Sometimes my crazy ideas get ahead of my own brain in all of the best of ways, such was the case of 1 School 1 World , a social media initiative that was meant to showcase schools around the world using a common hashtag #1S1W. I wanted my students to see not just how we are different, but more so how we are all the same. And so I shared the idea with the world and today, February 22nd,schools around the world participated.
As I showed my students the stream of pictures throughout the day, we couldn’t help but marvel at so much. The sun in New Zealand, the sheep in Australia, the gym in Denmark, the wooden tables of Serbia. We saw the differences, sure, but we also saw so much of the same. It turns out that many of our classrooms look like they could be in the same school.
Yet, as the day went on, we started to notice not just how alike we were but also the incredible differences there were in school buildings, activities done, and even technology showcased. As we tweeted out asking people to show us pictures of their libraries, one person responded that their school did not have one due to money. That was a sobering notion for many kids.
And this is what stopped my heart today and what continues to run through my head tonight. While this day was meant to share our learning environments, it also inherently shared our privileges; schools that have the tools to share in the first place. Teachers that have the ability to show off their environments without the fear of being in trouble with administration or school boards. Buildings that were mostly well kept and learning environments that were inviting to students. Yet, we all know that this is not what learning looks like for many students, not just across the world, but right here in the USA.
There were voices missing, which I expected, but I did not expect how hard it would hit me once again just how lucky I am to teach in a district that is well-funded and community supported in many ways. There are so many teachers that do not have that privilege. There are so many kids that do not have that reality.
So as I digest the many images together with my students, I plan to ask them to look at how we are similar, how we are different, but then I also plan on asking them to look for the missing images. For the schools that are not represented in these pictures. For the kids that are not represented. To see if they can figure it out. To see what they will come up with. This will be the seed for further exploration. This will be the seed that somehow will carry us forward. To what I am not sure, but we know that a change in society can start with us, but not if we don’t start the conversations.
And if you joined today; thank you. Sometimes all it takes for us to get to know each other is a simple hashtag. Keep connecting. Keep sharing. Keep discussing and then do something about what you see. We teach the future of the world, let’s never forget that.