I have been asked to articulate what I believe about children and their education. As a mother, an educator, and human being, I have many beliefs about children and their education. I believe most children are born ready to learn- everything. It is in their DNA to figure out the world. I believe all children want to belong and be validated. I believe all children need and deserve love. I believe that when a child arrives at school, he or she arrives with a personal life story, and that story is vitally important in offering an education to that child. I believe that the key to helping students overcome obstacles that arise in their lives is to get to know them and investigate their stories. Adults need to ask them who they are and where they come from. Ask about their life experiences. Ask what they are interested in. Taking the time to learn about the story of a child is the key to unlocking how to reach that child in a way that he or she can comprehend and receive. I believe that every new student, no matter how resistant, stand-offish, shy, scared, or defiant, who enters a classroom, deserves for the teacher to see them as brimming with potential and promise. I believe that children will try and fail, children will make mistakes, and hopefully learn. I believe that children are not perfect. I believe that children need adults, and that one loving, caring adult can make all the difference in how a child develops and sees him or herself and the world. I believe that many children are naturally resilient.
I believe that an education is important. Not only for the facts and basic skills that a person will need to function within the world, but also for the interaction with and exposure to others, the growing of a more global and culturally-conscious self. I believe that an education doesn't only happen within the walls of school. I believe that children have many teachers- inside and outside of school. I believe that children don't all learn in the same ways. I believe that the most important learning happens when a child is passionate and curious about something.
I've also been asked if an education is preparatory, and if yes, preparatory for what? I love this question. Yes, especially as organized education is executed in the U.S., education is supposed to prepare us for life. As someone who believes that an education can envelop a person both inside and outside the classroom, this is definitely true. As we grow and mature, we are educated on many topics and in many realms, and it prepares us(hopefully) to lead healthy, productive, contributing, enjoyable lives as adults. But I also see education as Life. It is not separate from life. Right now I am getting a formal education through a university- but this is my Life!