In the past few weeks I have had the privileged opportunity of participating in a community of teachers and discussing the role of educators today. Part of these conversations revolved around learning spaces, what they are, who they are for, and why teachers need to have a sound understanding of them in order to maximise the student experience. This alone makes for stimulating conversation.
However, one final comment from my mentor has once again left me pondering (as so often they do). He was commenting on the understanding that we are all aware that education has the power and ability to change lives. Yet, he encouraged us to remember this:
“you are an arbiter of that change – do not leave it to others when it can be you who makes the change!” (Staples, 2016)
So often we feel that there are other people more qualified to make significant change. They are more capable, more skilled, more available, more experienced, more dedicated, than us. However, the reality is that as educators, we all have that power every single day that we are in contact with our students. What we choose to study with them, the conversations we choose to have, the experiences we choose to provide them with, and the global awareness we choose to bring into our classrooms will all contribute to make change.
We are the ones who are qualified to do this because we are educators. We are part of a global network of educators who have the ability to have a powerful and positive impact on the students we come in contact with. It is from this global network that some incredible professionals make a decision to make an enormous change to their daily lives in order to bring about change for others.
However, as an everyday teacher (and I mean this with no disrespect whatsoever) it may seem that we are not able to solve the educational crises we see around the world, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t (and don’t!) have an impact. The knowledge, skills, understanding, and behaviours that we assist our students to develop will add to how they choose to interact as members of a global society in years to come.
We will touch the lives of countless students during our time as educators, and it is important that we realise that even though it may seem that we are not the ones teaching the children from the most dire of circumstances, we still have the privilege to be the arbiter of change through the choices we make for ourselves, our students, and our professional networks, and our school community.
So, take a moment to enjoy being a member of one of the world’s largest professional groups and make the decision that change will start with you.
Staples, A. (2016, October 30, 13:18). Online forum: Final week.
One thought on “Where does change begin?”
Excellent! Everyone may be able to influence the coming generations, but teachers are particularly well placed to, whether it’s in the classroom or out and about in the community.
I once apologised to a friend that I wasn’t doing as much as she was–she was a committed activist and had started her own kindergarten in Africa where she lived. She said that I shouldn’t be sorry, because I was just spinning a finer web with people at the ends of many different strands, which is something SHE would have liked to do if she’d had the opportunity. I loved the analogy (of course) and would like to believe it. 🙂
So you young teachers use what you have, do what you can, encourage those minds to open and fill. I’ve been lucky enough to have people say to me about something I’ve long since forgotten, “You know, I always remember what you said to me . . . ”
I expect you and your readers will hear that far more often than I did! Enjoy it and happy teaching!
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