Updated: Oct 3
I have recently learned about ‘The magic school bus. It is an old show from the ’90s where a teacher, Ms. Frizzle, takes her students on field trips. Facilitated by a magic school bus that guides them through topics from friction, digestion, basic chemistry, food chains, and all that good stuff, each episode presents an opportunity for the students to learn a specific new topic. If you have not seen it yet, I believe it is still available on Netflix.
Watching it as an adult made me wish we had a show like this for our Kenyan kids; relatable, real-world application of learning. Our current education system does have many bright spots championing education that makes a difference and goes beyond the “almighty pass mark.” My wonder is, when did education become only a matter concerning educators? When did the burden of education fall solely on them?
As it is, many teachers are stretched thin. We have demanded of them the work of a parent, caregiver, mentor, therapist and saddled them with the responsibility of supplying the workforce pipeline with the best students the education system has to offer. It is not working! Despite having their hands full, many teachers have gone above and beyond to do all this and more. It is high time we joined them as co-educators. It does take a village to educate a child. Policy change is a long and tricky process. It can only be accelerated when the environment shifts and renders archaic policies obsolete. Only then can radical change be effected.
The call to action here is to take charge of what is going on in your child’s/youth classroom. To care about it enough to support the efforts of the teacher and of the young person. Here is a challenge for you, in your sphere of influence, what can you do to show support? Create a show for Kenyan kids to learn in a relaxed environment? Teach the child in your space the song or the trick that helped you learn something difficult? A great way to start is by safely exposing them to how what they are learning is being applied in your home, neighborhood, workplace. Listen to their struggles and allow them space to grow from them.
Taking the example of Dr. Waangari Maathai, while we actively work towards broad-spectrum solutions to the issues in our system, let's take accountability and do #ourlittlething in #ourlittlespaces. In time, together, we will see the fruits of creating the environments we and our next generation can thrive in. I am Julie, a youth trainer, yoga teacher with the Africa Yoga Project, and proud alum of Metis Cohort 3.