What is the first adjective that comes to your mind when you see this picture?
I will be honest with you. I think of some hippy young kid or a lazy bum and a school drop-out. Maybe the assumption of a pot-consumer is also stereotype that might cross one’s mind.
Pictured above, Jeff Bliss, is indeed a high-school drop-out but only for a year which allowed him to realize how necessary and important education is, but not any education, only the inspiring and challenging education. Jeff, now back in school, had a video going viral on social media now after blasting out on his history teacher in class.
What makes him special? Watch this video and you will know
Jeff Bliss is a leader, a courageous young man who ought to be the exemplary student and a lesson to all those unworthy teachers out there.
How does this relate to Lebanon?
How many teachers are like that history teacher in Jeff’s case in our Lebanese public schools? For one, I remember dreading my history class when all my teacher did was make us read from the history book, in turns. Later in life, I discovered that I love history, that I enjoy watching documentaries and learning about episodes of the human race. If only my history teacher had put in a little more effort, I may have ended up in a History major, who knows? Keep in mind that I went to a private school.
It is not only about history teachers. How many civics, geography and language teachers out there make the material engaging and interesting for their students? How many biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics teachers actually take the time to go beyond the lousy textbook suggested by the ministry of education and make the lesson practical and show examples of how it applies to real life? How many teachers actually help their students build circuits with switches from human skin to prove conductance, or explain maths as a game, or take their biology students to a lab?
Talking about the ministry of education, does it still exist? Other than the minister receiving a horrendous salary for simply standing up for his party’s positions in the cabinet, what does he do to enhance the education system in Lebanon and prepare the students for the new era of technology, leadership, entrepreneurship and social skills? What is the government doing to enhance the quality of education in its public schools, many of which are now buildings harbouring refugees?
I do not intend to make this post a rant. We all know that the Lebanese government is lacking in so many ways, not only in education, but in governing in general.
This is why we should not depend on the government to enhance the flinstone-themed education system out there, although I would suggest the officials to invest some of the billions of dollars they anticipate from the gas reserves in the sea in a fund to enhance education.
Our only hope is the civil society, the activists out there who are trying to a result of this system and are trying to make it better for the upcoming generation. We can only rely on the non-profits out there ( with all the negative reputation that engulfs some of them), and mainly on the citizens, teachers, parents and students to improve the education in our schools in general.
Education is not only about the degree, the certificate one gets. The value in education comes along the broadening of the students’ horizons, inspiring them to learn and take actions, developing their technical and interpersonal skills, challenging them inside and outside the classroom, basically helping them grow instead of fall asleep in class.
Once you instil the desire to learn and grow in a student, all you have to do is guide and watch from there on. It is up to them how to use their education and what to do with it. The end result will also depend on morals and values, which can be part of education but more importantly a result of upbringing and family.
There are many ways to help inspire young souls and improve their future, thus building a better Lebanon and a better world. A few organizations that I follow from abroad and appreciate their goals and work are the Nawaya Network , Teach for Lebanon and the EduChange Initiative.
If you are a college student, you have a lot to offer. Get in touch with any of those organizations or any other one in your neighborhood.
I will leave you with this video explaining how true education in the classroom should be and why every kid needs a hero in their lives to be their role model.
You comments and feedback are highly appreciated.