Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Where do we start?

I am an educator from the United States and I am proud of that.I am also excited about learning the culture and language , as well as the viewpoints of other countries. I share the good and the bad with my students and then we talk about it... I say talk because discuss has such a formal air to it and my students do anything but discuss. They are like sponges and cannot get the questions or comments out of their mouths before another one pops in, ready to erupt and be blurted out. It is gratifying to see their minds whirling and thinking and trying to take it all in. So today, as I sat in the session called , " The Importance of Addressing Oceans and Coasts in an Ambitious Agreement at the UNFCCC COP21: mobilization for implementation, I thought about my students and all the questions that they ask about oceans. Now let, me back up a minute or two. We are in the Piedmont of North Carolina, which means at the best we are 4 hours and at the worst 8 hours away from the ocean coast. My students know of the recreational areas like Myrtle Beach or Emerald Isle. So, they are fully aware of the ocean, but only in the context of a place of recreation and relaxation. When we talk about oceans, the questions tumbled out just as if they were surf tossed. Their desire for ocean knowledge is inexhaustible. They would be encouraged to know that ocean health is a concern and that the governing body of the COP21 are looking at this in addition to all of the other pieces that will make up an agreement to solidify the world on the goals for Climate Change reduction. I know, you are saying," Well, they would only be concerned because they like to swim and sunbathe and have fun." But, don't we start to educate people by looking at the piece of the lesson to which they are drawn? Once you hook someone, you can pretty much teach them anything. So my students are the start, they don't care about the bickering over the wording of something; they care about is it going to still be safe and can I still go there? If we educate our children young enough, we can move them from the pleasantries of ocean associations to a harder core look at to which other important components of life on Earth do oceans contribute? We have created a solid group vested in the health of oceans and the planet. So , as I sat there and listened to the trivialities of changing this word or omitting this other one, I got very excited when one panelist mentioned that education was key to getting the support needed to facilitate a change in the trend of ocean health and human security. I was so excited that before I knew it, I had raised my hand and was adding my comments to those of the high players in this COP. It felt good! I felt like they listened when I told them I was an educator and that my students were passionate about the ocean and that my students were the key to educating the older generations. I am proud  to be the educator of these students. I hope that they would have been proud of me for standing up for what I knew to be true.  But I mentioned that sometimes we have to accept the bad things that come with the good. As we were leaving the conference we passed by a protest against the United States. I was sad that people feel as they do towards us and I was a wee bit angry as I thought, " But they aren't talking to the " everyman"; they aren't talking to teachers that work desperately to educate their students on the values that are important in life. They are basing all of their perceptions on our government officials .. and they are going back a LONG way... I mean not even looking at the current administration totally. I wanted to reach out to them and say, come talk with my " kids" .. they are the future, they will be the governing agency ...they care. As those thoughts rumbled through my brain, I thought.... and now is the time  to put my " kids" into action and see what great things they can do! We need to trust that our students can take the reins and drive a new order of thinking, but that starts with us!

No comments:

Post a Comment