
  2. Encourage others to switch careers no matter what their age or experience happens to be. If your purpose, happiness and fulfillment are on the line, make the switch to what you know you greatly enjoy, even if you start with zero experience or get an entry level job all over again.
  3. Happiness is far more valuable than money. A career you enjoy is better than a career that pays well. Let’s say you like fixing cars, being a mechanic at someone’s garage might be menial, but it is still vital experience that you can get to open your own car-fixing business.
  4. One can’t survive on happiness or fulfillment alone. Money still matters. However, you will find it far easier to switch to self-employment and business doing using your skills on the job you enjoy than the highly paying employment job that you actually don’t.
  5. Self-employment and business are always than employment, and passion for your profession, no matter what it might be, will help you get there.

With the above points made, I hope you all have a good time here, and find the courage to make the switch to the career you enjoy, while laughing out loud at the education system that is as broken as society.

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