While local teachers are about to go on strike, the Climate Crusader is reflecting on how many environmental lessons are learned at school.
Where I live in British Columbia the public school teachers are starting a full-scale strike tomorrow, following a few months of job action. School would normally run until the end of next week here, but it looks like summer vacation may be coming early. Many people, myself included, were feeling optimistic over the weekend as the union and the public school employers were in negotiations, but as of this moment it looks like the two sides are still some way from reaching a resolution.
I don't want to get overly political, and in truth I'm not sure that I'm aware enough of the situation to form an educated opinion. However, as a product of the local public school system, and as the parent of two current public school students, the strike has me thinking about teachers and schools and the environment. We learn a lot of lessons in school. Some of them are on the curriculum and some of them aren't. Some of them are forgotten as soon as we walk out of the classroom, and others stick with us for life. Some of them are positive and some of them aren't so much.
Reflecting on my own experiences in school, I can see how my teachers helped to shape the way I view the world, including my place in the environment. Some of the ideas I encountered for the first time at school include recycling, global warming, the impact of deforestation in other parts of the world and the importance of water conservation. My teachers introduced me to concepts that continue to shape my actions today.
I consider myself to be a pretty 'green' person, and I talk to my kids about the choices I make and why I make them. Even still, they come home from school and share ideas they've heard in class that I haven't shared at home. They've shared information about plant life cycles, the plight of the frog, environmental conditions in distant countries and a whole lot more. They've also participated in projects like classroom composting and gardening, programs to encourage students to walk or cycle to school, and creating art from recycled materials. School supplements their environmental education in a number of ways.
Of course, no school is perfect, and not every school program is a winner. All the same, I believe most school communities are striving to create educated, informed citizens who are aware of how their actions impact the world. If it takes a village to raise a child, schools are undeniably part of that village for most parents. The teachers spend a lot of time with our kids, and in the process our kids learn and grow and change. I am grateful for the work they do, and I am grateful to know that my kids are gaining insight into how the environment works and how they can make green choices at school.
Here's hoping that the strike ends soon, that everyone is happy, and that my children and their teachers can enjoy a positive (and green) end to the school year.