Tag Archives: Education

So, it’s been six months of Exile already. Time to stop collaborate and listen pause and reflect.

There is much to be learned in Exile.

I’m learning new ways to block out that annoying thing called light when you’re on your way to work.

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Using time wisely

I’m learning that celebrating International Womens' day by choosing to spring clean my bedroom and buying myself flowers is just as revolutionary as not shaving your legs (or armpits if you're Madonna) – because I am privileged enough to make my own decisions about how I live my life (thank you Destiny's Child and the Spice Girls for lessons in being an Independent Woman). But there are millions of women and girls who do not have that privilege, here's why its important...

I’m learning that one of the purposes of Exile is to show God’s provision. There can be new life, new meaning, new dreams, new routines and new community in Exile. There is life in the seemingly barren places.

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I’m learning that not everyone has a problem with clipping their nails on the DLR whilst on the way to work.

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Eww

I’m learning that in the same way that faith produces good works, Love Does. Love doesn't stop at thoughts and feelings. Love takes action. Love enriches others' lives. Love Does. Bob Goff has this down to a T.

I’m learning that life without risks where you have no option but to depend on God, is boring, stagnant and uncomfortably comfortable.

Shout out to Jessica Hagy for this creation.

I’m learning that revolution in the suburbs isn’t always that subtle – don’t like the fact that they’re digging up half the street to change the electrics or something? Simply don’t move your car.

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I’m learning that though the love of money can be the root of all kinds of evil, the joy of generosity can overcome it.

I'm learning that dancing in the hailstorm is so much easier after you've praised Jesus first.

I’m learning that streams in the desert and ways in the wasteland can be hard to find, but once found, following the path and drinking from the stream brings Life, in abundance. Hallelujah.

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.           Ephesians 4v29

Over the summer I had forgotten about how little  Michael Gove is respected by the educational community. A couple of hours back in school and I was swiftly reminded  of their complete lack of faith in his stewardship of our educational system. I've wanted to blog about it before but until now it hadn't been personal enough (despite working in a school). But after one complete misunderstanding of foodbank clients too many I picked up my keyboard and started typing.

I did my research. I read more about some of the crazed policies he's suggested - ranking primary pupils nationally at 11 years old (because it will be so helpful and encouraging for 11 year olds to know that they're academically in the bottom 10% of the country. You think they don't already know that there are some kids in the class who are 'cleverer' than them?). I tried to look at it all objectively. And then I wrote 500 words on Michael Gove and our educational system.

It was excellent (even if I do say so myself). It was witty. Well reasoned. Well balanced. Concise. Satirical. Witty (did I say that already?). In less than 500 words I managed to dissect Gove and his advisors, tear their policies apart with good old fashioned common sense and inform my reader that I have a much better future envisioned for our children. It's a 500 word masterpiece. That also happens to be scathing, insulting, dismissive, disrespectful and rude. You know. the kind of thing the Daily Mail writes about Kerry Katona or people who have won the lottery and are spending all their money feeding their 25 dogs guinea fowl imported from Sweden but are still claiming job seekers.

In no way is it good or helpful or encouraging.

As someone who claims to love Jesus, as someone who claims to follow Jesus, can I post something that seeks to inform you of my opinion through  such pointed sarcasm and distain? Can I post something that seeks to tear another person down?

I want you to understand, I want you to see my point of view. But I don't think I can remove my anti-Gove glasses long enough to write something that is wholesome, helpful and encouraging.

And so I'll leave you with this: what Gove does now affects the future in big ways. What Gove decides now affects hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and their families across the country. What Gove decides now affects the hundreds of  thousands of staff that work in our educational system and their families.

What Gove decides has a big impact. #Lordhavemercy

Today I gained a fresh understanding of the Parable of the Lost Sheep. Here’s the original as in Luke 15v1-7 (NLT):

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such despicable people – even eating with them! So Jesus used this illustration:“If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it? And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders. When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbours to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found. In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

Here’s what I realised on my walk to school this morning whilst wondering how our class trip to the Science Museum via bus and tube would turn out:

Rioters, Michael Gove* and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Daily Mail readers and politicians complain that he was associating with such despicable people – even going to Nandos with them!** So Jesus used this illustration:“If you were taking thirty 7 year-olds across London on the tube, and one of them got lost in the crowd of impatient and inconsiderate commuters, wouldn’t you leave the other twenty-nine (with a responsible adult of course) to go search for the lost child until you found it? And then you would joyfully return to the rest of the group (after you’d both thrown up and cried with sheer relief). When you arrived home, you would invite your friends to the pub to rejoice with you because the lost child was found (and you got to keep your job). In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over twenty-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!"

Whenever I’ve read this before I failed to grasp the magnitude of what Jesus was saying – that heaven rejoices over the One who returns.

But today I realised that until the lost sheep was found the shepherd would have been frantic. Would I have been content to keep the other twenty-nine and abandon the lost one? If one of the kids had got lost the only thing that would have stopped me from a full-scale panic would have been the knowledge that:

A. It wouldn’t have been helpful to anyone (I am inherently sensible[usually] – panic is never a good option). 

B. We then would have had one lost child and 29 crying children.


If one of the kids had got lost I would have looked on every platform, behind every group of teenage Spanish language school students and under every bench until that child was found. I would have run up and down escalators searching for the lost child and calling their name until I could no longer speak. I would have done this not only because I want to keep my job, but also because I would hate for the lost child to be alone and scared. I would hate for them to not know where there were or who to ask for help. I would hate for them to never return home.

Would I have been rejoicing when the child was found? Fo' sure! Not only would I (hopefully) be able to keep my job but the lost child could return home! To a place where they are known and loved. To a place where their absence would always be felt had they not come back. I would have told all my friends about this potentially heart (and career) breaking event. I would I have summoned them to come and join me in celebrating. I would have tweeted about the return of the lost child, updated my facebook status and instagramed a picture of my celebratory drink.

In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than ninety-nine others who were righteous and never strayed.

Never doubt how important you are to God. 
*Can you tell I work in a school? But if Gove listened to the teaching of Jesus then our education reforms would be in a much better state #justsayin.

**Would Jesus have even eaten at Nandos though?

I want to not like Angelina Jolie. I’m Team Aniston all the way (mainly because she played Rachel in Friends, and by gosh would you know it, but my name is Rachel too and on that basis, me and Jen should be bff - best friends forever, obvs. Oh, and Jen doesn’t steal people’s husbands like some I could mention. I can only watch 10 minutes of Mr and Mrs Smith before being filled with an impending sense of doom and having to leave the room before I throw something at the TV). But even I have to applaud Angie’s latest venture.

She has helped found a school for girls in Afghanistan with the proceeds from her Style of Jolie jewellery collection. #seriousbling #guiltfreeshopping




Founding a school, for girls, in Afghanistan. Win. Win. Win.*

Go Angie!
If your budget doesn’t quite measure up to the acrobatics required to purchase some of Angie’s bling but you want to do some good with your shopping then check TOMS (for shoes), Jollie’s Socks (for socks, obvs) or Global Seesaw (for pretty things).


* (If you don’t know much about the problems faced by Afghan girls then watch this TED talk or read this article).