One World

David began to softly strike his Tlingit drum and a low wave of sound hushed us to silence. While listening to the words and songs of elder/educators Linda, Selina and David I felt overwhelmingly thankful and honoured to hear their stories and advice. Each of the three speakers had a unique voice filled with great amounts of experience, knowledge and passion, yet all three had this humble but powerful presence. They had a way of reaching us new educators by making connections.

I think that is what resonated with me the most; the connectivity. The heartbreaking image of Selina’s older siblings jumping in the air off school grounds, so that they may speak a single word in their own language is connected to David’s description of a people being starving. The images that these stories brought to me just made my heart hurt, and I felt tears stinging my eyes. I do not ever want my family, friends, students, peers, colleagues or anyone to feel that empty void in their lives. Yet, I still see it, that feeling of emptiness…in my students eyes when a school system fails to connect them to their cultural roots. I am committed to doing something about that empty feeling.

Linda gave us a strategy by describing a circle, which I doodled here:

IMG_0170 (1)

She she instructed us to think of ourselves on one side and others on the other side. By connecting the sides with arrows the image teaches us an important lesson: we can only control what we give and how we receive what is given to us. This is not only an important strategy to relieve stress, but is also a reminder as to the importance of how we give and receive. What does this mean to me as a teacher? It speaks to me about really thinking about how I communicate with students, parents and the community. It also means really listening and educating myself in my student’s lives so that I can make these necessary connections.

As David reminds us, everything is connected. Being a human is all about the connections we make. Moreover, as humans we crave connections. The youngest of our society deserve to feel these connections; to know that they are cared for and loved. As a new teacher with so much to learn, and so many more mistakes to make, I am so grateful for the reminder of one mistake that I must never make: I must never forget to love my students.

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