It has to do with how I see myself, as a person and as a teacher. With the ideas I believe in: Europe, cooperation, solidarity, lifelong learning. With the people I love: friends, family, kids. And the people I could love if I knew them. Sorry, I’m not yet to the point where I love ‘people’ in general (beatification has to wait).
I think the whole thing started at school - am I too late for suing my teachers? For they put this idea into my head that I was the citizen of the future, and that I’d have to change the world. And I believed them. I think we all did. So now, when you feel depressed, just think how powerful teachers’ words can be.
Next thing that I know, I was a teenager, and the Cold War was in its final phase. I remember how excited I got at President Michail Gorbačëv and his гла́сность – I hope that’s the right spelling: I actually was so thrilled that I decided to study Russian at University… but my Russian is almost lost by now (while my excitement isn’t at all).
Then, all of a sudden, the 9th of November 1989 and the fall of the Berlin wall: and I thought it was official, I was witness to the beginning of the new world. I’ve sometimes been talking about this with my best friends and we all felt the same. Well, we didn’t actually change the world, let’s say the world had been changed for us. Which was fine. Now, we just had to go on from that point.
What now? Obviously, the world has changed. Despite my teachers’ prediction, I’ve not changed it – which is good, as I can say “not my fault”.
What’s happening to Europe? Why haven’t we gone where we were supposed to go?
Are we doomed to national selfishness? Is it an improved model of selfishness?
And money, is ultimately the answer? Always?
I used to feel a sense of failure for not doing my part. Then – here we come to the title of this crazy post – I realized I’m giving my tiny contribution to push Europe the direction I believe in. I’m doing it through eTwinning. Of course I have to use the tools I have, and as a teacher I chose eTwinning to help my pupils realize Europe really exists, it’s made of real people, and it’s worth their time and efforts.
So, I like eTwinning for
- allowing me and my pupils to meet those people, and feel them as ‘real’
- preventing my pupils from being disappointed (as I was) at not changing the world: for they will, starting by now with writing to their unknown e-pal
- gathering together teachers who still believe in the EU
- showing me how to perform better in my profession through collaboration
- engaging me and my pupils in a learning adventure that can be a lifelong adventure.
Ok, it could be better. There are issues: no money, no official recognition, European and national strategies clashing... they'll have to work on this (whoever this "they" could be).
Ultimately, I like eTwinning for the people I’ve met through it, and for those I will.
And yes, that's my contribution to Europe.