For the past few weeks my newsfeed on Facebook has filled with bright, mostly smiling, youthful faces. Dressed in their appropriately casual, clean and refreshed outfits. Adorning hopeful expressions with hungry brains shining through sparkling eyes.
It is that time of year again. If you have a child in school or if you yourself are a teacher, you have probably begun your school year.
For me, it’s a time of reflection, but also, embarking on my second year of motherhood, the importance of my own responsibility now as a teacher of sorts settles heavily on my heart and mind.
We hope to homeschool our daughter, be it all they way through her educational experience, or simply as an add on to her traditional learning. There is no doubt she will learn from my husband and me. I think of my own education and how it is a continual process to this day. I hope that if nothing else I can convey this concept to her. That she has the power to educate herself and to soak up life’s lessons in whichever way she chooses.
Of course there will be “else”, she has been learning from us since day one, and every day presents us with another obvious reflection of her careful observation.
Being a teacher comes in all shapes and forms, whether it be through gaining a degree in education with a heavy background in traditional learning or through the simple moments an uncle spends with his nephew, encouraging something slightly different than whatever he has learned from his parents.
I often feel that as a society we do not take these moments and opportunities seriously enough, considering these little sponges are the future in every sense of the word.
I have always responded best to information directed towards me in a practical sense, but as soon as any form of pretension raises its “delightful” head all is lost. I feel there is an art to educating in such a way that the people involved on both sides feel the possibility of growth in each other and that there is no superiority involved.
It seems that things start getting a little fuzzy when any sort of class system comes into play, while of course someone younger can learn from the experience of an elder in any form, it is often from observation as opposed to picking and choosing an obvious presentation.
In my relatively short existence of 32 years on this earth I hope I still feel this way well into old age, and that I never lose sight of the fact that education comes in all sizes.
I cannot help but think of my Aunt Kelly, my husband’s mother’s sister, who handles this concept with great finesse. Having built up a computer programming and gaming set of classes in one of, if not the, most underprivileged schools in the inner city of Boston. She has written grants and beefed up her allowance all on her own merit, and all the while making direct, important, and significant relationships with the children she comes in contact with. They are children after all, while some might not seem them as such when passing on the street. These kids were born into an existence I cannot even imagine. A level of poverty and fear I’ve never had to experience. They don’t join gangs, they are born into them based on what street they live on. They walk home from school in odd groups, not large ones as not to appear threatening, but with one person up ahead 100ft and maybe two together down the middle of the street. They aren’t being bold or brazen, they are surviving. Many will not graduate, some will start working full time to help support their family, if they have a family. My point of this post is not to get too deep into this discussion but to shine light on the teachers like Kelly, who put their time and energy into bringing something good into the lives of people whom otherwise might be seen as a lost cause. Doing so, all the while, without being condescending or pretentious. Those two things get us nowhere. If someone is more knowledgable about something than someone else, that doesn’t make them more valuable than the other, because chances are the other person knows more in another respect. These life experiences have proven to me to hold more value than anything I’ve learned in a class room. I can usually tell when someone feels superior to me in some way or another, and whether it be true or not, I simply do not understand pushing to convey this thought.
I challenge myself to keep this in mind while taking on the great responsibility of helping my child find her place in this world. It will not be easy, but I know it is imperative for me to do so in order to strive to be the best Mommy, Teacher, and STUDENT which she deserves. I will not challenge you, but I hope you will at least reflect on my words and possibly choose to challenge yourself.
If we can all be a little more truthful, open minded, loving and accepting of one another we might just find ourselves living in a happier and ultimately better existence.