Broken pencils and bitten rubbers scattered on my wooden desk while books sat quietly in my bag. The sound of flipping pages, falling rulers and sharpening pencils never seemed to abandon my ear. It’s another school day where the first row students actually paid attention and wrote down notes, students in the middle mostly observe the landscape as they look through the window curiously, and last but not least are students at the back seats carelessly take naps. It’s another school day.

Another school day literally translates to another failing education system. For decades now, presidents have stood up and gave speeches, suggested ideas and claimed money will fix the problem, but they were wrong. For decades now, students’ voices have not been heard because, quite simply, the adults are covering their ears. Here we are again attempting to start a learning revolution that would hopefully change this failing system that lets every student down.

It’s an ugly fact to think about schools as prisons with killing teaching methods. They became test preparation factories that test the process of memorization. Overcrowded classrooms, underperforming teachers and many more obstacles stand in the way, but it is no reason to give up.

Not only schools have let students down and failed them, but also it has taken away their passions, their desire to learn, and destroyed it. We made documentaries about this failing education system, we passed  acts like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, but there is one thing we didn’t do… We didn’t solve the problem. Yes, we know there are bad teachers, bad schools, bad system… then what?

Children are the future, if we hope to solve the world’s major problems, like it or not, we must provide successful educational opportunities for them. But ask yourself: How are we supposed to provide that when education is falling in the wrong hands?

How are you supposed to make a product better if you don’t receive a feedback from the customer? The same thing applies to education. We are missing a crucial voice, and it’s the voice of the customer… the student’s voice. How are teachers supposed to improve their teaching methods if they don’t sit down and talk to their students? The ugliest act you can do is leave students out of the debate.

Before purposing any solutions, or passing any acts that aren’t making any difference, let us think about what is important. Standardized testing, assignments and homework aren’t what we are looking for, we as students, are looking for something more valuable, something that from the moment we open our eyes, it fuels our existence, we are looking to pursue our passion and our curiosity.  We start as kids filled with dreams and high expectations, but unfortunately this excitement and spark of passion settles as the years go by. Instead of learning because we want to, we begin learning because we have to. We begin learning for the test.

This learning revolution shouldn’t be about spending more money to solve the problem, it’s about changing this education system to help us push every student to discover their passion and be brave enough to chase it, let us reawaken the slumbering curiosity in every student and help them to be the best version of themselves.

Our schools should produce students who can’t stop questioning the world around them.

 
 
2012 Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve… What a night. It’s a night where the whole world gathers together, sing the same song and dream of a new hope. It’s a night where we put our differences apart, throw away the mistakes we made and hold hands wishing for a new start, a new hope… a New Year.

11:40 P.M, most people would have already fled from their homes to the streets to catch the perfect spot and wait under the moon light for the fireworks and New Year’s Eve madness celebrations.

The cold air brings rosy blush to my cheeks, and my hands are stiffened, however, the energy in the air was inviting, this irresistible enthusiasm kept us planted, almost like a tree. The sparse clouds cleared, just like opening a curtain to reveal the shiny moon and to prove that the night is still, after all, young.

The crowd began to gather, shivering because of the stingy air, but excitement was agitated.

My eyes were a little bit unfocused as I glanced at the vague horizon above the pine trees, the sky began to sparkle and explode with different colors and patterns… The countdown has just begun!

In the midst of this ecstatic commotion I stood.

10 seconds left….

Yellow and green fireworks began to spread across the sky, but then faded quickly. With each burst, my heart beats accelerated. Surrounding me were people filled with excitement, like a streaming kettle ready to blow.

9….

8….

7….

6….

5 seconds left…

The colors of the Fireworks were like Chameleon… consistently changing as they began to multiply. I watched in astonishment, and with every loud eruption, my heart beats raced faster and faster.

4….

3….

2 seconds left…

A train of thoughts landed in my head. A strange feeling it was… as we got closer and closer time started to slow down, or at least that’s what I felt. It was almost like a slow motion video, the voices, people jumping… everything seemed to slow down. 1….

In a fraction of a second I was back to reality. People around me were celebrating and the only sentence I heard at that time was “Happy New Year!” as the fireworks began to look like rain...

These ten seconds felt more like a decade. Mostly because we are starting a New Year and ending a year full of memorial events, which made me think “2011 was a year of?”

2011 was a year of revolution, adversity, possibility and remembrance, but we made it. It makes me think we survived another year and that there is a new chance, a new opportunity waiting for us to chase after it. 2011 triggered change and transformation with results that remain uncertain.

2011 year in review.

Some years stand out because they change the course of history and some because they change us.  2011 accomplished both successfully. It’s changed the way we think about our society, about politics, about the possibilities for social change.

It has literally been an extraordinary year, fully of tragedy and tumult. We lost many historical characters and saw many rising stars. 2011 could be called an era-defining 12 months.

2011 started off with a strong bold word “Change.” 2011 was the year that citizens all over the world fled to the streets to protest wealth inequality, from the Arab Spring to Spain to the Occupy movement. It was time for change.

Change was different for many countries, but it was change. The Arab Spring rose up against Western-backed dictators and agendas that have condemned people to poverty and repression for decades.  In Spain, Greece and New York it was called Occupy Movement rallying against the inequalities endemic to the system.

But that was a very small-tiny part to defining 2011.

2011 was also a year of adversity. In Japan, a whole nation was wrecked by a disastrous earth quake that was followed by a massive tsunami resulting in nuclear crisis and devastation.  Brazilian floods were marked as the worst single-day natural disasters in History as it claimed over 600 lives.

We lost many lives, many inspirational people beginning with Elizabeth Taylor, Ryan Dunn, Betty Ford, Andy Rooney, Vaclav Havel and my two favorite heroes I always looked up for Seve Ballesteros and Steve Jobs both lost their battles against cancer. Let us not forget the death of Osama Bin Laden, Al Ghadafi and Kim Jong II.

Years from now we’ll look back at the first decade of 21st century when tornadoes ploughed through cities, floods and droughts set recodes, world population surged, food prices spiked, governments were threatened by nations who demanded change— and ask ourselves: What did we do wrong?

Though there is dim shadows surrounding us, here’s to an interesting 2012, interesting indeed!

I don’t want to end this article like many saying “Let’s hope the Mayans were wrong!” But instead let us live this year “as if” it’s our last, then we can achieve every goal we postponed and live each day as if it’s our last to make the most out of this year. I personally think it’s better than wishing the Mayans were wrong!

Happy New Year!