It’s been one week since the horrible violence that took place in Paris. I’ve tried hard to make sense of the turbulence going on in the world, and further understand what I can do to contribute to peace as a beginning teacher. It’s a bit daunting to think about the fact that I am just one person in a world with so many people, but I feel compelled to find some clarity and understand my role as it pertains to my job as a teacher.
There's no doubt that throughout history there's always been turbulence--natural disasters, economic strife and war. As a teacher, I look at and sift through events in history all the time. The kids I teach are innocent. If it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the complexities of the world we live in, it’s even harder for them. So before I start teaching, I want to have an answer when my students ask, “What can I do?”
Of course there are many ways to reach out to people in need. We can always send money and donations. Even being mindful and praying is something. Yet, we should never forget that we need to first become educated. If we start with one thing to contribute to peace and to understand the perspective of others, it is by educating oneself...not just through one source, but through many.
I think the world we live in now is ever more filled with noise from media. If I want my students to develop their own opinion, I think it’s my responsibility to teach them to seek the unbiased facts, as well as listen and read the voices of many different perspectives. I want them to understand that an opinion should be based on as much clarity as possible and not just taking on someone else’s viewpoint. They also need time to discuss their thoughts in order to form an opinion.
Now that I see how fortunate I am to have been raised in an environment where my opinion matters, I think it’s up to me to provide this to my students. They deserve the opportunity to learn and form their own opinions and thoughts in the safe space of the classroom. Only then can they see how they can take steps toward peace. What an incredible privilege it is for me to be able to do this. I think if that's one thing I can do, it’s something.
Hi, my name is Alexis Markavage. I'm a student teacher and a Multiple Subject Credential candidate at Dominican University of California. I graduated from the University of Southern California in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design, but now I'm continuing my education to work in education. I hope to work as an upper elementary school teacher.