Human Heroes

I am sitting in a cafe in Chinatown. I am drinking a Thai Iced tea made by a Chinese-American man. While I sip on my drink I take in all the flavors of the tea and of my surroundings. I hear Spanish, Chinese, and English being spoken around me by the different patrons. Thank you, globalization for making this moment possible.

Humanity benefits when we are able to mix and choose from different ideas. We benefit when we are able to understand cultures and see for ourselves. Our exposure to different views, beliefs, and cultures causes us to reconcile this new information with our personal identity.

Globalization has made people eclectic. Our personal identity is interwoven with our global identity. Global identity is being proud of you who are, being proud of your cultural background but looking past borders.
Global identity lets us look at the world and claim our own unique space within it. How can we bring global identity into the classroom?

First, by showcasing young learners personalities, and then showing them how the world benefits from their presence. When I was teaching in Seoul I wanted to instill values of self-love, compassion, and global citizenship deep within my students. The order of those values was crucial in my classroom because self-love and self-compassion lead to true growth.

I wanted to celebrate who they were and test who they thought they were. I would have my students take lighthearted personality tests. (I used National Geographic Kids as a resource for this). The personality tests results would be close to reality or outrageously off. The class would indirectly build each other up by agreeing or adding personality traits.

Building up their self-confidence and acknowledging their individuality caused a shift in my students. My young learners looked visibly more relaxed and happy. Once I felt that this boost of confidence was high enough, I would move on to compassion. I did my best to teach self-compassion and compassion for others.
Compassion was one of the hardest values to teach and it was a daily challenge. I had to leverage on each student’s talents and create team building exercises. Compassion in the classroom will be a separate blog topic in the future.
After I had built up their self-love and made some strides in self-compassion, I would move on to introducing global identity.

I made each student a human hero. A human hero doesn’t have superpowers. A human hero doesn’t have magical powers. A human hero is just that, a human. What makes each human hero different is their personality, talents, and their ability to solve problems or create something new in the world.

I told my class that there was no wrong answer. I compared each student to colors and the world to a painting. Student first focused on just Korea. I started prodding them to think bigger. If a child wanted to focus on an issue that they thought only Korea was facing, I would give them a list of other countries that may benefit from what they were doing. I found myself saying, “This solution can help others! Maybe people around the world would like to wear your designs? How can we make this idea bigger?”

I believe whenever you have the opportunity to nurture someone’s growth, know that the impact you can have can be everlasting.
Educators, we are gatekeepers to the world. We can instill self-love, compassion, and global citizenship. This school year let’s find ways for our students to explore their personal identity and global identity.

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