finding the magic

teacher pupil

Twice this past week I have been gifted two wonderful moments by students.

The first was during my ICT class, which is a double period. I always pause the class half way through the double and allow students to go out for a drink or a toilet break. No one should sit for that long without a stretch, especially if they are working with their laptops for the whole period. So, out they go, and one student returned with a small gardenia flower from the garden near the library, and quietly placed it on my laptop keyboard.

The second moment was when I was walking across the school campus, and a student paused at the classroom door he was about to enter and called, “Hello, Mrs F.D., you are my favourite teacher!”

Makes a change from the students who ask how much I adore them! Those are far more in number.

I’ve got to remember those moments on the days I am so stressed I want to go and lie in the street. Speaking of which, the student who was suspended for, first swearing at Minerva, my erstwhile library aide, and then swearing at me and storming out of class, returned to class at the end of last week. He was perfectly behaved, but then nothing occurred to trigger him, I suppose. Just another three weeks of that class!

gardenia

High tea in the library

Most private schools are very strict on students regarding wearing the correct uniform. I have worked at schools where if I girl wore a ponytail without the a ribbon in the school colours they were disciplined.

One of my daughters describes the school where I work as the type of school where “if the students wear part of the uniform, the teachers are happy”. She is right.

There is one young girl who craves attention from her fellow students. Either through her behaviour or her clothing she makes it clear she wants to be noticed. For a few weeks during winter she took to wearing fake fur panda caps.

Friday she wore a leather belt around her waist, from which hung a very ornate silver teapot. The teapot was about a 4 cup size. It had an attached domed lid.

I am looking forward to Monday, to see whether she is building up to a full afternoon tea set.

Going up the staircase, one step at a time

Australia is introducing a nation wide curriculum for our schools. A nation of only 23 million people it makes perfect sense that our children should all be learning the same subjects at the same stage. In our mobile society it means that students can move from state to state with more ease.

As a teacher I am encouraged to not educate with old models. I try to teach in a way that will reach students who have been born in the 21st century. They have never known a time without mobile phones, laptops, Xboxes and the internet. To use what is in serious danger of becoming a tired cliché, they are indeed digital natives. Their every day life is lived multitasking in a digital online environment. It is natural to them as breathing.

Why then are our politicians continually serving up to their constituents old model politics of conflict and hate? Why is our media so happy to work within this position?  I use the word our, because we have a role to play in this, and many of us are abdicating our role.

That role is to communicate to the institutions of our various societies, that we will no longer tolerate this abuse of the power we give them. I am of the opinion that the place to start is with the media. Media magnates the likes of the Murdoch Family (family taking on a new meaning since the accusation of “mafia boss” made against James Murdoch this week), are motivated by money and in particular profits. If we hit those profits, they will listen.

If we don’t buy or subscribe to their biased and conflict ridden media, for example in Australia the very biased Australian or Courier Mail newspapers, then they will soon listen. Falling profits and unhappy investors are what they listen too. I think far too many investors are morally bankrupt. The hysteria in the stock markets is proof that they too are concerned about profits, and easily spooked. It is up to the consumer to spook them.

Send them, the media and their investors, the message that we will no longer tolerate this abuse of our good will. When the media changes its tune, the political whores will follow. If politicians want our attention, and our vote, they will have to play to our rules, and that rule is no bullying, no conflicts. Communicate, negotiate and produce some positive results.

We can’t blame the politicians or the media, if we don’t tell them what we need and what we want. And we want it now, don’t we? It means that we are going to have to communicate, negotiate and produce some positive results too. We can lead by example, model the behaviour that we want, just as a committed teacher does; as an effective parent does.   Don’t subscribe to their behaviour, attitudes and values.

Think about, and try it; we might just like it!

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Martin Luther King Jr.