For the past 20 years I've defined myself as an educator, working with challenged/special needs children as well as providing support for the teachers with discipline and behaviour . I loved my job (if you can call it a job!) the pleasure of connecting, establishing relationship and communication. Supporting and enhancing a child's growth through learning is/was more of a calling than work. However at the end of the school year I submitted a letter of retirement for September. And I have some opinions!
I see the teaching of children as rich and deeply rewarding when I engage fully . Unfortunately the politics and agendas of some mostly well meaning people along with an antiquated premise continue to sabotage many children's creativity and personal expression. We need to spend more time engaging with our future citizens in their interests and providing imaginative responses to their encouraged questions. What is our intention for these potential leaders, teachers and entrepreneurs?
I hope they will also be growers of food, ideas and new life enhancing technologies. That they will want to learn from the past, lessons our generation has rejected as irrelevant: connection to the natural world, growing our own food, making our own clothes and adding sums in their heads.
I am worried about a generation of children so reliant on electronic technology they are challenged to entertain themselves without it. I worked with children unwilling to write or print or do any mathematical operations without enhanced support. Call me what you will, there are still places, thank goodness, where the cell networks don't reach. Where wi-fi is just a misspelled combination of letters. Our environment is being degraded and we act as if it is not. A society in denial. Our most vulnerable members have no choice in whether or not they wish to partake .
I believe in the importance of a classic education. Knowing how to express oneself allows us all to communicate efficiently.
"It takes a village to raise a child" is not just a cute phrase. The value of community is lost when we herd our children into anonymous cohorts separating the challenged from the gifted instead of having them teach each other.
I am now perched on the edge of my own flight away from the nest. A voyage of discovery and exploration as I continue my commitment to life-long learning. I'm embarking into new environments and possibilities for learning and sharing, expanding the opportunity to be the best I can be. Sadly I do not have any magic solutions. There are many choices when it comes to education, I have chosen to embrace the multiversity of life as a classroom, the libraries of the world, the land itself. I will continue to create and question my reality.