Today you went on strike. Today, you didn’t come to school because there was something that was dear to your hearts that you wanted to shout about. Today, you stood together and tall and told us about the fact that you wanted a future.
Our prime minister said that you were ‘wasting school time’.
I would like to say, dear students, that you were not wasting MY time as your teacher. I would like to say that I am sorry that you had to do this at all but I am sorry that my generation has contributed to your need to do this. I am sorry that the exact people you are trying to lobby and talk to only have three words to say to you and are not listening. I am sorry that our society’s view of education is that you need to be within the confines of the four walls of your education base to be learning.
However, I would like to say that as a teacher in a school with students that chose to strike today, you didn’t “waste” my time. In fact I was proud of you. I was proud that with the help of my colleagues, we’d helped to teach you initiative, resilience, peaceful protest, eloquence, team work, global citizenship, to listen, to speak up, pride, care, love, understanding, inner power. My heart couldn’t be prouder.
The fight will be long, and complex, there are many cogs in the wheel that will need looking at before the planet turns more comfortably but making your voices heard has awoken many to their own contributions and, even if OUR OWN PRIME MINISTER can’t hear you, there are millions out there who do, remember that. Millions out there with the power to do even the smallest thing to help change this.
I wished I could have joined you. YOU are the future, you will be the new politicians, decision makers, parents, teachers. You will be the ones having to repair the mess we and our parents before us left as our legacy.
I want you to know that because you missed a day that included algebra or electrons, compound time or a hockey match, that your day was not wasted from not knowing those small facts, far from it, I know you will have learned far more about the world you live in from your march today. I want you to know that, as my school does, I support, honour and salute you for having the audacity to stick your heads above the parapet and say enough is enough. Don’t ever stop fighting for what you believe in. The sheer fact you left my or my colleagues’ lesson today to stand up for your future just reinforces the fact that you didn’t waste school time and perhaps we, as teachers, are actually teaching the right things on the curriculum.