Today, I want to share my thoughts about making CONNECTIONS. Connections with self, connections with others, connections with the things we already know and things that we’re ready to learn and we don’t know yet and of course most importantly connections with something greater than ourselves.
I had the privilege of working with 18 extremely bright, energetic and enthusiastic teachers and principals from Beijing China for two weeks. I was deeply moved by the connections that we were able to make so quickly and so easily even though we did not have a common language. Everything had to be interpreted. When they were presenting on the last day, the first thing they spoke of was our connections with each other through our smiles. They felt connected to us, to me as an instructor and to others that they met in Canada because of our smiles.
1. We were in the moment. Connecting with our smiles
Secondly: How did I know I was connected? These remarkable educators mentioned that the reason they came to Canada was to discover how to provide greater support for their students’ social and emotional needs. They wanted to understand and help children discover themselves as individuals. As you know, in China, when you’re one of over 1 billion people, being an individual is not an easy task or an easy thing to do as a student or as a teacher.
These brave, courageous teachers came to Canada to discover how they could support their students in a greater way both socially and emotionally. Connections were made around the similarities and differences between our system and theirs. They shared their inspirations after witnessing how Canadian children are regarded as unique individuals and that individuality is nurtured in the classrooms. However, they were able to see the similarities with their own historic beliefs that dated back to the time of Confucius
2. Connections are made when You are being yourself and in your most unique way.
The third connection was their desire to change their teaching practice and change the way that they were currently delivering and connecting and teaching their students. They wanted to see changes just like we do. They admired and showed gracious delight as they gained a new understanding of our recently revised BC curriculum. We connected as Educators with a common interest of us all wanting ongoing changes. ‘We’ (they and us) are consistently striving to do the best for kids.
I was so deeply moved by these people who have so many hurdles and yet we were able to share deep connections on a daily basis around how they felt about as learners and participants in this unique experience. We honored the First nations traditions and met in Circle at the end of each day to share these illuminating Connections.
3. Connections are made when we are all practicing just being ourselves
I reminded them on the last day that “Being a Teacher was the most important job on the planet”. I shared my deep gratitude for the privilege of being able to teach them and reminded them of their own importance. Making Connections is part of the work educators do with their students, learning to connect to prior learning, connecting to things they know in the world, connecting with each other personally and socially and connecting with their teacher. It seems so simple but it’s very complex. It does make the entire difference when teachers are able to connect with their students and students are able to then connect with themselves.
4. Connecting through a sense of trust that exists between you and the other
Finally, with this Spiritual teaching, we know that connecting to self and most importantly connecting to Oneness, something greater than ourselves is what makes all the difference in our lives. It was no surprise to me that my work as a practitioner and the teaching related to it led me to this most honorable event. The demonstration of having these people show up in my life reminded me how beautiful it is to connect with self but certainly to connect with others even if they were from thousands of miles away.
As Confucius said
“Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”
“If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”
Georgia Nieken RsP