Friday, May 28, 2010

Voices I (hope to always) Recall

I'm going to miss my International Baccalaureate class dearly. They are graduating seniors and are off to college next year. This week ends our two year journey together, and I am incredibly humbled by their gratitude and appreciation. I love them. A lot.

As a concluding assignment, I asked my kids to write "This I Believe" essays (in the same form as NPR's 1950's program) - Christine's brilliant (as usual) idea. All of the essays are special - inspirational and personal - because they define what's important to the kids right here, right now. One of my kids, Lauren, wrote a particularly insightful essay about the importance of internationalism, especially regarding education. Her words are poignant and universal. Please enjoy this incredible wisdom from an 18 year old kid:

When I started high school, I was basically a loser. I wanted to get in and out as soon as possible, putting in the minimum effort. I didn't think I had much to learn. I could read and write and I knew what I thought about, well, everything. I knew what was right and what was wrong and what needed to change in the world. I still have a moral code. I know what needs to change. But everything else is different.

I started in International Baccalaureate (IB) flat-out disagreeing with a lot of people in it. With their ideologies, political views, study habits even. I also started out wanting to get my diploma basically to prove that I could. I still thought I knew everything, and after two years of the same ole, I figured I needed to do something challenging before I died of apathy.

And now? I still disagree with a lot of people about a lot of things, but my beliefs - and how I view theirs - have altered drastically.

This I believe - if we are to achieve world peace, we must first seek world education. Universal teaching, not necessarily of the same curriculum, but of the same ideal: that people must learn how to think. They must learn to think for themselves, and they must learn to question those thoughts. Every culture in the world gives their children a different beginning. Every country, every village, every family. Each child begins with a foundation, but to question it, examine it.. And to be willing to change it.. How we know what we know?- Theory of Knowledge (TOK) asks. And that's the most important question anyone will ever be posed.

I don't care if every kid learns Mandarin because that's not really the universal language, is it? There will always be translators of words. The hardest thing is to translate thoughts. Beliefs. How do other people think? Where are they coming from? Where are they standing? A lot of wars have been fought over that kind of translation.

I started out headstrong, and I ended up in love with diversity. I'm pretty much a firm believer in learning through experience. I feel like if every student spent two years in class next to a girl as lovely and compassionate as my friend, Yassmin, there would be fewer idiots in the hallways telling jokes at her expense. I believe that if one in a hundred classes could include the incredible variety of human thought that each and every one of ours does - this is what we do where I'm from; this is what my religion says; this is how we think differently, and the same - there would be a lot fewer hate crimes and stupid remarks and just horrible ignorance in general. There are kids in this country, state, and city who barely even see people of a different ethnicity on a daily basis. How on earth are we supposed to be a global community if we don't even get what our neighbors are saying?

I really didn't care when I began this programme. And then it started to sink in: what IB means, and through that, what education means. And I started to care. I know other apathetic students could, too. I believe that if everyone had to go through this - essentially write a college-level thesis in high school, have discussions in every class, research and study with every resource available like their lives depended on it - they would love learning, or at least take a little pride in their educations. I believe that no one would ever fault their child for wanting a college degree, or two, or four, nor would they confuse academia with elitism.

So, yes, I believe in IB. Me, my classmates, my teachers - we could really change the world because whether we realize it or not, we know what to do. I believe in education and yes, even TOK. I believe in myself, and I believe in all of the future CEO's and presidents, and diplomats I share math class with.

This I believe.


This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (Voices I Recall, this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

5 comments:

Grannymar said...

And, you Ginger, helped to bring that out of Lauren! A job well begun.

Rummuser said...

It is a lovely essay and I wish that you could have recorded it and given us an audio version. I bet the passion would have come through.

gaelikaa said...

It must be difficult saying goodbye to students with whom you have bonded when a session closes and getting new people in your life on a regular basis. I never thought of it before, but after reading your post, this is what I'm thinking about.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Wow, that sounds like a great program (and a great kid.) Thanks for sharing it with us all.

prashant said...

its lovely blog
Banner Advertising Network India

Friday, May 28, 2010

Voices I (hope to always) Recall

I'm going to miss my International Baccalaureate class dearly. They are graduating seniors and are off to college next year. This week ends our two year journey together, and I am incredibly humbled by their gratitude and appreciation. I love them. A lot.

