I am at a teacher training this week and have reached a philosophical roadblock. In this teacher training, they are throwing out concepts such as “sustainability”, “environment”, “peace”, etc. These concepts caused me to consider my role as a teacher.
I believe my role as a teacher is to encourage my students to inquire, to research, to look at all aspects of an issue before making judgment. I do not try to tell my students how they should live their lives; instead, all that I ask of my students is that they open their minds, question their decisions, and to take everything with a grain of salt.
So now, I am sitting in a workshop where I am being asked to teach my students about sustainability, about the environment, about being open minded. Don’t get me wrong…I went to Boulder and I am a die hard yogi…I do believe in the importance of being globally aware and realizing that we, as Americans, may not necessarily have everything “right” in our ways. I believe that we do need to look out for our environment and for the future generations. I do believe we are wasteful people and need to recycle. However, forcing those ideals onto my students seems a little contradictory to my teaching philosophy.
As a teacher, I think it is my job to teach my students to question, research, and make their own decisions. So, instead of telling my students that they need to recycle, isn’t it more important for me to guide them into contemplating the advantages, disadvantages, consequences, and options of recycling versus non recycling? Shouldn’t I be asking my students why we stereotype and judge, what the consequences are, and what is means for our communities instead of hounding it into their heads “STEREOTYPE IS BAD! PREJUDICE IS BAD!”.
I suppose these ideas could also stem from the fact that I tend to have a defiant personality and therefore assume everyone else has one as well 🙂