Posts Tagged With: refugees

A Desire for Justice

Over the last two weeks while studying Anh Do’s book “The Happiest Refugee” we have also been looking at two TED clips on the refugee crisis in Europe. One talk reflected on the sinking of a refugee boat with 500 people from which only a handful of people survived. The second talk outlined the story of two young men who tried to swim the English channel starting at Dunkirk. Sadly, one body was found on the coast of Norway and the other on the coast of Holland.

refugees-are-human-beings

source: forbes.com

The students have been discussing the book and these two talks as a preparation to write a series of blogs. I have had the privilege of sitting back and listening to the class because a student teacher has been leading the discussions. While listening in I have been impressed  and encouraged by a number of things:

  1. Overwhelmingly the students are incensed at the injustice and inhumanity of this crisis. I am impressed because they have not been inured to the relentless bad news that the world springs on them everyday. They realise that the numbers have names and those names have families and other loved ones who are connected with them.
  2. The students are also eager to look for solutions. They don’t just throw their hands up helplessly. Within the complex issues there is always a desire to seek answers.
  3. I have been impressed with the passion. Young people are often accused of being narcissistic and self obsessed. I have seen nothing of this.  In fact I see more of this in our politicians and political commentators than in the  young people in front of me.
  4. Even though the young people are proud to be Australian they are not blind to its weaknesses.
  5. The aspect of the discussions that have pleased me most has been the underlying question: “What does Jesus want us to do?” For a number of students this is the fundamental guiding principle.

So, despite the confusion found in our era and the perceived watering down of values the young people in front of me give me immense hope.

 

Categories: christian education, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

A Term of Lessons

Normally teachers teach. That is the idea of teaching. This term, however, I have been taught a lot. Over the last 11 weeks I have not only been completing my normal teaching load but I have also been learning how to teach English to migrants. From teaching the big ideas in literature I have had to move to teaching sentences in the simple present tense. After using the complicated meta language of English I have had to use simple descriptions and definitions. It has been hard.

I speak too fast. My writing is unintelligible. My words are too big … ¬†for me it has been a head spinning time of redefining my teaching.

But I have learnt much more. I have learned about courage, hope, resilience, persistence … human qualities that we, in our comfortable lifestyles, have forgotten about. The stories that the refugees and migrants have told me of their past lives have reminded me of the best we can discover in human character. Last month I mentioned “Ahmed” who had to wait five years to be reunited with his wife and children. I didn’t mention another man whose eyes welled with tears when he told me about his wife and eight year old son. His son was one year old when he last saw him. That waiting requires courage and patience.

I have learned about other cultures and attitudes. To be honest, I have learned more than I have taught.

One final thought. According to polls Australians seem to love the “turn the boats back” policy held to by our major parties. Maybe it has saved lives by stopping drownings at sea. My challenge to our politicians and the general public is to rub shoulders with our migrants and refugees. My wager would be that our nation would have a far more compassionate policy. A policy that actually reflected the best of our history of taking in the alien and stranger into our midst.

Categories: Teaching, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 5 Comments

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