As a concluding assignment, I asked my kids to write "This I Believe" essays (in the same form as NPR's 1950's program) - Christine's brilliant (as usual) idea. All of the essays are special - inspirational and personal - because they define what's important to the kids right here, right now. One of my kids, Lauren, wrote a particularly insightful essay about the importance of internationalism, especially regarding education. Her words are poignant and universal. Please enjoy this incredible wisdom from an 18 year old kid:

When I started high school, I was basically a loser. I wanted to get in and out as soon as possible, putting in the minimum effort. I didn't think I had much to learn. I could read and write and I knew what I thought about, well, everything. I knew what was right and what was wrong and what needed to change in the world. I still have a moral code. I know what needs to change. But everything else is different.

I started in International Baccalaureate (IB) flat-out disagreeing with a lot of people in it. With their ideologies, political views, study habits even. I also started out wanting to get my diploma basically to prove that I could. I still thought I knew everything, and after two years of the same ole, I figured I needed to do something challenging before I died of apathy.

And now? I still disagree with a lot of people about a lot of things, but my beliefs - and how I view theirs - have altered drastically.

This I believe - if we are to achieve world peace, we must first seek world education. Universal teaching, not necessarily of the same curriculum, but of the same ideal: that people must learn how to think. They must learn to think for themselves, and they must learn to question those thoughts. Every culture in the world gives their children a different beginning. Every country, every village, every family. Each child begins with a foundation, but to question it, examine it.. And to be willing to change it.. How we know what we know?- Theory of Knowledge (TOK) asks. And that's the most important question anyone will ever be posed.

I don't care if every kid learns Mandarin because that's not really the universal language, is it? There will always be translators of words. The hardest thing is to translate thoughts. Beliefs. How do other people think? Where are they coming from? Where are they standing? A lot of wars have been fought over that kind of translation.

I started out headstrong, and I ended up in love with diversity. I'm pretty much a firm believer in learning through experience. I feel like if every student spent two years in class next to a girl as lovely and compassionate as my friend, Yassmin, there would be fewer idiots in the hallways telling jokes at her expense. I believe that if one in a hundred classes could include the incredible variety of human thought that each and every one of ours does - this is what we do where I'm from; this is what my religion says; this is how we think differently, and the same - there would be a lot fewer hate crimes and stupid remarks and just horrible ignorance in general. There are kids in this country, state, and city who barely even see people of a different ethnicity on a daily basis. How on earth are we supposed to be a global community if we don't even get what our neighbors are saying?

I really didn't care when I began this programme. And then it started to sink in: what IB means, and through that, what education means. And I started to care. I know other apathetic students could, too. I believe that if everyone had to go through this - essentially write a college-level thesis in high school, have discussions in every class, research and study with every resource available like their lives depended on it - they would love learning, or at least take a little pride in their educations. I believe that no one would ever fault their child for wanting a college degree, or two, or four, nor would they confuse academia with elitism.

So, yes, I believe in IB. Me, my classmates, my teachers - we could really change the world because whether we realize it or not, we know what to do. I believe in education and yes, even TOK. I believe in myself, and I believe in all of the future CEO's and presidents, and diplomats I share math class with.

This I believe.


This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic (Voices I Recall, this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.

5 comments:

Grannymar said...

And, you Ginger, helped to bring that out of Lauren! A job well begun.

Rummuser said...

It is a lovely essay and I wish that you could have recorded it and given us an audio version. I bet the passion would have come through.

gaelikaa said...

It must be difficult saying goodbye to students with whom you have bonded when a session closes and getting new people in your life on a regular basis. I never thought of it before, but after reading your post, this is what I'm thinking about.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Wow, that sounds like a great program (and a great kid.) Thanks for sharing it with us all.

prashant said...

its lovely blog
Banner Advertising Network India