This morning, I woke to the news of student walkouts all over the world.
Follow the learning is a blog dedicated to the lessons we can learn from students regarding the change we need to make.
Today, I failed.
One of the driving questions at my school is, "How to communicate effectively?"
Today, I failed.
In the past 24 hours, I missed a massive message students were trying to communicate. For that, I am using my blog to make a public apology.
As I did my usual Wednesday morning duty and walked the school grounds during recess, I was surprised to discover a mass of students sitting in the middle of the school's driveway. My teacher radar kicked into Red Alert. While I understood that the students were doing something loosely organised, I could only focus on their safety. The driveway slopes downhill, and they were sitting out of the line of sight for any driver entering the school. They were clearly in harm's way.
I demanded that students clear the driveway. However, while securing their safety, I missed the importance of what the students were trying to communicate. They had organised a 17-minute sit-in to show respect and solidarity with the students in Florida.
I knew students were planning protests in the US, but I hadn't imagined that the shootings were on students' minds here in New Zealand. I couldn't have been more wrong. These students are well-informed, empathetic and courageous in joining youth voices worldwide to demand change.
To my students, I say I cannot apologise for disrupting your protest. It is my job to ensure your safety. However, I sincerely apologise for not hearing and respecting what you were trying to communicate. As your teacher, I could have helped you find a safer way to be heard.
I want you to know how deeply touched I am by your actions. It gives me hope that we can still fix what is wrong in the world.
In that spirit, I will honour your voice. It is still Wednesday in the US, and I will sit the 17-minute vigil you started yesterday at today's morning tea. You are welcome to join me on the sidewalk or grass on either side of the driveway.
It's never too late to try and right a wrong.