By Kimm Murfitt
I knew almost immediately after teaching what I considered my first global lesson, I would be forever changed as an educator. I had stumbled onto a kind of purpose that would not simply fade away. And ever since that moment I have done all I can to share this journey with as many people as possible. As my role in education continues to evolve, so does my need to redefine just what being a global educator means.
Often in conversations with other educators, there seems to be a belief that being a global educator is something only someone else can do. I can say with 110 percent certainty that is not the case. Every single teacher has the ability to become a global educator. YOU are that someone!
What I think I love most about the global education journey is that it’s about transformation. We transform our teaching. The classroom learning transforms. The students transform locally and globally. It’s a never-ending cycle of win-win!
What I think I love most about the global education journey is that it’s about transformation.
So how can you leap into the unknown and begin transforming your teaching? There are several ways to do this. But one of my favorite ways is through the Sustainable Development Goals because they were designed for transformation. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions so you can get started transforming your classroom with ease and confidence.
What exactly are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are basically a giant “to-do” list of 17 goals that will help make the world better and more sustainable for all. These goals were created in 2015 with a target achievement date by 2030. It’s truly amazing to see the impact these goals are having in our world, and as an educator, you’re in the perfect place to add even more impact. These goals fit every content area, enhance students’ academic understanding, create a stronger school culture, and build relevance for your teaching.
What do I need to know in order to get started with my students?
All you need to get started is you! Don’t worry about having all the answers or all the background before you begin. Start with a goal you’re naturally drawn to first. As educators, we are constantly aware of time, or lack of it. One of the great things about the goals is that they are connected to one another, so learning and teaching about one will easily create an organic pathway to another goal. This saves you time in the classroom, but more importantly, it builds relevance and deep meaning for your students.
There are many resources you can use to help build your understanding of the Global Goals. Our sister company, Participate Inc. offers mini courses that are perfect for a teacher’s busy life. But, don’t let the word “mini” fool you—these courses are packed full of great resources and ideas to get your classroom on the fast track to learning. Finally, this Participate Inc. community provides resources, connections, and support all in one!
How can I continue to develop my skills in teaching the SDGs?
Like so many other areas in education, it all comes down to relationships. Connect with other teachers and see the amazing things they are doing in their classrooms. Connect your students to other students. If you haven’t checked out Empatico or the Wonderment, you don’t want to wait any longer. They are amazing at connecting classrooms. Be sure to also connect students’ families and communities to your classroom goals, as teaching the SDGs offers another opportunity to weave home, school, and community together. So often families and communities are waiting for the invitation to become a larger part of your classroom.
It’s been really helpful to me to reflect on what is most important in my teaching and what I am most passionate about sharing with others. There are many things that compete daily for my attention in a way that almost blurs my focus. Spending time in the classroom with students centers me and reminds me of my commitment to what is most important. Knowing that these goals are something the world is sharing shouts the message that students do not have to wait until they are older to create change and to make an impact. If you provide the pathways, students can start making a difference today!
Kimm Murfitt has been an educator for more than 19 years and is an IB coordinator, curriculum writer, consultant, and a TeachSDGs Ambassador. You can connect with her on Twitter @kmurfitt1.