The students were treated to guest speaker, Amanda Lindhout yesterday. She attempted to remind them that the world isn’t that small. That what happens on the other side of should matter and affects us all. Generally my school has been great and helped support her foundation by fundraising over $30,000 to help send Somali women to school.
However, many students still seem to doubt that we now have the ability to really make a difference in this world. I took the talk to heart, and it reminded me of my trip to Cambodia, where I wandered about to a children’s centre and small temple where monks taught English to the poor villagers. I come from a very giving family. My parents escaped Laos by swimming across the Mekong river to Thailand, but they never forgot their family. My parents own a restaurant now, but don’t have any savings because every dime they scrape together gets sent to our relatives abroad. I’ve always wanted to do more too, but haven’t figured out how yet.
After Tuesday’s class, I reminded myself to keep learning authentic, so today after the talk, I had a long chat with my class hoping that they understood that we could do more as a class. We had done a charity research project a few weeks ago, so I could learn what some of their interests were in social justice. I don’t know if these next few weeks will provide us with a solid plan for action, but I plan to use my class as a platform for discussion that may spark action. If ELA is about teaching students the skills to communicate and understand the world around them, we should actually use those skills in the real world.