Picture
"Girls Night" with Class 1003 at my apt.
This past week in my Bilingual Junior classes, I taught a lesson on identity. It was one of the best lessons I've ever taught, in my humble opinion, not because I did something special but because my students actually seemed to consider who they really are. As a part of this lesson, I presented the poem "Our Deepest Fear" by Marianne Williamson, often attributed to Nelson Mandela. Once we read and discussed the poem's meaning an implications as a class, I gave them some time to write their own "deepest fear" poems after reading my own as an example. I challenged them once more to "dig deep" within themselves: "Don't just tell me you're afraid of spiders or dogs. I want you to think hard and consider what your deepest fear is really." After reading through their poems, I got the idea to create one poem per class by using one line from each individual student poem. I'd like to share those poems along with my own poem and the Marianne Williamson's poem that inspired this activity. I hope you enjoy!

Original Poem:
Our Deepest Fear
from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

My Poem:
My Deepest Fear by Tempestt Gavins
My deepest fear is that I won’t make a difference
My deepest fear is not that I will fail
My deepest fear is that I will not succeed
With this in mind, I must change my focus
No longer will I focus on the things I can do
But focus, instead, on the areas that I can make improvements
I will allow myself to live according to principles that have reinforced throughout my life
I will no longer walk in the strength of Tempestt
I will walk in my God-given power
Because my confidence will indirectly give others confidence



Class Poems:
Class 1003’s Deepest Fears
My deepest fear is not that I will make others disappointed; my deepest fear is that I will disappoint myself
My deepest fear is that in all kinds of exams, I may fail
My deepest fear is that I am not smart
My deepest fear is that I can’t make any progress
My deepest fear is that I won’t realize my dream
My deepest fear is that I can’t make my life be worthwhile
I know I am not good enough, but I think I still have the opportunity to change

When I was a child, I was very happy and naïve
My deepest fear is that I don’t want to be an adult
My deepest fear is that I’ll lose my way
My deepest fear is that I lack confidence
My deepest fear is that I won’t have a chance to study abroad
My deepest fear is that I will lose my dream
I will do what I want with my own will
You have the pride, but I have the glory

My deepest fear is that I will always be alone
I don’t fear that nobody will be with me; I fear that nobody will support me
My deepest fear is that there are few people who love me
My deepest fear is that I will lose my friends
I can have many friends, but most of them are inaccessible to my soul
My deepest fear is that I won’t make a difference
I am the owner of my life
Because my optimism can make all the difference


Class 1004’s Deepest Fears
My deepest fear is that all my effort means nothing
My deepest fear is that I will be a useless person
My deepest fear is that I am not hardworking enough
My deepest fear is that I won’t be an outstanding graduate
My deepest fear is losing
I am afraid of not achieving my goals
I will trust myself; I can control my own life

My deepest fear is growing up
My deepest fear is that I will no longer be young
This fear of mine is that nobody will love me
My deepest fear is that the one I love is not my Mr. Right
My deepest fear is that we can’t be together in the end
My deepest fear is that I will lose my family
My deepest fear is that nobody will take me out of the darkness
But when everything’s settled, I hope I could be surrounded by people I love 

My deepest fear is that I lost myself
I never think about myself
So I never insist on one thing too firmly
People around me won’t feel how sad I am
With this in mind, I want to be strong
My deepest fear is that I will not fight for life
But the only thing I can do is be a person who is like the light
There is a sign directing me, which I believe in
I will never lose hope; I will bring beauty to the world

Lora
3/16/2013 21:54:53

Thanks for posting these! It sounds like a great lesson! I feel it really captures the heart of the students and gives them an opportunity to speak thoughts they may not feel able to share before.

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Susan L. Keeno (Mommy)
3/20/2013 12:25:57

My deepest fear is not being able to be close to my love one's and tell them in their time of need how much they truly mean to me. Another one is not being able to be close enough to you, when you really need me the most!

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4/3/2014 04:32:38

I love what your doing on your blog, its very and I have viewed some articles already. I will continue to view, and hope for your continued success. As a black student myself, even though I've been to China and had a great time each time I went, I wish I came across blogs like this before I went my first time.On my blog:

voyagetoasia.com

I speak about my experieces being black in Asia, as well as trying to encourage others to make that stride. I am hoping to increase black prescence in Asia, at the least, because I don't want to exclude anyone, I want to try to bridge the young cultures together, more then hip-hop, and basketball, which are the only things they really know us for.

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Hey ms Gavins
11/17/2015 10:54:05

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Mrs. Benjamin
1/15/2016 08:36:47

Really powerful stuff.....it can be tough to get young people to become vulnerable....SHOUTOUT TO MS. GAVINS!

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    Tempestt Gavins

    This is my fourth time to visit but my first year living in China.  It has been an amazing experience so far, especially with being one of the few black girls among many Chinese people.  Follow me as I experience China.

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