Today, I was overwhelmed with a feeling that I have yet to identify. I have had a lot of difficulty helping my students to understand how precious an education is. I tend to get frustrated when my students get in their own way.
For that reason, I chose to teach my students about Malala Yousafzai. I was not sure that they would embrace it, but it was worth a try.
This morning, which is normally “Writing Wednesday”, I wrote a simple question on the board, “What do you know about Malala Yousafzai?”
When my 1st group of students entered the room, they looked at her name. To my surprise, one student knew who she was. He boldly raised his hand and said, “She got shot. She cares about education. She is a hero.” I was proud at that moment and excited about what else we would discover about this young lady.
We then watched a short video and discussed more about Malala. The students were shocked that she was their age when she started to speak out. They were shocked that she was shot and about the violence that was part of her life. Looking at their faces as they took it all in, I could see that they were hurt by the events that took place for young Malala.
We wrapped up by watching her Nobel Peace Price Speech. My first period class began to clap and cheer on Malala as she spoke. I saw heads nodding – smiles forming. It was clear that this was having an effect. Then, out of the blue, one of my students turned to me, a smile beaming brightly in his eyes. He pointed to my face and said, “This is for you. You are Malala!” I choked on tears quickly and said, “This is for us! We are Malala!”
It was so beautiful – that quick moment when I know that this student felt something inside of him that I hope will remain lit for the rest of his life.
We have decided to make a project dedicated to Malala and her efforts to promoted education in spite of the dangers she has faced. I’m excited to see what they will do.
I part with just a few words this evening, “You ARE MALALA!” so please take the time to lend your voice and make a difference!