Friday, February 4, 2011

Revising my personal statement

Last week I wrote a post about the movie Schooling the World: The White Man's Last Burden.  I shared this video with colleagues at our team leaders meeting on Monday as we were discussing how international the IB Learner Profile really is.

This ideas in this movie have stayed with me, at times even keeping me awake at night.  You see I worked in northern India in the 1980s in some of the very regions shown on this movie and it was my experience working with adults there that prompted me to return to the UK to train to be a teacher of children.  Having written a personal statement about how and why I became a teacher many times, I have often alluded to this experience.  For example the section below has been taken directly from the most recent personal statement that I wrote.
My decision to become a teacher came about as a result of my experience in an adult health education programme in India twenty-nine years ago.  It became clear to me there that challenging adult perceptions built up over a lifetime was very difficult and that the real potential for change in a society would come about through educating its children.
Having seen the movie, this part of my personal statement was the first thing to go into the trash.  How arrogant I sound, how superior.  What right did I think I had, as a 23 year old, to want to change a society.  I'm deeply ashamed of my thinking.  It's so far from the idea of international mindedness that the IB is promoting today.

I feel a lot of good has come about from the decision I made to become a teacher.  However I feel that my reasons for making that decision were completely flawed.  Thankfully over the past few years I have learned a bit more respect, and hopefully also learned to be a bit more humble and to realise that one size does not fit all, one idea of education is not relevant to all peoples and that "other people with their differences can also be right".

Photo Credit:  Energia Positiva by elrentaplats

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