Teachers the Change-Makers: Three lessons from Mahatma Gandhi

In the recent AIELOC (Association of International Educators and Leaders of Colour) conference I had the opportunity to discuss an issue that requires immediate attention. The teacher diversity ratio in international schools has never been a priority until recently when the Black Lives Matte’ global movement took momentum; there has been an intentional and significant shift in the way teachers of colour are regarded in international schools. I would like to explain the need for this shift with the help of three quotes of Mahatma Gandhi.

The Future Depends on What You Do Today

The future of globalization depends on how we as educators groom the global citizens of tomorrow. Hence the future depends on how we teach our children/students to value the rich cultural diversity around them. The future needs teachers to bring into our workplace, our curriculum, our attitude and our attributes, the different shades of our heritage, culture and language. This is only possible if an international environment has people from all over the world driving its mission of internationalism; hence a bit of time and resource investment into recruiting teachers of colour, teachers from diverse backgrounds and teachers with diverse experiences will up the ante for tomorrow’s world to be peaceful and better.

Be The Change That You Wish to See In The World

Probably the most known quote of the Mahatma; it has clarity in the way it appeals to all of us. It is simple, if you wish for change make it happen. Hence as teachers of colour, the burden of starting the conversation, taking powerful initiatives and building a strong case for improving teacher diversity in schools is our burden, there is no Mahatma to lead the change, we are the change-leaders. Doing a bit of research and educating our community is the first step. Table 1 is research done at Stanford University, it will help you to make a case in your environment and give you the conviction that this is the change that will benefit future individuals, institutions and societies. And, we teachers are the change-makers.

Milem, J. (n.d) The Educational Benefits of Diversity: Evidence from Multiple Sectors. Available at: https://web.stanford.edu/~hakuta/www/policy/racial_dynamics/Chapter5.pdf

In a Gentle Way You Can Shake the World

Social justice can only be achieved through social service; the world is in a fragile state, in need of repairs and it will only happen with our gentle actions. Anger, confrontation, disputes only create divide not decision. A decision has to be made by gentle means more powerful than any weapon, the Mahatma showed us an example by making ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence his greatest weapon. Similarly, during the Covid19 pandemic, the gentle actions of educators around the world have changed the way we teach and learn; the gentle actions of teachers around the world have created a sustained environment for learning to continue; the gentle action of school leaders around the world has made it possible to improve access to education. All these gentle actions by educators/teachers have actually shaken the world, changed it for better as now the dream of access to education for each and every child can become a possibility with the help of the Covid19 model. Similarly, a social movement as a social service is required for social justice and this time the movement is to improve teacher diversity in international schools; in a gentle way.

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