As my partner Katherine and I finished up teaching a lesson about water scarcity, we proceeded with the clean up process through emptying the jugs of water we used for the experiment. However, one of the Girls Inc. campers approached us when we were halfway through pouring out the last jug and asked, “You just taught me about water scarcity, but aren’t you wasting water right now?” She was exactly right– we were doing the very thing we taught our students to avoid.
Reflecting on the comment she made, I thought about how often in our lives we contradict our teachings through our actions. Even though we often know which is the right choice, we still make the wrong one because it is easier. I know that I could have made several trips to take the filled jugs back to the classroom to use tomorrow, but I ended up dumping out the water since it would save me time and energy. After that moment, however, I made a mental note to teach through actions, making sure that the things I did aligned with what I said.
Another takeaway I learned was how passionate the girls get about each lesson and how much they truly care. In one of my classes, the girls wanted to take action against the issue of water scarcity through writing letters to their local senators. In addition, many of them wanted to do volunteer work for this cause and organize clubs in their schools. I never anticipated that I would learn so much from the girls I was teaching, but this only reaffirms my belief that they will be tomorrow’s leaders.