My Grade 12 English teacher, Mr Breuer, lit a fire in my soul for Literature. I always liked reading – maybe it had something to do with my parents’ idea that going on holiday for them meant to go to the beach and read all day for two weeks. But it wasn’t until I was introduced to the Romantics (which wasn’t anything as lovey-dovey as I thought it would be!) that something clicked in my head. Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Kant, Shelley – they all spoke to me. And, even though I left school and went straight into a Science degree, Mr Breuer changed my life. Hero.
The teachers I work with at Green School Bali (GSB) are my heroes. GSB is a crazy place to work – with an innovative and evolving knowledge-skills-values curriculum, the vibrant community of learners that we are, the events, the challenges, the wall-less jungle campus, the push into an unknown of what this new model of education can become – it’s ‘beautiful crazy’. And it is the teachers who bring the magic. People come for the bamboo, but they stay because of the teachers.
The GSB teachers design new real-world learning activities and units, they move way beyond their comfort zone, they solve problems, they care, they work overtime … just because they believe that a school should be ‘a community of learners making the world sustainable’ (our Mission). And that was pre-CoVid. When our beautiful, wall-less, jungle-and-garden campus closed, the GSB teachers did what they do best – BEND LIKE BAMBOO. They created a distance learning program that maintained our beliefs about knowledge, skills and values learning, about relationships being core to learning (and life), that students always came first, and that the culture of our school community was central to the learning experiences of all people in that community. And, now, with a blended learning program – part in-person and part distance-learning – with less students, new learning models, strange schedules, new learning spaces, new CoVid protocols … the teachers have done it again! My heroes. Seriously … total hero status.
‘If you can’t do, then teach’ – that (idiotic) statement may have been true a century ago. Now it should be: ‘If you can do just about everything, and cope with not only all your own problems, but the problems of multiple classrooms of kids (and their parents), then teach’. We know the world needs an education revolution – the teachers are the heroes that this revolution needs.
All over the world, teachers are bringing learning into the lives of students – sparking love for science, wonder in art, music and drama, admiration for literature, awe in numbers, modelling collaboration, creativity and kindness, and SO much more. Every day teachers change lives. Every day.
My life changed when Mr Breuer quoted Blake:
“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.”
… my soul said ‘WOW!’, and it still does today.
When I see what is happening to schools all over the world – open, closed, hyflex, hybrid and blended learning models, online and in-person – and when I see how teachers are central to how we get through these crises, and I look to a future landscape of real-world learning in schools for the Now; all I see are heroes. Teachers are my heroes – changing lives, every day.