I have just watched a movie which resonated with me as an educator and as a human being. “The Dressmaker” is a powerful story highlighting the destructive effects of bullying on the victim, the perpetrator and the bystanders who allow it to continue!
Kate Winslett is the dressmaker who has the courage to face her demons and seek the truth – not unlike current real life events where women are speaking up and seeking justice in an attempt to heal themselves.
It spoke to me strongly of the power of the individual to overcome – to overcome social barriers, cruelty and prejudice – and to follow his or her dreams.
In this film there is a subtle shift of power from male to female, but it also explores how it is the only the power of love which is strong enough to transform and heal – mother-daughter love, romantic love and the sacrificial love of a friend.
The events played out in those schoolyard scenes reverberated like seismic shockwaves across decades and across the whole community. If only they’d known better and done something to help. Lives would have been different.
The gravity of the impact of those events reinforced for me what a vital role we play as educators because we have the opportunity:
- to nurture and equip our students to be open and tolerant of those who are different from them;
- to develop empathy and give them the courage to stand up for themselves and for those whom they may see being victimised; and,
- to create a learning environment which fosters a positive mindset so that our students can recognise and develop their strengths, explore their creativity and pursue knowledge with integrity and with the courage and resilience to dream big and make a difference in their world.
What an important role we play. What a responsible job it is. But what a joy teaching can be… every single day!