To kick off the month of March, and a celebration of strong women educators, I'm thrilled to share Kimm's story with you. While I'm not a parent, I know many of you are and will be able to relate to the connections between parenting and teaching. Our students are our kids, no matter what.
It’s warm outside, but we’ve built a small mountain of blankets and pillows on our couch. I like the sound of his giggles and the funny stories we make up about our dog and his adventures. We bring in a flashlight and crawl in under the covers to create a small cave. Our faces touch when he holds on tightly to me as I whisper about the imaginary monsters imploring for entry into our world. Afternoons like this one go by slowly, but I notice we now need to snuggle in tight to fit together on the same cushion. Didn’t we have more room a few months ago? I breathe in the smell of his bubble gum shampoo and play with his pudgy, soft hands. Summer days give into the fall chill, and we bundle up for colder nights. He rides much faster than I do now and I call out ahead, “be careful….not so fast.” But, that just seems to encourage him to pedal even faster. I smile as his wobbling figure gets smaller and smaller. And I let him go.
For the past two weeks, my baby and I had walked hand in hand down the sidewalk to the doors of his school. I would hug him hard and tell him to remember the best parts of the day. “Save the best for me.” I would tease him before I let him go. Craning my neck, I would wave and wave until I couldn’t see him down the hallway anymore. But today. Today I knew was different. He seemed a little quiet as we walked down the sidewalk and halfway down the street, his hand left mine. The sweaty warmth was suddenly gone. Standing there with his backpack and new school shoes, he certainly looked the part, but I couldn’t quite add up how the time had led us to this moment. And off he went without looking back. Not a moment of hesitation. Not a backward glance. This time I fold my arms across my chest in an empty embrace. And I let him go.
How many other mothers have stood where I have stood? How many have hoped that the years of education would foster, mold and inspire their children to become even more? Teaching with the Sustainable Development Goals in my classroom has become a natural part of our learning. Sitting in silence, a student clears his voice. “Well, this isn’t right. It’s not fair… not even a little bit. We need to do something.” I swallow the lump in my throat as I nod my head in agreement. Months pass by, and my room is abuzz with curious minds that challenge each other and their peers. They take ownership of their learning. They push their thinking, and connections move much faster now. And I smile as I struggle to keep up with their pace. Not a moment of hesitation. Not a backward glance. This time I fold my arms across my chest in a prideful embrace. And I let them go.
As an educator, I look at our children through mother eyes-knowing that each and every child is unique, special, and waiting for their opportunity to show the world what they can do. That is why I find it so necessary that our children are given the opportunity for a global education. It isn’t something I want just for my child. I want it for our children, our world. I spend my days supporting others in their work to provide every opportunity we can to create pathways for students to create a better world through change and action. I don’t want my child or your child to have to wait for what they can accomplish right now. I think about this work- the years behind and the years ahead. All moments are woven together on a shared journey. As days seem to pass at an ever-increasing pace, I am reminded of the urgency of this kind of education. Our world is waiting for our children, but they shouldn’t have to wait to contribute to it. Every day I am inspired by the thoughts, willingness, and abilities our children to create good and change. I am inspired and humbled by my fellow colleagues around the world who are committed to the work of global education. Our world implores for our children to take an active part in it. And we will let them go.
By Kimm Murfitt
Keep the conversation going...
- Can you relate to Kimm's story?
- When have you been most proud of your "kids"?
Kimm Murfitt is a #TeachSDGs ambassador and an energetic National Board–certified teacher from Cabarrus County, North Carolina. She has been an educator for nineteen years and currently is serving as an IB coordinator for a middle school. She is a Participate connected educator, consultant and also serves as a peer reviewer for Participate Learning. She believes that the SDG goals unite us all and together we can make them a reality. You can connect with her on Twitter @kmurfitt1.