Education, Environment, and Global Awareness; featuring the blog, teacher monika!

I have to admit, I got a little behind- about two or three weeks- on this post due to apartment searching, #transferstudentproblems, course registration, and other boring and unimportant life steps. I have, as of now, finally pushed through the tomfoolery to bring you this post.

As any of you who use WordPress will know- and if you do not, I highly recommend checking this out- there is something called “Reader,” which displays a vast array of blogs on many a topic. Whilst utilizing “Reader,” and, in particular, a section so aptly named “Recommended Blogs,” I came across a blog entitled “teacher monika.” Miss. Monika Stahlstrom, the owner of the blog, is currently Teaching on Call in the Delta School District in BC, Canada. Her teaching interests, which are listed on the About page of her blog, include “greening” classrooms; engaging learners who are passionate and curious; building a learning environment where everyone is encouraged to try, and to learn from success as well as failure; and involving herself in the learning process. International experience is another item in Miss. Stahlstrom’s repertoire which I found to be fascinating and highly important. She helped design curriculum, including a Marine Environmental Program, train educators, and coordinate volunteers for two schools in Mombasa, Kenya. She also completed a practicum in an ELL classroom in Xi’An, China. To top it off, if her international work and education goals didn’t already grab your interest, Miss. Stahlstrom enjoys “Battlestar Galactica, Tolkien, coffee and a really, really good quotation.”

The reason I have decided to feature Miss. Stahlstrom’s blog this week, aside from her punny sense of humor, is my passion for education. Yes, yes, I know I have many interests (as seen on my About page), but education is definitely one of my top ten. The value of education is not just in the material itself. It is in the experience. My high school U.S. History teacher (shout out to Michael Torney, wherever you are) told our class that, “You may not remember every date, name, or event that you learn in this class. What you will remember are the friends you make, those lessons that really inspired you, that field trip that  made your weekend, and the teachers that make a difference in your life.” Now, this is a very, very rough quotation, and to some it may sound like my teacher was Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society” (fantastic movie), but you can get the general idea of it. Education involves grabbing a learner’s attention, letting them know that it is okay to fail sometimes, encouraging them to open their mind and use their creativity, pushing them to be themselves and chase what they love, and so much more. I very much appreciated the fact that Miss. Stahlstrom continues to include herself in the learner category, as well. In my opinion, keeping an open mind and always trying to learn new things is one of the most important aspects of being a “great” teacher. Life is full of new challenges, new people, and so much beauty and information that it is impossible to be the best that you can be, without realizing that you must also be a good student.

Global awareness and environmental education provide the final connection between the title of this post and “teacher monika.” In this increasingly globalized world, awareness of foreign values and cultures is invaluable. Traveling, studying abroad, and even classroom discussions work to broaden one’s perspectives, break down cultural barriers, remove ignorance, and deliver exciting experiences that one would not normally encounter. There is also nothing like the feeling of learning a foreign language, and practicing with native speakers. Whether you are a student, educator, or tourist, international travel can be one of life’s most fun and rewarding adventures. Knowledge of the world around us is also critical to the success of future generations. Not everyone needs to have a scientific knowledge of biology, zoology, botany, or the likes, but everyone should learn about how our actions as human beings can affect the living world around us. It can be as simple as learning why recycling is important, or how pollution damages humans and animals alike. Children can be taught with creative activities to build their interest in, and awareness of, issues such as recycling, over fishing or hunting, pollution, gardening, and green methods. Adults can read books and papers, attend courses, and propose workable green solutions for businesses and governments. The world around us is full of amazing animals, spectacular plant-life, and an abundance of breathtaking and intricate interrelations. We all live together on this planet, and we should all do our part to take care of it.

If you have not already, make sure to check out “teacher monika” and other cool WordPress blogs. Within the next several weeks I’m hoping to post a couple pieces of creative content (photography, poems, movie reviews, etc.), post a possible article about my storm chasing experience last summer, as well as write an article or two for the Culture-ist magazine. Thanks again for reading, and for all of you in the US, have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!

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