WOW! The year 2020 is three months old now. They say, time flies when you are having fun. Well, I say life flies by when you are too busy! I haven’t written for awhile as I was on a little blogging break. Now that spring has sprung, I decided it was time to write again. I was so excited for my favorite season ever but due to the Corona virus lock down we are forced to stay at home. It’s such a double feeling to be inside and not have the freedom to enjoy the beautiful weather outside. Still, I make sure to count my blessings every single day!
All this extra time at home, does enable me to catch up on my blogging. I always have so much going on in my life. It has been months filled with many ups and downs. I love talking to people about life experiences, so it was such a blessing to see the reviews that my readers can identify to mine. So for the upcoming weeks, I’ll try to write more articles to keep you guys encouraged throughout this worldwide turmoil.
‘Clusius College in Purmerend, the Netherlands’
As you guys know, I am an English teacher and in my free time I write poetry. On my 37th birthday, I decided to share a poem with my family during my summer garden party. Afterwards, I actually broke down in tears and couldn’t stop crying. So, last year I decided to take a little break from performing my spoken word poetry due to emotions I hadn’t dealt with. I needed to do some serious soul searching and was in need of some major healing for my heart! A couple of months went by and different opportunities to perform presented themselves, but I wasn’t ready. In December 2019, my team at school asked me to teach ‘Poetry master classes’ for our students during a Christmas project. The same happened during a professionalization course named ‘Restorative justice in education’ given by Jan Ruigrok. The trainer asked us to share our talent with the participating colleagues. It was like the universe was speaking to me that it was: TIME!
“OMG, I was faced with a new but scary challenge!” -Gilleon’S Hope
Different thoughts and feelings went through my mind and body. I have performed for: hundreds of people in church, organized my own spoken word events and taught poetry workshops to former prostitutes but never for my students and colleagues at work. I didn’t understand why I felt so nervous! This was a different public than I was used to, perhaps even more critical than the others. You see the thing is, that my poems are autobiographic and basically I share my heart and soul with strangers. For days, I would wonder why am I feeling this way? Why did the other public feel so familiar? Moments later, I realized we had something in common which is the same ‘Christian Faith’. Why did I feel safe performing for them and not now? Apparently it was time to step out of my comfort zone and enter the next level of teaching and serving the most High!
Allow me to give you a glimpse of where I daily prepare the future generation. As a teacher, you have a huge responsibility to be a good example in the life of your students. As a Christian, you are taught to spread the gospel and not be ashamed of it. I strive to do both but realize, that as a human being I’ve made my share of mistakes in this life time. I aim to be the light and salt on this earth, but mind you this is a public school. I am very transparent towards certain classes about my personal life, but not to all students or colleagues. I am always myself everywhere I go, but I have been taught by my pastors to use wisdom when it comes to my faith. This time, I felt a strong divine push to ‘Just do it like Nike’ and teach the ‘Poetry master classes’. My response went a little something like this: “Ok Lord, if it’s time to preach, teach and prophesy at school. Your will be done! But, I am scared and please help me not to cry as it has happened before. Prepare their hearts to receive and not to judge. Give me the strength to be strong, bold and courageous in Jesus name. Amen!”
After this prayer, I obeyed and started with the preparations for the mini poetry master classes. Usually when I teach a class or a paid workshop, its duration is one hour. The week before Christmas break, I had 30 minutes to inspire my students and colleagues with ‘my spoken word poetry’. Within four days, I had performed my poems probably 40 times! Before and after a performance, I usually explain what I was going through in that moment of time and how I received my inspiration. I shared my journey towards my ‘Gilleon’S Hope’ brand, explained the different forms of poetry, taught them how they are able to write themselves and even got them to share their own poetry with the group. The response of the students as well as my colleagues was very touching. And guess what? I didn’t cry once in front of my students! Unfortunately, I wasn’t strong enough in front of my colleagues. I felt very vulnerable afterwards, but also very brave and proud because I still did it! A feeling of now they really know who I am! Not just ‘the teacher’ or ‘a colleague’ but the soul, the mind, the heart of the woman they see standing before them!
Looking back at these precious moments, it makes me realize how much I love my job and this new discovered talent I am developing! For the past three weeks, I have been teaching online and it’s not the same as a classroom full of cuties eager to learn or not. This lock down forces you to reflect and I truthfully believe that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. As I mature, I understand that everything has a reason. I learn to accept life as it comes and let seasons go as they are over. I can honestly say that I am truly blessed and grateful for my life on this earth! So I hope that if you ever have to face a challenge and it raises anxiety, let my story encourage you to face that giant and come out victorious! While the world is safe and sound at home with their loved ones, I’ll leave you with one last tip which is to watch the documentary ‘The Call to Courage’ from New York Times best-selling author and professor Brene Brown on Netflix.