Map on Computer
Cindy Knight, HS History Faculty

Cindy Knight, HS History Faculty

“Hi! How’s the weather?” This casual banter before class takes on a new meaning during these months of digital learning. All my high school classes include students engaging from around the world as well as here in the Puget Sound area. Some students connect asynchronously, and I meet with them in the evening. Some students join class meetings despite the difference in time zones. This has expanded and enriched our awareness of a global community. Our conversations and relationships are affected by events that touch each one of us.

People in Vietnam were affected by flooding. Families in China celebrated the Moon Festival. We get updates on the daily weather in Rwanda and Germany. High winds and wildfire smoke here in Bellevue certainly gave us something to talk about with students living far away. Each country experiences the pandemic in different ways. And, of course, there are as many different perspectives on events surrounding the U.S. presidential election.

In a normal year, we would be experiencing these things together and talking about them. But now, we cannot assume any kind of common experience! This year awakens our global consciousness and even small talk requires more intentionality. We make an effort to listen and to hear about the experience of another person, knowing that it will differ from our own. All this is happening right now, with people in our own classes. The Earth is, indeed, one place, the home of one precious human community.

As our students move beyond Forest Ridge into positions of leadership all over this world, they will take with them this appreciation of the diversity of experience within our common humanity. We cannot know our classmates’ joys or challenges unless we ask. They cannot know ours unless we share. And all members of the group are valued

Our classroom has expanded to encompass the whole planet.

“How’s the weather . . . over there?”