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Classwork on teaching climate change

The first day of lessons was pretty ok. It felt pretty good standing in front of the class. I tried not to think about it too much, but actually i don’t like to speak before a group at all. I feel quite nackered right now, as my english friend from Rostock would say.

I really experienced the difference in learning levels between the different classes. Some really got into it and showed genuine interest, but others really bluntly kept stressing the unimportance of what Al Gore or me were saying. At first i found this quite hard to handle. But i tried to remember that i had to be open to anyone’s story and eventually got some good conversation with some of them.

The second day was good! Better then expected. There was one class that I knew would be the hardest but through improvisation of Frank and me we really managed to make it interesting for them. We listened to their remarks and tried to start from there. 

We got to explain to them why this climate change is important, because they did not see that. We told them about the changes that are taking place and how they will effect them when they choose jobs, where to live, where to go on holiday. Not only changes about the earth or the climate, but in energy production, in cars, in lights, in rules and laws on this. I think they understood that it is very handy to pay attention to this, at least because if there are jobs anywhere in the coming years, its more and more in sustainable business.

The other classes were easier but I still felt some pressure and was a bit tense. In the end we were very happy with the whole thing. Of the 53 evaluations we got back from the students, 46 were positive, in that they said they had learned something, most of them even added what they had learned.

At the question of what we could do better in the lesson one of them answered: “Be vegetarians.” This remark probably had to do with them learning that the biggest threat for forests worldwide, but especially in south America, is eating meat. They were pretty stunned to hear that. An other form read: “Use less energy” We had quite some fun with some of those evaluation forms, but they definitely learned something!

Oh yeah, the city counsellor kind of presented himself proudly in the newspaper as initiator of this climate class, which he is not, but he also didn’t even mention our names, neither Insight Collective or Stichting Trema, wich Frank works for. Of course we are not very happy with this, we don’t do this to help someone get votes for the next election, so we are going to be way more proactive in these matters.

We got some work ahead of us now. We have to approach other schools, and change the lessons a little bit because they did not enjoy, or learn much, from “An Inconvenient Truth”. I can imagine that, after all its an old guy talking and showing pictures. Not very much an idea of an exiting time for 15 year olds… I am going to try to put some stuff together form TV shows and documentaries. Also I will try to avoid to much English. Some of them have trouble keeping up with the subtitles.

And there is the business side of things, on that front a lot of work has to be done, so that we can receive pay and donations. And see if we can get governmental support. It is actually holiday time here, from now on the streets will only become more quite every week. We will take a holiday in a few weeks. One good thing about this bad summer weather; its not so hard to stay indoors and focussed if its raining half the day.