Guest post from my friend Seth Clifford, who can follow on Twitter.
As an educator, I take it upon myself to try and impart children with knowledge; to feed their brains with as much as I possibly can for the short time I have them in my class. I’m good at it, and I enjoy my job immensely, which means that they, in turn, enjoy my class. It doesn’t hurt that I teach computers, which happens to be a great source of fun and intrigue for them, as technology dominates the landscape of our world, and will only continue to do so in the future.
But there’s another side to being in charge of young minds, and it’s something a lot of us – even other educators – don’t always grasp. We have to be the examples of not just how to succeed at academics or work, how to win – but how to live with each other, and with our environment; how to strike a more perfect balance with what surrounds us and affords us the fragile lives we have. We need to teach children how to be better people – better humans – and not just how to reach the top.
It is for this reason that I began talking to my students in the 7th grade about electronic waste and the impact that it has on our world. We all know about that, so I won’t reiterate those lessons here. The lesson I try to teach my students is not as specific as that particular topic, though. I try to teach my students about choices, consequences, and the path they decide to take through their lives. You might be thinking, “Well, isn’t that a bit much for middle school kids to comprehend?” and the answer is no.
Physiologically speaking, their bodies are growing at exponential rates at this age. Couple with this a hunger for knowledge that is still young and curious enough not to be jaded, yet advanced enough to understand abstract concepts and how they affect the world around them, and you get a captive audience, and one whose understanding of a world outside of text messages and their group of friends is only just dawning.
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