Sunday, August 4, 2013

Education Disrupts Poverty

I'll be honest I stole the title to this post from the profile of @jcasap but when I read those three words they culminated my thoughts. I can't really pick a moment where I started to see this, I can only pick moments where it has become louder.  One of those moments was driving through Jamaica this summer and seeing great need in people with smartphones in hand emerging from roadside shacks that served as homes.  One of those moments was learning how middle school kids disrupted poverty in a third world country hundreds of miles apart by designing and building efficient stoves and sending over their models with directions to those who could benefit. One of those moments was getting to watch a well below grade level student in my class go from passive to eager.  In sustaining his current drive he will be the first person in his family to graduate high school and the first person in his family to steer clear of incarceration before the age of sixteen.

In contrast a poor education encourages poverty.  How will jobs materialize for those who cannot harness the potential of technology?  What will people do with the facts they were forced to memorize when most search queries are complete in less than a second?  What happens when there are problems that need solving and there is not a teacher around to give the solution?  What happens when there is "never any time" in overloaded curriculum for students to pursue their own dreams and ideas?  Our students can become lost, poorly equipped, and mislead if we choose to use our time with them ineffectively.  When lesson plans stay the same while the world changes, kids lose and poverty is fed.

Now more than ever I am convinced that teaching is the most important job in the world.  People who learn how to teach themselves and learn how to use the tools around them not only have the power to bring themselves out of poverty but they have the power to bring others around them out of poverty.  I will work this year so that kids practice and develop the essentials skills to end poverty for themselves and the world of those in need around them.