The Borrowed Classroom

“The world is not given by our fathers but borrowed from our children.”

This sentiment was expressed by Wendell Berry in 1971 and oft quoted thereafter. He further argued, “We are not duty bound to live (and work) sustainably; we do it because we love our world and we love our children.”  While these are not direct quotes from Berry’s work, these thoughts do serve as inspiration for this blog on incorporating natural practices for a greener classroom.

Note the words incorporating and greener. I associate the word incorporate with the word gradual; gradually merging tried and true classroom habits and methods with more sustainable choices. We know too much now. We can measure the consequences of our actions on the environment; they can no longer be ignored. We cannot be afraid to start somewhere!

Busy classroom teachers cannot go green overnight but rather can incorporate practices throughout the school year and throughout their career to achieve a classroom that isn’t separate from the natural world, but a part of it. And in doing so, demonstrating intentional and more sustainable habits for our ever-watching students to potentially emulate.

Greener does not suggest an all or nothing approach. The world does not require a BIG change from a few, but small changes from MANY. To be deliberate and thoughtful is a start.

This blog will function as a practical guide for teachers who love their students and who are optimistic about the future and about our natural world. This profession demands optimism; personal and professional changes toward a more sustainable life does too.

I intend to write about how to safely and effectively use living things in your lessons, how to start a school garden, how to take children outside to learn, how to waste less and to always keep an eye toward our natural world and the many lessons our mother earth can teach us and our students. I also hope to have guest bloggers share their best practices! Regardless of your school’s location, campus, classroom layout or budget, regardless of the subjects you teach or the age of your students, there is always room to grow eco-awareness in your borrowed classroom.

Maybe it is our duty to do so? That too will be explored.

I come to you from a place of imperfect practices but genuine earnestness and I thank you for reading this first post. -Rachel