It’s been so long since I’ve last written a post about anything and I feel like I owe it to my world pulse family to share why I’ve been so M.I.A. For the past year and half I’ve been in school, completing my Masters of Science in Education and teaching certification. It’s been such a crazy year educationally but it has been an even more inspiring and deeply motivating year for me. Whether I was the student in class or the teacher at the front of the class, I not only learned something about myself, but I also learned a whole lot about my students – who I’m proud to call my kids. I’ve seen firsthand the struggles that children in the slums go through each day, and I’ve also seen the light at the end of the tunnel for children who feel like they have no hope. I’ve seen my kids smile out of joy because each day is such an amazing learning experience for them, and I’ve also seen them frustrated and angry because they feel like they’re incapable of learning. Some of these students who come from low socioeconomic statuses feel like they’re in a socially-helpless situation, while some students fight each day to defy those very characteristics, to make a better life for themselves. Some of these students have a wide range of disabilities – everything from ADHD, autism, physical disabilities, TBI to behavioural issues – and boy did I learn a lot from working with these kids. I learned how to be a better teacher, a better student and most importantly a better person.
I learned more from teaching these kids than from being in the classrooms as a student because I was faced with the challenges each day of trying to help these kids move past their own social, emotional and personal difficulties. I realised that education is the one gift that can save all of these children, and as teachers we owe it to them to do our best and to give them their one chance.
I know it’s difficult to make a change in every child’s life especially considering that I spent so little time with them all, but I’d like to think that I tried my best to open their eyes to what’s going on around them and give them the chance to make a difference in their own lives. Having said that, I want to share with you all some of the accomplishments that I made throughout my teaching placements.
At one of the schools I taught at, we did a bake for change event for the Free the Children Organization. All of the grade 7 and 8 classes came together to bake cookies, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, etc. to sell to the rest of the school in hopes of raising money for the Org. We also held a school dance where they charged $1 for admission. In the end we raised nearly $600.00 all of which went to the Free the Children organization. Everything from the planning process to the event decorations to the food preparation was such an eye opening experience for the kids. They learned about the devastating conditions that so many children worldwide were living in, and they decided that they wanted to do something about it. There were moments of joy when we realised how much we raised but there were also moments of sadness when we talked about the inequality, discrimination, poverty, etc. that so many children dealt with each day.
On another occasion, I had the students create a written piece (poem/speech) highlighting a social issue of their choice during Remembrance Day. These children were given the opportunity to research a social issue of their choice – whether it was bullying, child labour/slavery, feticide, sexual abuse, discrimination, etc. – and express their feelings about the topic in their own words. For me this was one of the most moving and powerful experiences that I have ever gone through in my life. These children poured their hearts out on paper as they spoke about these social issues in hopes of raising awareness. We plastered some of their pieces around the school so that other teachers, parents/guardians and students could read and learn about these social issues – in hopes of having them raise awareness as well. In the end we forever changed lives as they became exposed to a world that was for so long unknown to them.
Also on several occasions, I talked about how they could use social media positively to raise awareness and to learn more about these social issues. They learned about how they can put an end to things like cyber bullying with just one click by reporting a user’s comment or by telling an adult about an incident online. We’re in an era where our children are governed by the pages of the internet and we owe it to them to help them learn how to use it in a productive and positive manner. We have to accept that there’s no way to get around their involvement and their use of the internet, so what better way than to show them how they can have fun but be safe and respectful at the same time.
In the end, these are just some of the ways in which I tried to use my teaching as a way to educate my kids and raise awareness about issues that impact them in so many ways. I wish I had more time to overcome more mountains – but with the end of my program I realised that this is just the beginning of my journey as an educator and activist. From here on out my journey to overcome many more mountains and to save angels begins; and I can’t do any of this without your support. So please, my world pulse family, help me make a difference by sharing your words of wisdom and support, by sharing your thoughts and dreams and by raising awareness with those around you – wherever you are.
Much love and respect xoxox.