My husband and I watched Sounder for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Nathan Lee, the father character had a line that I really liked. He said:
"This school is something you need, something that's good for you, like... good air to breathe."
Education is that serious, that important, that essential I thought. While I'm sure there is much more for me to learn from Paulo Freire, I really like his perspective on how education can be used to liberate (or bind) the oppressed.
As I reflect on how I've been involved in the education of others I wonder whether I was a liberating or binding force. Ultimately I suspect the answer is a little bit of both, hopefully tilting at least ever so slightly to the liberating side. My intention was certainly to be a positive helpful force in the lives of my students and colleagues, but life is more complicated than theory leaves room for sometimes, our imperfections and lack have consequences.
I write this with a cold, so its hard to take in a good breath of air. I imagine, this feeling is similar to the experience of those who've never had access to quality education. Regardless of whether there is an abundance of opportunities to learn in the United States (or Canada), if you don't have access to it, and can't fully appreciate it, then you might not think its all that special...
Hopefully I'll get another chance. A chance to do better, be better, for students, their parents, my community. As Nathan Lee also put it:
"Education is a tool to help your people." and I take that responsibility seriously.