Every so often situations in the classroom pause me to despair at the future of the world.
We have just started a new book, the stunning Fish by LS Matthews.
It’s a small book that packs a real punch.
A story of a child of aid workers forced to flee a land due to war and environmental disaster. Over the course of the book we never learn the location of the child, the year of the conflict or even his or her gender.
It is the story of every child forced from their home.
As we began the story, a mention was made of other members of the village fleeing to a refugee camp in another country.
I gave the children a chance to pause and reflect on what a refugee might be.
We looked at what we knew of the story so far – a drought, a flood, a war. No food, no safe water and the kids tried to make connections.
Yet not one child in my class was able to infer what a refugee was.
A few knew there were refugee camps.
This is at a time where Europe is struggling to cope with the influx of people from conflicts beyond its borders is major news.
As our sources of information become more abundant it can be so easy to live in our own little bubbles. To not click on links to the gloomy parts of the world, to keep children shielded from distressing images.
I did a quick survey. Most of the children in my class do not watch the news, a small handful have newspapers in their houses.
In a few years, the kids will be voters, business leaders, consumers and decision makers. Yet here I am just as much to blame keeping in the bubble – sticking to units planned months or even years in advance.
Schedules, expectations etc.
I don’t know how to fix this problem.
But I do know I can keep reading that book and provoking curiosity.
“How do people escape wars Ms Stephanie?”
“Lets read a bit more of the story and find out…”