As you know, my blog typically focuses on fashion, lifestyle, and whatever travelling I can fit into my tight student budget. Today, however, I want to address another topic that is close to my heart: education. While many of you probably know that I love fashion and good food, education has always played a significant role in my life ever since I first walked into that kindergarten classroom. If you don't already know, I'm a geek and nerd on a massive scale; if you think of the most keener person you know who actually enjoys class discussions and memorizing pages of information, that would most probably describe me quite accurately. Most of my academic career has comprised of my vying for top marks in whatever classes I happened to be taking, whether in it was in elementary, high school or university; nothing excites me more than getting the highest mark in the class on an exam or an A+ on a paper. But beyond the thrill of being one of the biggest nerds in almost any classroom, I adore learning and obtaining valuable knowledge.
As someone who enjoys constantly learning, I hold to the extreme importance of instilling a thirst for knowledge in future generations. Although I am only in my early twenties, I'm already beginning to worry about the young children who are bombarded by our society's increasingly pervasive and overly-sexualized mass media. Just take a look at the local mall to see the disturbing phenomenon of preteen girls buying lingerie or skimpy clothing. So what can we do to ensure that our children grow and mature using their brains to critically analyze the overwhelmingly commercialized mass media that seeks to make them buy into consumer products and ideologies that may be harmful? We make sure that the teachers who are laying down the basics of their education are topnotch individuals who are dedicated to the morals and principles that uphold our society.
In terms of my own experiences, my teachers and professors (after my parents) have been most instrumental in shaping my character, beliefs, and life goals. For instance, in high school I was inspired by my amazingly perky and slightly eccentric English/Humanities Honours teacher to take an interest in global and local current events and to make a difference in the world in our own small way. In fact, my entire class obtained T-Shirts that featured Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." As a result of her prompting, the Gleneagle Secondary Global Issues Club was born and I was given the priceless opportunity to fundraise for worthy causes, such as building wells or buying livestock for impoverished African villages. All of the Shave-A-Thons, movie nights, and bake sales that our club held were fun ways to engage our entire school in the process and to raise awareness of relevant issues such as AIDS and child labour. In fact, I'm proud to say that several of my fellow Global Issue club members even went to Africa or International Law schools to make a difference in international healthcare and government. In other words, the prerogative and encouragement of one incredible female educator had a huge impact on several young individuals that would result in them dedicating their lives towards causes much larger than themselves. Talk about making a huge ripple from one small drop of positive influence!
So how can you learn more about the education system in North America that will be greatly affecting our youth both today and in the near future? Join Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim in his third documentary film TEACH as he seeks to answer the question of what it means to be a great teacher in today's society and culture. See below for a trailer:
This film follows four dedicated teachers from different schools across the country over the course of one school year, giving viewers a window into the challenges, demands and rewards of teaching, with the purpose of elevating and promoting the profession. As well, TEACH seeks to engage new teachers and support current teachers. The filmmakers understand that for the best teachers their vocation is not just a job but a mission. Click here to visit the TEACH website.
As intense as it is emotional, this year in the life of four public-school teachers illustrates how tenacity, passion and a belief in innovation drive these educators as they navigate the daily ups and downs of the 2012-2013 school year. These educators use conventional and unconventional methods and do whatever it takes to overcome obstacles and strive for success.
TEACH premiers on CBS on September 6th and on Pivot on September 14th at 8 PM ET/PT.
Disclosure: While this post was kindly sponsored by Participant Media in order to promote this wonderful and deeply relevant film, all opinions are as usual my own.