I Have an Opinion…
In light of the recent events in our country, I feel I have to say something. Or, maybe, I have something to say. To be honest, I’m not sure which it is quite yet, but what I DO know is that I cannot be silent. WE cannot be silent. As teachers, this is a time when we can truly make a difference. I have an opinion about what is going on in my country, it’s not good, but I cannot quite articulate it yet. There’s some sadness, some fear, and I am very disheartened, but at the moment I need to gather my thoughts more before I preach on the topic of the current political climate.
I began a mini-series last week on Kindness, but after hearing some of the remarks made by the president last week, I don’t think that’s enough right now. At least, not on it’s own. It’s important to choose kind, but we also need to choose justice. We cannot be silent. Mulling things over in our heads isn’t going to fix these problems.
But, what can we do?
Sometimes, just starting the conversation is enough. Sometimes, that’s all you can do. Don’t be afraid of talking to your students about what’s going on in the world. Even if you think they are too young, they probably have ideas, opinions, fears, and questions about what’s going on in their country. Because this is THEIR country! The students that we are teaching will inherit the problems that are being created today. My daughter, your children, our students, will all be left with the pieces to pick up when all of this is said and done.
We Need to Create Good People
Teaching the curriculum is good, but it is not enough. And right now, KIND is not even enough. Right now we need citizens who are JUST, we need people with human decency. People who treat others like human beings, not inferior objects. We need to remember that we are all the same. Not one of us is better than another. Our students need to hear that, and they need to see it in practice. You may be the only person that they see with a strong moral compass.
I need to be the teacher that my students deserve, the teacher the future needs. Right now it’s time to go beyond just being kind. It STARTS with kindness, but it ends with justice. What is happening in our world right now isn’t just. Simply because this is the way it’s always been, does not mean that it’s the way it should be. That is a cop-out and is an easy excuse for a very serious, very scary, problem. I don’t know how to begin to fix the issues that I see compiling in my country, but I am hoping that one of my students does. They are only 11 years old right now, but soon they will be working, contributing, VOTING members of society. It’s my duty to teach them how to intelligently question what is going on around them.
As teachers we have a duty to teach our students about reality. I do not think that teaching begins and ends with the curriculum of the state. Teaching is political, and as a public school teacher I am working for and by the government. I want to have faith in the government that I am working for, the government that is making the curriculum that I am teaching to my students. Unfortunately, that curriculum doesn’t say to teach justice, teach kindness, teach human rights. Equal does not always mean fair, but fair does mean justice.
So, What’s Your Opinion?
“We are not “just” teachers, we are managers of the world’s greatest resource: children!” –Robert John Meehan
Have a conversation! Start the conversation. These aren’t easy things to talk about, they’re ugly and scary and for many of us unknown territory, but we cannot hide from what is happening. The longer we do, the worse it will get. This is the time for US, as EDUCATORS, to come together because we have the power to create a generation that is different from the ones of the past. Together, we have the power to change the mindset of the individuals who will run the world tomorrow. What we do today can, and will, change the future for our children, for our students, and for our world.
When I think about how big of a responsibility this truly is, I am overwhelmed. But it all starts with just one conversation. Just start talking.
You may not even know your own opinions, but I’d be willing to bet that as you begin to talk with your students, you’ll find them.