It may seem strange, all my posts about “unschooling” or homeschooling. You may think to yourself, “Wasn’t she a school teacher?” “Doesn’t she still teach kids?”
The answer is Yes.
For a long time now I’ve been grappling with the wisdom of my heart, which says that our children deserve freedom to play, time in nature, good food, and the job that I sometimes do. (Teach in public schools.)
At a certain point, I had to heed the call of my soul that said,”This isn’t in alignment with my values.” I’ve left my full-time teaching career, but I do spend time in public schools as a substitute teacher sometimes.
There are days that make my heart ache. Today was one of those days. I was in high school much of the day. A small room. The windows didn’t open. It was hot. The kids and I were all tired, many of them were hungry. Their teacher had been inconsistent all year and was expected to not return.
The truth is that high school is a waste of time for a lot of kids.
If we don’t get to the root cause of this issue, we will only be placing band-aids on symptoms. At some level we are perpetuating the very cause of the disease.
I watch kids being corralled as we put so many costly band aids on issues that really need to be rooted out, from the source, and re-invented.
No matter how much icing we put on mud pie, we still have mud pie.
I’ve spent my whole life talking about being a teacher and planning and preparing and then teaching and just because I’ve left the system to a large degree, doesn’t mean I’m not still a teacher, I feel its who I am at my essence, my core.
The way I teach and the what have changed. Rather than teach kids how to solve algebraic equations, I feel that what’s more at the heart of the matter is to educate others about how this system is outdated and needs to change.
This is a value issue at its core. Its a spiritual problem.
Human beings are separated from their families at too young of an age.
Instead of being taught how to care for our bodies, and drink enough water and exercise regularly, we are cajoled to do things that may not be developmentally appropriate.
We are given tests and standards and benchmarks to meet. (There are standards and testing in preschool)
Who is teaching the importance of breath? Movement? Sunshine?
I tried. I had to get parent permission. Breath and movement, i.e. “Yoga,” is a religion, is it not?
So, to teach kids to move their bodies and breathe is outside of the norm? Not permissable?
Keeping kids inside all day, feeding them gross food, mandating tests and separating them from their tribe-that’s completely acceptable.
Here’s what we know humans need to thrive and survive:
Time in nature
If that’s what’s best for kids, and we truly valued our young, we’d given them ample time to enjoy all of those.
Instead, we keep them separated from nature and test them.
What we are doing to our kids is downright criminal.
I can’t sit idly by while I watch the institutionalization of humanity, the imprisonment of our children, the robbing of humans from connection with each other, their family, and the great mother Earth.
My kids laughed when they heard the term, Gaia. It was strange to their ears. Foreign. I introduced the concept of earth as their mother, source of their sustenance. The sun, as their ultimate source of life. They argued with me.
My favorite phrase was, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” My answer: The SUN.
In a culture where we ignore reverence for the rhythms of life, separate children from their literal and figurative mother, is a culture that does not clearly know what’s right for the betterment and proper evolution of its own kind, and that, my friends, is a very sick culture indeed.
The children, my friends, the children! I am not the Lorax, though I do speak for the trees.
I am Rachel, and I speak for the children.
Listen. They are inside. Under false lights. Hot rooms. Hungry. Missing family. Being made to do what they don’t want to do.
There’s a place I know quite like that. It’s not called school. It’s called, wait, how do you say…oh, yes… Prison.
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