Ana De La Torre, Educator, CA
"To be happy, you need to be happy with yourself and your own skin. Comfortable with who you are. Then you can be happy in your relationships with others."
Imagine your child (or one you care about deeply) is now in their 30s – out of school and starting into adult life. What do you hope for them about their life? What would make it a ‘good’ life?
I want them to be happy with what they’re doing, whether its going to college or starting a career that they’re interested in. And no matter what, they're still trying to reach their full potential, still continuing to grow and never becoming complacent.
What does happiness mean to you?
To be happy, you need to be happy with yourself and your own skin. Comfortable with who you are. Then you can be happy in your relationships with others.
What role do you think schooling should play in achieving that ideal good life?
Well I'm not sure you need school to find that good life. If you like doing school, then it's fine. But if you do it because you think you have to or in order to please others, then I think you’re going to school for the wrong reasons.
What are the most important things you hope your child will learn in school?
That its okay to make mistakes. You may be different but that doesn’t mean your less than anyone else. No matter how much you struggle in school, there’s always some one to help you. It's also important that you learn to network with others and see that there is so much to be learned from others.
Do you think schools are currently playing that role/doing what they should?
Not all schools. We tend to focus on getting students to pass on to next level, instead of really digging into what they need.
Why do you think that is the case?
It comes down to the fact that once that student is out of your classroom or out of your school, then you no longer have responsibility for that child. “On to the next one.” This mindset isn’t necessarily intentional, it just happens to be there. Once that student is out of your sight, you’re on to the next group of students.
That mindset comes from the way educators are pressured to make their students succeed. Educators already have a million things to do - things in and out of their job description. With all these logistics, it can make you lose perspective.