I am sitting in class right now with 21 students in front of me reading quietly for ‘The Big Read’ project to encourage literacy using OXFORD graded readers. In the first 20 minutes two very smart boys have already finished their books, and are looking for more. The idea to pin the students against each other in a fun contest, almost always works with these enthusiastic 12 year olds.
What I know for sure being a new teacher is that what you bring from your own personal experiences in life adds a great deal to the classroom environment. But that also goes for the children as well.
These kids are from 10 different countries and most are from affluent families that spent their holidays in vacation homes speckled across the globe. All speak at least two languages, but many 3-4! They ski with local and famous politicians, and rub elbows with TV and movie stars. Most by the age of ten have seen more in their lives than I will ever see or ever dream of seeing. But lucky me, I get to hear about their little stories, living vicariously through these amazing young people.
But they are not like most rich kids, showing off their latest iPhones, and 500€ Nike’s, they are quietly discrete and really nice people. The only thing I can say is that they have been raised right, by good parents who emphasise good behaviour.
I know sharing funny stories about the things experienced in life may not be the norm in a classroom, however I encourage the students to share; as long as it is in English of course. We talk about food, and different restaurants we like to go to, and series we watch on Netflix and HBO Go. I also ask them what’s wrong if I see a change in character or why they didn’t have time to study, lending my ear; trying to keep communications open. I truly care about my class, and this one in particular is a once in a lifetime group of kids that make waking up at 5:45 worth while.
They are not just a pieced together class full of 12 year olds, half girls and half boys. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The community they have built since daycare has not changed much over the years, and as a result they know each other extremely well. By growing up together they have created a phenomenal bond and it astonishes me just how much they protect one another; never letting anyone fall behind or fail, they are fair to a fault, and would fight tooth and nail for a classmate.
They help each other with homework, they send each other the answers on Instagram and they are constantly in communications with one another on their devices. They have managed this tight-knit community based on 100% trust and honesty. They are a hyper bubble world, sprinkled with privilege and knowing where they belong in the world.
I remember feeling this way in high school, the connections so deep were more like family than friends. These kids are building their communities far sooner, and I can imagine what will happen when they fly out of this school and make friends in university. They will connect to other communities also being built throughout the world with the same access to technology as this one. Their human internet connects them straight across the world, with empathy, with a great sense of what is right and wrong, and also the understanding that we are more the same than different. This could be the answer that we have been looking for when it comes to world peace and in many ways they move together as one.
It is like this. The past generations have ruined humanity and this generation may have found a way to repair it.
Lesson of the day. In the wild there is a phenomenon, when fish, gastropods and plants, change their sex called sequential hermaphroditism. It usually occurs in three situations. When the numbers are low and the change occurs out of survival, when the size of the fish is bigger, they change sex to be able to spread their seed over a greater distance meaning a serge of fish, or third, when a variety of genes is not sufficient, a new male will immerge for gene variation. What is interesting to me, is that this miracle happens on some kind of a universal plane, a natural urge or knowing through some kind of connectedness that we cannot see or measure.
My class has that same immeasurable quality; knowing things beyond their years, through Internet, each other, parents, travel; I feel they have a similar connection, some kind of survival mechanism has developed inside them that allows them to be far more empathetic than ever before.
It seems only natural to me that evolution will occur or possibly it’s already upon us, on individual basis’ because of what the world will need to survive. In effect we will create the solution.
And perhaps humans cannot on a large scale change the world, or find peace all around it at once, but maybe through evolution and that immeasurable thing, these children in so many ways act like the fish moving together, learning and understanding, assimilating to each other’s thoughts. It kind of reminds me of the cyborgs from Star Ship Enterprise, the units that act as one. The benefit of our children growing up like this, is that they are terribly understanding because they can imagine walking in the others’ shoes, they express their feelings and emotions accurately and with the backing of a football team. They justify and balance their thoughts and actions. They have a strong sense of justice. And one day they will rule the world. Thankfully!