How Teaching Creates a Better World

Dear readers,

My heart is hurting. My mind is filled with sadness. The world is a bitter and sad place when all we are reading about right now is the racist and conservative political agenda Trump has going on in USA, how killings in a mosque in Quebec is happening because of Islamophobia, how millions of women are marching because their rights are being threatened by (male) politicians who are deciding over their bodies and minds.

There is so much to be sad about, and frankly I do not always know how to see a light at the end of the tunnel when I am so overwhelmed by everything that is going on in the world. We must keep in mind that it is not just people in the West that are upset about Trump, but so so many vulnerable people who are stuck in refugee camps, in countries that are in the middle of war, they are stuck in places where they are alone and without real support or comfort from their family members. The walls around Europe the last year has apparently not been enough suffering for this group in the world, instead there is now a ban for them to even be let in to the US where they should be given a chance of a new life, the human right to be safe, to become educated, to raise their children were bombs are not a daily threat.

So, why am I writing about this? We are all aware of these things, since news are reporting about them daily, several times each day. Mainly, I need to write it down somewhere to force it out of my mind. I have a constant sadness hanging over me and I need to think of how I can make anything better in this hot mess. I am already doing some things that I barely notice, such as donating money to NGO’s every month, but it is not enough. There needs to be something else. Something which is more powerful.

I think about what I am studying to become. A teacher. Why is this important? My subjects are Arts and English. How can this make a change for anyone? Because I have decided to work within the most important field in humanity. Knowledge, educating your mind. Learning to think for yourself, criticize, ask the right types of questions, show more empathy towards people who are in dreadful situations. All of this will be part of my profession. I have a power that not all of us do. I have the chance to meet hundreds of children and teach them to think, not what to think, but TO THINK. To look at the world around them and try to understand it better. To discuss the political chaos that is going on in the world, to argue for their opinions or against others’.

Through Arts, I can show how much similarities the Islamic world has to the Christian, I can show how people thousands of years ago communicated with each other in a language that we all can speak. I can show that racism is not something that only relates to words, it is shown through different types of media, and most importantly images. Why do we portray some things in a certain way? And what happens when we are being fed with certain types of stereotypes through the internet for example? I can teach my pupils to learn to express themselves in different ways that do not have to be focused on language comprehension. They can learn how symbolism can be the essence of a certain type of image. I can guide them through our history by showing them examples of how artists have portrayed their present times. We can discuss how they must have felt when they created a certain painting. I can help them understand the world better by giving them strategies which they can use when they meet their worlds they are part of.

Through the subject of English, I can show them how issues which are part of our time have been relevant for thousands of years, how feelings have been expressed through different themes. I can show them that people are equal and that hierarchies between different communities is not the standard. They can learn about parts of the world that are otherwise completely hidden from their perception of the world. Take them on journeys around the worlds through simple digital tools, which helps them understand that racist boundaries, built on fear and ignorance, is something that is replaceable, and that the power lies in their hands. I can help them gain understanding of why it is important to know about different political systems in another country and how that affects us in Sweden. I will show them the millions of worlds that are within books and I will help them develop their creativity and imagination through words written by brilliant minds. I will support them when they have questions about our scary world because they need to have adults who are not afraid of talking about what scares us the most. I have to do it, because I cannot come up with one single argument as to why I would not.

My hope lies in the generation I am part of and the ones that are to come. I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity to  be able to meet so many people and work with them, helping them understand the world we are all part of. This passion of mine is what keeps my above surface. I need to keep believing that this profession of mine is of absolute importance if we want a world that will be better for us and our future generations. Understanding that it is everybody’s responsibility to try and create a better world is vital, if we want to see change in the near future.

Knowledge will always be powerful, much more powerful than all the weapons in the world or president’s who lack competence when it comes to doing their job.

Love,

A very proud teacher-to-be.

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