My Grandfather died yesterday. At 16 he joined the Canadian military. He fought in Korea and in Germany (both countries that I have peacefully and prosperously lived in). He was an entrepreneur, a strong Catholic (was working to get me, the atheist, confirmed for the entire time he was alive) generous with his money and kind to a fault. Stoic and proudly Canadian, he was the only grandparent I felt slightly close to and today, I reflect on the passage of time, loss and legacy.
But this post is not about him. Nope, it's about you.
As usual, I always find the connections between lessons in life and lessons in the classroom.
Yesterday evening, we had a primary staff meeting and the PYPC and I talked about the purpose of the Action Wall we have initiated at our school. We discussed how to define, encourage, model and scaffold for action. Mostly, teachers at 4:25PM seemed red-eyed and tired. Inaction, a couch, TV, and a glass of wine was in their imminent futures.
Truthfully, I too went home and did just that. But, my downtime involves Twitter, reddit, imgur and vine so.. I happened along this post from another teacher to his highschool students about
Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Day. As someone who forgot MLK Day - and shouldn't have, I was left a bit shamefaced. After all, MLK represents what we want to model for our students. He didn't start change with the 'I have a dream' speech. He didn't begin his journey famous, he wasn't anybody. He worked hard, stumbled through, and believed in the power that one person can have when trying to change the world. As PYP teachers we share this passion, and the belief that we can make a difference to and in the world. MLK was just an ordinary man who took action and accomplished extraordinary things.
The post was a reminder that I had missed an opportunity with the learners in my care. I need to be more mindful of why I should celebrate those like MLK with my international students.
When I participated in TEDxAmsterdam in 2011, I stayed from 9AM till 9PM and watched what seemed like a billion amazing talks. However, there was one that profoundly affected me. Seemingly slow and without the glitz and pomp of the other talks, it still struck a chord when Alan told the story of the seven stones and asked: What is your legacy?
The action wall at BIS isn't just a celebration, a pat on the back, a promotion for the school, or a pretty decoration. Action, as an essential element of the PYP is not just another curriculum component to fulfill. Action truly, is a state of mind.
Action is legacy.
As an atheist, there is no afterlife to meet my grandfather in, to make amends, set things right or make changes. There is only now. My grandfather left a legacy in the freedom we enjoy today, in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. MLK created a legacy of equality and peaceful service for others. With no children and no wars to fight of my own, my legacy partly rests within the learners in my care, and partly in what I choose to do to make a difference to and in the world today.
So I challenge you:
How will you seize the 'now'?
What will you do with your 7 precious stones?
What will be your legacy?