This is me now, and this is me four months ago. I may look the same but I definitely do not feel the same. My brain has many new perspectives while my heart has many new feelings.
First off, my brain in the me of four months ago viewed teaching as teacher centered. And when I say teacher centered I picture me standing at the front of the class, deciding what my students will be learning, how they will learn and why they are learning what they are. However, my old brain believed that the most important aspect linked to teaching is relationships, and by relationships I mean student-teacher, student- student relationships. The brain in me now still believes in this philosophy, however, the relationship with the environment as individuals and as a whole class has appeared. Thanks to David Orr’s bold claim, “All education is environmental education,” I gained new perspective through this bold claim. I really didn’t understand what EE was, until I stepped into Morgan’s classroom. Her room wasn’t full of flashy colours or disorganized walls, but filled with stations involving seeds, rocks, flowers, dirt as well as a plant growing station. I was surrounded by a room filled with the philosophy that all education is environmental. Something that really helped me connect my philosophy to an EE philosophy is ‘learning should be natural’. Morgan used the term natural to describe her way of teaching. That word really made sparks fly for me because every time I think of an activity or a lesson plan I will always have the thought of is this a natural way to learn or how is this activity student led in a natural way?
Viewing education as EE has been challenging to wrap my head around. Education used to be to me just a way of understanding the world. A method to learn about stories we already know. But the heart in me now, feels more connected to learning because I have a more natural perspective.
Now, lets talk about themes because in my opinion themes develop and influence my teaching philosophy. Throughout this course, my biggest theme has been change. Change in everything I thought I knew about education and teaching. Change in my brain. Change in my heart. Change in my identity (use the picture of me) as an environmental educator.
I have trouble pin pointing specific unlearning moments for me because there has been so many. Throughout this course I had a major unlearning moment, where I thought the statement ‘we are all treaty people’ was easy to say and was just a saying teachers said. However, when we had to identify ourselves, writing I am a treaty person, made me extremely uncomfortable. I reflected on what this claim meant to me, and what I came up with is this, We ALL have stories, we ALL have different perspective but if we can combine our similarities and braid our differences together, we ALL would be living in a better world.
I want to end on a quote that directed me as an EE learner and educator throughout this semester “they said that nature was the place where they experienced the greatest sense of belonging and well-being (Kimmerer, 2013).” As a future environmental educator, I want my students to feel connected to themselves, each other and myself with the environment and their natural place by their side.