Friday, 4 September 2009

Education, change and a movie

I spent the afternoon in a very useful manner: watching the movie The Freedom Writers. There are many lessons one - especially a teacher / formator / educator - can learn from this movie. The one that struck me was the perseverance of the teacher... but this perseverance comes at a great price! I liked that particular conversation between the Principal (Ms Margaret) and Ms Gruwell. That part when Ms G is told to 'educate' the students, teach them discipline, not anything more, because they do not want to be educated. I think that's when the Ms G really becomes someone more than a classroom teacher. Imagine she taking up two other jobs so that she can earn some extra bit for her students... the misunderstandings with the other staff and management... then there is her own personal life crumbling down when her husband files for a divorce. Great risks cost. Those willing to make a difference have to pay a price. Change does not come free and easy. But great are those who are willing to pay the price.

Being on the formation staff I can very well understand the feelings and things going on in Ms Margaret's head. All very right and noble... but I too have to realise that education is more than just discipline, rules, respect for the teacher, obedience, formal lessons, classes... It means being able to touch the lives of students and making them believe that they can change and they can bring about a change for the better. It means becoming part of their life, not just the classroom. It means helping them become all that they can be. And what's the role of the formator in this process? Just being a facilitator, inspirer, encourager, challenger, a model... not the centre figure of their lives but a catalyst.

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