Friday, January 17, 2014

To change the world or the individual?

After reading the 2013 Syracuse University commencement speech on going for kindness as a lifetime goal, I've begun to re-evaluate my thoughts on our goal as educators.

I am guilty too. In my personal and professional life, my goal is to "change the world." With my students and teachers I work with, the task I set forth for them is to "change the world." And though it is a very ambitious and worthy cause, sometimes, it causes us to forget the day-to-day. Instead, we focus on the grand schemes and forget about the relationships that we must forge.

As we try to get our students on Twitter and other social media in an educational context, I think about their previous uses of such media. Though, they may change the world with inventions and new technologies, are they being kind? And, to relate it to my profession - are they being digital citizens?

Though, we should not stop teaching students to aim big and to change the world, it is important to first build relationships and discuss the importance of being kind and effective citizens. Because, isn't that changing the world? If we changed one word we said to a person, how might that have changed our relationship and their/our life? Instead of ignoring the quiet student on the playground, how could we have changed the world by being kind to that student?

It may sound like It's a Wonderful Life, but it's worthy of discussion. Our district is reading one book together this year: Wonder

And, perhaps the biggest takeaway is the belief of: "When choosing whether to be right or to be kind, always choose kind."

 We can change the world, but how can we do it by focusing on the day-to-day relationships? How can that change education?

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