Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

A Blog for Teachers
by Mary Jean Powers

Teachers as Advocates

Nov 1, 2021

“When the world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Malala Yousafzai

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Here is the only background information we had on 15-year-old Alex: he was living with his mother, three brothers, and one sister on a little ranch. His father died and his mother could not afford to take care of the children or pay the rent. The owners of the ranch evicted them, so she sought help. She found our orphanage (in South America) and signed off on her children.

Just like that.

She gave away her five children.

Can you imagine?

As the oldest sibling and one of the oldest children at the orphanage, Alex always took the tough-guy approach. He intimidated with his muscles, he claimed higher intelligence and superior ability at most everything! An insecure, self-important, fearful boy. Totally unsure of himself – but not wanting anyone to know – he boasted of great feats and held everyone at arm’s length.

Then one day, Alex’s mom showed up at the orphanage, her first visit in about a year. She came with her new boyfriend. Alex watched from across the compound while she spoke with the director. Slowly, apprehensively, Alex began making his way toward them. Still some distance away, his mother began yelling at him about being an ungrateful son and not appreciating all the ways she provided for him. She brashly threatened to beat him. Reaching out to Alex, the director stood between mother and son. “As long as Alex is in my care,” he stated, “you will never hit him. You have not contributed to the care of any of your children since they came, and in fact, you have not come for a visit in months. It’s time for you and your boyfriend to leave. If I ever hear of you threatening Alex or your other children again, you will never set foot on this property.” Without a word, they turned and left.

Something changed in Alex that day. His grades began to improve, he spent more time with others, he voluntarily contributed to our community. He was happier; more confident, less cocky. Someone stood up for him; someone defended him; someone fought for him. And gradually, Alex saw the truth about his value.

What is the truth about your most challenging student? What can you do to show them their immense value today? Which of your students needs you to be their advocate?

About Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

I am a teacher. You, too? I hope you love the profession as much as I do! I was 16 when I got my first teaching gigs – I had 20 private piano students and a Sunday School class of 4 and 5-year olds! At that point in my “career,” my definition of teacher was very limited. But now – after 45+ years of experience – I have come to realize that teacher can mean many different things. I’d like to share some of those insights with you! My posts will range from quotes to prayers, from cartoons to words of wisdom. Much of my teaching experience has been international, so you'll get to watch some video stories from around the globe. Jesus is the best Teacher I know, so I will be including Him in this blog, as well. I hope my thoughts and my story will encourage, provoke, and inspire you to become the teacher you’ve been created to be!

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Mary Jean Powers

Mary Jean Powers

B.A. in Christian Education
M.A. in Biblical Studies
Music teacher (band and choir director, private instruction) for 35 years
International Bible teacher for 17+ years
Certified Walk Thru the Bible instructor
Certified TESL International Instructor
CEU Provider for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Certified Life Coach and Chaplain

Who am I? A teacher coming alongside teachers!