Introducing myself and my journal: Being Here, Now

Posted October 25, 2009 from Canada

About Me:

I haven’t always been a teacher of English and Social Studies at Queen Elizabeth Secondary school in Surrey. Before this, I was a weight loss counsellor for Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centers being paid $6.50 an hour plus commission to tell wealthy women to eat their vegetables, drink lots of water and to walk at least 40 minutes a day. Before that, I cleaned houses, scrubbing and vacuuming and dusting and putting things away while my clients made much more money in jobs that were really worth their time. Before that, I was a guidance counselor in a junior secondary school in South Africa, feeling fraudulent about telling kids that if they just worked hard enough they could overcome the barriers in the paths of people of their skin colour. Before that, I was in between my life that was and my life to be and was just hanging around with a friend one day when a local principal telephoned and asked if she would teach at his school as he was desperate for teachers and she said that she was not interested but that her friend might be and she passed the phone to me.

And if anyone had said then that 27 years later, I would still be teaching and that I would be living in an intentional community, single and loving my life, I would not have believed them.

I would not have believed that I would decide to abandon my plan to become a psychologist, sell everything I had at a yard sale and use that money to begin all over again at the age of 29 in a country that, according to my Standard 11 Geography textbook, was filled with trees and had a railway line that allowed one to travel all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.

But here I am, living in a city that is almost the antipodes of my hometown of Durban, usually spending too many hours after school with the teddy bears in my classroom, getting excited about the lessons I plan and hoping that they will inspire my students. I want my students to believe that they matter. I want them to question the way things are, I want them to care, about themselves, each other, their neighbours, and the world beyond the TV screen.

And when they’re not aware of the world outside their windows, and they don’t think that what they do and think matters and when they’re too afraid to ask questions and when they don’t seem to care, I tell them stories. Sometimes it’s the story of Nelson Mandela and his 27-year walk to freedom. Sometimes it’s the story of Craig Kielburgher who decided at 13 years old that he would free children from sweatshop slavery. Sometimes it’s the story of Gurpreet, a former student, who saved the life of another 16-year-old one night when he was just hanging around downtown, bored and looking for something to do. Sometimes it’s the story of what it’s like to live in places not voted one of the top three places in the world to live. Sometimes it’s the story of choices and changes, the story of my life.

My Passions: yoga, poetry, dancing, teaching

My Areas of Expertise: public speaking, teaching, writing

Comments 3

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  • Fatima Waziri - Azi
    Oct 25, 2009
    Oct 25, 2009

    Hey there! Welcome to PulseWire!

    Its so exciting having you with us, I am sure you will have a fun time with your new online friends. I know that you will find this to be a positive experience and I encourage you to take advantage of the numerous resources and features available through our vibrant online community.

    Welcome again to our global community and I look forward to hearing more from you here on PulseWire!

  • Katie McDonald
    Oct 26, 2009
    Oct 26, 2009

    Hello Lizanne,

    Welcome to PulseWire. Thanks for telling us a little about yourself.

    I love that you tell the stories of people like Mr. Nelson Mandela to your students. I keep a coffee mug on my desk at work with a quote from Mandela to remind me of his wise words.

    Best wishes,


  • Jade Frank
    Oct 29, 2009
    Oct 29, 2009

    Hi Lizanne,

    Welcome to PulseWire. We are thrilled to have you as a new member in our thriving community of women who are lifting their voices in the name of empowerment and connecting across borders to make positive change for women everywhere!

    I love your profile introduction, it is so honest and telling of your strong spirit and growth as a woman. I would love to hear more about your journey and your work as a teacher.

    I encourage you to use your journal as a place to further introduce yourself, your work and your passions to the PulseWire community. Think of your journal as a blog, where you can speak your mind and reach an audience of over 3000 women and supporters of women's initiatives. I think that you will find PulseWire to be an exciting place to garner support, make connections and share your story!

    This is a safe space for women to share, connect, learn, support and grow in the empowerment process together. WELCOME!

    Warm regards, Jade

    Online Community Manager World Pulse