As a woman who has dedicated her life to connection, to health, to the natural laws of the universe, to whole education, to integrity, to authenticity, to passion, to sustainable life practices that impact both our personal and professional lives, I am empowered to share my perspective on education in today's fast paced and evolving world. I offer a renewed hope for our future generations, whether providers of, or recipients of, a new world order of Inspired Relevant Education.
Imagine Now, Sustainable, Passionate, Inspired, Relevant Education
Having been a Special Education teacher in one of Long Island's most prestigious districts, I felt deeply empty and uninspired by the mission and objectives that were required of us as teachers. We missed the point of raising whole children, and we were encouraged to teach to the disability without highlighting their gifts. We were taught to look for what was weak and to remedially strengthen it without any focus on an area of their life that held enormous potential. I was able to see their bright spots, in a district that wanted to highlight -- and got state funding for -- the blind spots, for disabilities. The district was proud. I was not. I thought we missed the point.
Our district expanded its Special Education department 100 percent the first year I was there. It became increasingly clear that there was a hole that needed to be filled, and with my "out-of-the box" mindset I offered alternative solutions based on the wisdom model: "The solution is never found at the level of the problem." Thank you, Einstein.
I tried. I mentored. I went inside the low-income neighborhoods to create connection and warmth so we could help raise communities by making "community" by teaching moms, grandmothers, older siblings, the skills that give them the roadmap to succeed so they can learn to educate themselves. Placing a student in a remedial program with no "bright spotting" plummets their self-esteem and the feeling to endure , to be inspired to recreate, to even know HOW to recreate -- this diminishes over the long haul.
Under the district's administration and management I contracted, lost my passion for teaching, disconnected and found a life, outside the same educational system that failed me as a child and as a teacher. I wanted change and used both my back to basics of my maternal skills coupled with my spiritual thirst of the unseen world that I knew lived within each of us -- and when I touched THAT part of a child, they blossoned, their eyes lit up, they felt life pulsating through them, as them and saw life expressed all around them. The solution was to create connection with each breathing, living child and inspire students to WANT to learn and be curious, a most sustainable technology.
As a teacher, I felt more inspiration from the secretarial, support staff and custodial staff- the less professionally educated in a school system, but the most wise of life and how it truly rolls out. How to make the best with the blessing one does have. I received more from the non-professionals than I did from any faculty meeting or the lack luster of what we were actually implementing in the classroom.
In the context of sustainable development goals, it is important to invest in education not just as a right in itself, but as a critical element of achieving all dimensions of sustainable development -- everywhere, inside and out. Developing children and to become more brightspotting centric vs. blindspotting centric lifts and empowers the attributes of determination, self image, and helps remove emotional blocks that open up each child to be more than meeting core curriculums, teacher scripts, the short term goals of ELA, Math and Sciences. Imagine, if a teacher is now codifying curriculum, what passion is that passing on. Automitrons of delivering a script, inauthentic to the deliverer of the message. The only thing this will do is sustain a less creative, more uninspired future generation and more suicide and depression with Special Education becoming the mainstream.
Return connection as the portal to humanistic education and help students, parents and all who advocate for them to become all that they are capable of becoming. Return and implement the wise traditions of Rudolf Steiner, the pedagogy of Anthroposophy. Use the traditional wisdoms of the ancients. Infuse the yogic philosophy of living through teaching values of integrity, passion and authenticity as oneself. Engender multigenerational employees of grandmotherly assets to all learning environments. Education needs to follow the mentoring model, such as a householder in traditional southern India, placed in today's emerging world. Trust the past to shine a light on tomorrow's success.
Could there be bullying when you are taught that the other is you? Could you learn, invest time and refine what makes your heart sing while we eliminate the stress and money our country spends on medication for ADHD, depression, suicide and low self-esteem? Imagine teachers making their job come alive because they feel truly inspired from a well within and they look forward to go to work on a Monday and eliminate TGIF text messages. A world where teachers become teachers because they can be REAL and express their true love for children with hugs and warmth and not be accused of being inappropriate and accused of sexual misconduct? A time where curriculum can not be scripted and a teacher teaches, for the LOVE of the position, the invisible gift of humanity to shape another's life. That is the ultimate gift. To be part of the unfolding of another human being here on this planet, exactly as they are.
Each of us -- each child -- and it has been calculated, we each had "one in 400 trillion chances" of arriving exactly as we are. Who are we to change that and what right do we have to script anyone's unfolding and, to boot, focus on their weaknesses? The gift is the strengths, the authentic self we each illumine.
Take a pause and see exactly who is in front of you and LIFT, RISE their beauty with moments for them to expand, in the least restrictive environment, and fuel their self expression, their way.
Let's invest in BRIGHT SPOTTING. Let's create inventories that measure strengths, successes, learning styles and how they can expand their natural gifts and create curriculums around that and let's STOP squishing their four-cornered squares or uneven polygons into ROUND holes.