JORDAN: The Most Important Things Out of Education

JORDAN: The Most Important Things Out of Education

#WorldMom Jackie's children

First day of school! #worldmoms

September is the month of renewal for parents, educators and children, as they return to school to start a new academic year. The smell of the starch in the children’s shirts and the taste of the anticipation and excitement in the air was almost palpable today as I walked into assembly at the Amman Baccalaureate School in Amman, Jordan, where I am consulting.

As the assembly hour unfolded with talk of teamwork, youth empowerment, holistic education and global mindedness, my heart and soul began to swell. At one point I whispered aloud to myself, “I am with my people, this is my language.”

As parents, we hope for and strive to put our children in educational environments where academic performance is solely one piece of the much bigger educational pie. We yearn for our children to exit the educational system after grade 12 with a sense of global responsibility, an ability to empathize with those less fortunate than themselves, as lifelong learners steeped in an understanding of their own unique heritage and mother tongue with strong academic skills as the spine to all this greater knowledge. As an educator, I know that data supports these values and shows this to be the education with the most impact.

Over the next few weeks, homes around the world will fill with stories from the first days of the 2015/16 academic year and there will no doubt be celebrations of friendships renewed, as well as, tears from children who feel disappointed with their class placement.

These precious moments provide us, as parents, a unique teachable moment.

Don’t miss this opportunity to introduce terms like resilience and grit; characteristics, which, in the long run, will mark life success.

I know with certainty that I will be making my children’s favorite dinner tonight in the hopes that whatever stories come from my ninth and fourth grader, I am ready to seize the teachable moment and remind them of what is truly important to learn from school.

What do you talk about with your children regarding the most important things to get out of their education?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Jackie Jenkins in Jordan. 

Photo credit to the author.

Jacqueline Jenkins (Jordan)

We are a few months into our new 'home of our heart' location in Amman, Jordan. Originally from Canada, I have been moving around the globe for more than twenty years as my husband works for UNICEF. While we were a carefree couple in Uganda, Lesotho and Bangladesh, Meghan joined our family in 2000, while we were living in Myanmar. She was joined in 2005, while we were posted in India by Charlie, her energetic younger brother! Since then we have lived in Mozambique and New York. I am an educator and have been incredibly fortunate to have found rewarding jobs in international schools wherever we have been posted. Most recently I was the Elementary School Principal at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. Since arriving in Jordan, I have been a stay at home Mum, exploring, photographing and learning about the incredible history of the region and the issues facing not only the Jordan population but the incredible number of Syrian refugees currently residing in the country. While I speak English and French, I have not yet started to learn Arabic; a big goal for our time here. I write to record and process this incredible journey we are on as a family. Time passes so incredibly quickly and without a recording of events, it's hard to remember the small moments and wonderings from each posting. Being a mother in this transient lifestyle means being the key cheerleader for our family, it means setting up and taking down a house with six weeks notice, it means creating close friendships and then saying goodbye. All this, while telling yourself that the opportunities your children have make the goodbyes and new hellos worthwhile. Raising a child in this lifestyle has incredible challenges and rewards. The challenges include culture shock every single time, even when you feel the move will be an easy one. It means coaching yourself, in your dark moments to be present and supportive to your children, who have not chosen to move but are trusting you to show them the world and the meaningfulness of the lifestyle we have committed to as a UNICEF family. The upsides to this lifestyle are incredible; the ability to have our children interact and learn about cultures, languages, food, and religions firsthand, the development of tolerance and empathy through relationships with many types of different people and the travel, they have been to more places before the age of ten than some people do in a lifetime! My commitment to raising children who believe in peace and feel responsible for making a difference in creating a better world is at the core of everything I do.

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