In September, I did my first ever Pecha Kucha presentation: Everything I ever really needed to know about teaching I learned underwater. One of the lessons I shared in my 6 minutes and 40 seconds is that we all need to be part of something that's bigger than we are--it feeds our souls. (Altruism also lowers stress, raises endorphins, and helps keep other problems in perspective!)
Teachers are no stranger to altruism--we volunteer in professional organizations, like JALT or ETJ, we volunteer as teachers in our community, and we work with charities. Sometimes we have a chance to play a big role, and sometimes a supporting role, but I generally find that teachers are willing to do what they can, when they can, to help whomever they can.
The upcoming Be The Change evening on November 20th is an excellent example of a lot of people working together for a cause that's bigger than they are--in this case for the goal of spreading Hope Clubs and Design for Change across Japan. It started with two organizations already doing a lot of good--Hope International Development Agency Japan and Design for Change Japan. Enter Chuck Sandy, the Energizer Bunny of volunteerism. Chuck has written a wonderful blog post explaining how he became involved and where donations will go--he does a much better job explaining the event and its background than I ever could.
Cengage Learning ELT (one of Chuck's publishers) is underwriting the event, which includes a buffet dinner, drinks, silent auction, and raffle. Kiran Bir Sethi (the founder of Design For Change and the person who inspired Chuck with her 2009 TED talk) is flying in from India to speak at the event, Takahiko Emi (one of Chuck's former students) has written a theme song which he’ll premiere that evening, and 14 teachers who are committed to the evening’s ideals are doing Pecha Kuchas on the theme of Positive Change (Phillip Shigeo Brown, Jon Catanzariti, John Gunning, Marc Helgesen, Steven Herder, Kim Horne, Lesley Burda Ito, David Laurence, Steven Nishida, Joanne Sato, Svetlana Semenovykh, Cameron Smith, Matt Smith and me!).
I'm thrilled to be a small supporting player in such a fabulous program--I can already feel those altruism-related endorphins coursing through my system!
If you'd also like to play a supporting role in this evening, there are still some seats available. There's a minimum 1500 yen donation (remember, 100% goes to charity!). You can register here--the evening begins at 7:00 pm at Shooters in Fushimi (just 10 minutes from the main JALT venue in Nagoya).
If you aren't going to be at JALT, or can't make it to Be The Change, but still want to be part of the project, you can still donate online (be sure to note that your donation is intended for Design For Change / HOPE Clubs).
This is how I've chosen to be involved. How about you? What are you part of that's bigger than yourself?" I'd love to hear about more wonderful projects like Design for Change!
Check in every weekend for a new editorial by David, Steven, Theron or me. We love your interest in EFL and your comments!