I was playing a game called “Fink” with some students a while back and one of the questions was “What career would you dream of doing?”. To my surprise, they were all really focused and had aspirations that were both challenging and refreshing. One boy, lacking in the self esteem department muttered about working in a local supermarket for the rest of his life and before I could get in there, his friends were there questioning and encouraging him.
I come from a day filled with life and opportunity. Corridors busy with tiny year sevens and their enormous bags, fancying themselves as the latest human snails; the bigger, more boisterous students finding their place in the corridor and the world, and those chatting as fast as break time would allow catching up on a Summer’s events. Teachers striding confidently, smiling, giving of themselves for the success of the students who sit in front of us each day. “Potential” sums it up for me.
At the moment, I find myself caught in the tension of this excitement and the sobering reality that so many children today do not have the opportunity to attend school for a range of reasons. Their potential not being realised is heart breaking. I wonder what the real number is? I wonder what their story is and what it would take for them to attend and receive quality education.
I know some people in the UK are poor. I know poverty is not all about materialism. Herbert Kohl said, “Illiteracy is a form of poverty”. It’s a single line that convinced me of teaching and continues to. I just wonder though, what would happen is we shared the wealth?
Money. Time. Resources. People.
It’s nothing that’s out of our reach if we’re honest. I guess we all have choices to make in terms of career path, how we spend our time and money. I wonder what would happen in ten teachers gave up their Summer holidays? What about one hundred? What kind of practical difference could be made? I do pray that we “get it”. That we join in with the story of Jesus, bringing good news, love like never before and new life.
I don’t want to opt out. Cop out. Block out.
I’m joining in. Are you with me?