Educator in support of the future

Ready to strike: School kids from all over the world have been preparing their banners for the Global Strike for Climate on September 20. Photo: Rachel Mounsey
Ready to strike: School kids from all over the world have been preparing their banners for the Global Strike for Climate on September 20. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

While thousands of students all over Australia and the world are busy painting slogans on cardboard ahead of world wide school climate strikes set to take place this Friday, September 20, another debate has been simmering away in the back ground.

There has been some fuelled debate about wether students should take the time of school to protest, and wether educators should support students planning to strike.

Retired History and English teacher Lorelle Roberts believes protesting and standing up for what you believe in have fallen by the wayside and there are valuable lessons to be learned in the art of protesting .

Retired teacher Lorelle Roberts colouring in the banner she will take to the Global Strike4Climate.

Retired teacher Lorelle Roberts colouring in the banner she will take to the Global Strike4Climate.

"I grew up when debating around the dinner table was an everyday occurrence. Strong arguments and dialogue would happen, at the end we would agree to disagree and still have some kind of respect. That debating skill is being lost now."

Strikes are a chance for young people to engage in controversial issues and positive dialogue, it's a valuable education in itself," she said.

Referring to Britain's Burston School Strikes, when students went on strike in protest of their sacked school teachers in 1914. The strikes resulted in an alternative "strike school " being set up and the protest lasted 25 years. Ms Roberts said historical protests like this proves students have the power to create change.

"They stood up for what they felt was right. They marched out of school to the sounds of drums and waving flags and as a consequence change was made. It was real instance of kids who learned: I am not better than anybody and nobody is better than me," she said.

There are some parents who feel strongly that the schools should not support the strikes and will be keeping their children in school. An argument is they should be "being educated" not protesting. How ever Ms Roberts believes a few hours out of school will hardly affect their education.

"It could also be seen as a valuable educational experience: they could learn how to write speeches, participate in meaningful dialogue with family and community members and design posters."

Ms Robert's has been busy painting banners for the event and said she will be walking in solidarity with the students.

"I support their concerns it's a global phenomenon and will effect all of their lives. We need to continue to empower people in times that might seem grim."