You know how and idea gets hold of you and you can’t shake it no matter what?
Well that happened to me six years ago while I was teaching at an inner city, Title I school in Sanford, Florida. I wanted to find a way to incorporate into the curriculum eco-friendly concepts that could open the eyes of my students to technology and products that promoted a more sustainable future.
The school where I taught had a large number of students who received “free and reduced lunch” because their parents’ incomes were low enough to qualify for food assistance. We also served a homeless population. I had my National Board Certification in Technology Education and had voluntarily left an upper middle class school to come to this Title I school, hoping to make a difference in the lives of my students.
The idea of “sustainable” living was as foreign to my students as the idea of hitching a ride to the moon.
Basic neccessities of life was first and foremost in their minds and the idea of something being eco-friendly was not something they saw on their TV’s at home! It just seemed, “weird” to them. I felt somewhat justified in my attempt to explore and expose these ideas to them because after all, I had been a technology teacher before leaving the computer lab and heading into this inner city classroom. And my National Board Certification that I had worked so hard to achieve included in the standards many of these concepts.
There was a gap between the two populations that I had served. Students from affluent homes and neighborhoods had more technology at their disposal to use at home than we did in most classrooms. Their computer skills were more advanced than most of the teachers who taught them. Students from the less affluent homes and neighborhoods had little and no opportunity to use computers outside of school. In these schools, computers were mostly used for repetitive drill practice that reinforced basic skills in math and reading.
All students are shaped by popular culture. What they see and hear every day in the media has an impact on their ideas and their thinking. It was while working in this Title I classroom that I really began to consider how popular culture shapes those ideas. I began to see the disconnect between the environmental movement’s vision for a more sustainable future and the cultural norm children were exposed to every day.
“Grow Me Up Green” is my exploration of popular culture and my hope that we can build a bridge from the present to that more sustainable future starting now. I believe that the images, the stories, the media that children are exposed to is an important consideration that must be examined if you want the future to look different from what it is today.
I left the classroom after 24 years of teaching in the K-8 world of public education. Now retired, I live with my husband, our three rescued dogs, and three rescued cats. I do Pet Therapy with my golden retriever, Charlie. We go to hospitals, libraries, schools, and other events. I enjoy having down time that allows me to contemplate… and there it is, that pesky idea that came to me six years ago but won’t let me be. So I guess now is the time to begin my blog, “Grow Me Up Green”.
Photo Credits: 1902 French film ‘Le Voyage dans la lune’ (A Trip to the Moon) (Photo: Wikipedia commons)