Saturday, April 25, 2009

Teaching moments

Occasionally in teaching you have a moment that stays with you. On this particular day I was chatting with a student that was having a hard time relating to teachers. I said to her, "nice people associate with nice people." Her response was, "but how do you meet nice people?"

That has stuck with me as it says a lot in a few words. It said how she wished to be a nice person - although she had been referred to as a little shrew. She didn't think she knew very nice people and didn't really think she had much in common with nice people. She was about to graduate year 12.

It was a profound moment as by intuition I realised that many of these kids had no idea of what nice was to judge themselves by. Where in our curriculum do we examine truth, justice, honesty, doing good to others, teamwork, selflessness? Our curriculum is embedded with feminism, eco-friendliness, multiculturalism and many other analytical topics (areas where we analyse how things come about in small contexts). The loss of a true History and Geography course, English literature at many schools, discussion and debate of critical formative topics is a real loss to our society.

When students tell me what they get up to on the weekend (knowing that I will stick my hands in my ears and go lalalala when getting to the relationship stuff), I tell them that I only envisage them going home and playing with trucks and dolls. To me the males are gentlemen and the girls are ladies. That is always my image of them. I always maintain that they are, in fact, nice and that someone values them doing/being good. I remind them that their parents are their greatest allies and that they may have to depend on them (and statistics say live with them) well into their late twenties. To them this is another lifetime!

What do we give students that make them feel good about themselves? Do we show them value of the family unit, of co-dependence, of selfless giving? Do we show them the negative aspects of capitalistic dogma and expose the generation Y fallacy that life is about fame and fortune? What do we give them that helps them see that they are in fact nice.

Something to think about.

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