My little heroes this morning are this kid, and the other guy just behind him.
The basketball court was covered with earthworms this morning. Many of our little city-dwelling students were screaming mindlessly or stamping on them. These kids are scared by nature. Part if it is cultural – many people in this part of the world think the utterly beautiful and harmless Gecko is evil, for example. Part of it is their increasingly sad, air-conditioned, sanitized, concrete, screen-based lives. Show them a bug and they run for their lives… and usually an adult comes with a can of poison to kill it.
But these two Grade 2 students saw me picking up the worms and helped me out. They were a bit squeamish about it at first, but they soon found out nothing was going to happen and promptly returned all the worms to the soil. I made sure I made a big deal of how proud I was of them, but I walked away thinking a number of thoughts:
- We teach kids they must take care of their environment, but do we get them out there properly experiencing it? I have written about this here.
- How can we say we are developing curious students if their reaction to things they don’t know or understand is to scream or kill?
- What do we do about cultural beliefs – particularly damaging ones – that we believe are ridiculous?
- Caring for things – anything really – needs to be modeled. It is clear that this is not happening at home for many of the students in this part of the world – quite the opposite it seems. So, how do we put adult modeling at the forefront of everything we do in schools?
- If a student goes all the way through an international school and still screams at worms but gets into a good university, can we say we’ve “educated” them?