The Cheetah Verses the Teacher

Who do you reckon wins? The teacher of course!
I’m totally and absolutely convinced now that school squashes children.
koru hand painted rocks
School here in Aotearoa is a regimented colonial SYSTEM that is all about fitting children into boxes, preparing them for the workforce for a lifetime of conformity.
Todd and Teia spent three days making her a mask and costume for her fancy dress evening. She was going to be a cheetah as they were doing a study on Africa. And then she came home from school today – her teacher said, they have to be people from Africa and they will all have the Tanzanian flag painted on their faces and headbands around their heads.
I was SO angry! I’m still angry… because she has actually LEARNT that fitting in means acceptance. And different means self-consciousness because you stand out and people look at you funny. How could a teacher not promote difference and embrace a child’s own uniqueness? Why, but why do children have to be constantly fitted into such a tight fitting box that many are challenged trying to fit into because they BELIEVE they should and have been told they should but their spirits speak otherwise? Why?
There was another young girl we knew on stage with another class. We remember her as a lively, energetic, bouncing three year old and then we see her on stage – as a queen, shy, walking across the stage, quiet and reserved. Potential and uniqueness of that child – squashed.
I remember all of this at five years old. That was over 30 years ago. Nothing has changed in the teaching world. And no disrespect if you are a teacher – I know how hard you work, but mainstream school systems here in Aotearoa are just not right for our children. And if there is one teacher out there who can embrace being different and allow children to be who they are, you will make all the difference for that child in the future – believe me.
Theoretically, the cheetah should win over the teacher by a mile. But children, look up to teachers. Everything they say is gospel – even when it’s not. So if you’re a teacher, remember your every word, and everything you put out there because that child is taking it all in.

And please remember to tune in to each child and understand who they are and allow them to teach you what it is they need to learn, when they need to learn it and how.
Arohanui,
Jo x

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