In the Middle of Things: Meta-Reflection

I was utterly confused near the beginning of the semester when I was instructed to create a journal entry and blog post about what the environment is, and who should be an environmental educator. In my first post (here) I made a goal to become an example to my friends with my environmental friendly habits. I have made some changes in my habits, and I have noticed that the people in my household have noticed, and have started picking up on my habits as well. This personal change aligns with my action learning group project, which is enabling me to take my changes a step further. I am saving all the garbage I create and measuring it on a weekly basis, trying to eliminate products with extra waste. It is forcing me to become extremely aware of everything I consume and purchase. I am slightly less confused now as to how a person can be eco-literate and what it means.

Having to be aware of what I am consuming and purchasing reminds me of my second blog post (here). To quote myself, “Consider the choice you are making, the lesson you are teaching, or the action you are taking and be thoughtful about the system of that item”. When I said be thoughtful, I was really saying to overcome the paradigm of the system as Donella Meadows (1999) states in her article. The system of my life was convenience, and therefore creating a lot of waste. I feel like I’ve made a change to my own system which is ecologically friendly, and will hopefully have a lasting chain effect on those around me.

When I was writing my poem (here) about my dad, I realized that although he instilled a love for natural things in my heart, he wasn’t overly conscious of the environment. He had hard choices to make regarding fertilizers and other chemicals, and being able to sustain a small family farm. When I was braiding my ideas from the poem with the work of my peers (here), I found my dad’s definition of eco-literacy to be quite shallow. I have had a chat with him about it since I enrolled in this class, and we had a really good conversation about his farming life before retirement. There are many things I was unaware of, that I was able to talk to him about and hear out the reasoning behind his environmentally unfriendly actions; my definition of eco-literacy continues to expand.

I am beginning to understand that my worldview is one of spirituality and great awe of nature. I am blown away by observing nature and it’s intricate details and vast beauty. I feel a spiritual connection to the land when we practice stillness outside. I talked a little about stillness in my latest blog post (here), and when writing the poem to my dad, mentioned above, I felt like I was also writing about myself. Having this connection with the environment will allow me to intrinsically incorporate it into my teaching once I am in service. In perusing the website www.takemeoutside.ca I saw a t-shirt for sale that says “Ask your teacher to take you outside”. I am beginning to learn my identity as a teacher and educator, and my hope is that I am a teacher who answers that question by taking my students outside.

On that note, Payton commented on my post about overcoming paradigms and challenged me to think deeper about how systems can be challenged and reconstructed. Instead of dreaming and talking, I need to come up with concrete ideas on how to overcome the paradigm of teaching. Not everybody will have the same spiritual response to their environment that I feel. I think this means taking what I must teach (the curriculum), and re-organize the way I teach it to the students by incorporating environmental education. It is very practical and possible to use the environments of the students to teach multiple subjects and lessons.

When I say that, however, I also realize that my tendency is to get emotional, and write out my hopes and dreams without action plans. For example, I wrote in my first post about the perceived downfall of the earth, and ended by saying that I should make sure I am not a “participant in making the earth say ‘save me’”. Furthermore, in my second post about overcoming paradigms I ended with “Let’s be that society” (that are overcomers). I have made small changes in my personal waste-reduction mission, but it will be interesting to see if I am able to carry forward that overcoming mentality and bring what I am learning in this class to my actual pedagogy. It is really easy to say one thing, and then just forget it and do what the “norm” is. But overcoming the paradigm of teaching should perhaps be my new mission.

Meadows, D. (1999) Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. Retrieved September 23, 2015, fromhttp://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system.

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