I was reminded again this weekend during the Sabot Symposium about how fortunate I am to be part of this community, not only as an educator, but as a human being. I had the privilege to listen to an educator from Sweden, Harold Göthson, and his talk centered around classrooms being a "mirror of society." The image of this ideal resonated with me tremendously. It has made me self-reflect more about my role as a teacher in the classroom and creating agents for change in our community and this idea of global citizenship. How do we do that as schools, as parents, and as a community? Harold asked, "What is possible when things are not possible?" Such a loaded question, right!?
I couldn't help but think about the story of the starfish. We cannot expect change to happen overnight to make all the wrongs that we see right, but rather one child at a time. What we can do is foster children's curiosity and not shy away from the hardships that the world throws at them. What better way to unpack disequilibrium than in an environment that makes room for voices and feelings to be sorted out. Harold's idea of a school being a "democratic meeting place" where the "right of learning is to change our minds." What a powerful vision this is! A place where we do not always have to be right, that there is a gray area to ponder and reflect on ideas and thoughts. In our classroom, I often hear the children say during class meetings... "I want to piggyback on that idea" or "I changed my mind, I agree with ______." There is acceptance for differences and a place for understanding. We do not always need to have the same vision as one another, but a common agreement to listen to others with the intent of understanding them.
My girls had an administrator years ago that told us at Back to School Night, that everyone of the children under her department had a story of their own. These stories are the ones that shape them and help them evolve into the unique beings that they are...and it was her vision to learn these stories to better understand them. Those words spoke to me.... everyone has a story. This administrator would often be seen with her small notebook and pen around campus, and she would jot down these moments with the girls to help her remember their stories. When another takes interest in your personal journey, you can't help but feel a sense of connection and belonging. Harold said in his keynote speech, "hope is more important than knowledge." I felt these words ringing truth in my ear, especially during all the hardships in this pandemic. In life, we have paths that are not always straight, but rather jagged, never ending, or even narrow at times. Sometimes we cannot change the knowledge or the circumstances we hold, but we survive on the hope for better days to come. I agree with Harold. I believe what we create space for this the knowledge in order to process and reflect and connect with each other in order to bring hope for a better future. And this is how I believe we change the world, one starfish at a time until others join in.
Some random facts about me...