I don't think we live in a socially just world. I certainly don't think I either come from or live in socially just countries. As an educator, I want to help point my students in the way of critical thinking and awareness of other ways of being, of other cultures. I want to form future citizens who actually care about the people around them - who treat others like actual people, instead of a statistic or a stereotype.
But I know I won't win them all. Some people will still grow up to be narrow minded bigots. Their parents will poison their minds or they'll be jaded by what they see. They'll harbour different opinions to me - diametrically opposed opinions. And you know, since I'm a social democrat, since I actually believe in democracy if we have to live in a capitalist society, I can't be intolerant of other people's opinions. People should be allowed to make their own choices and have their own beliefs, even if I disagree with them. I would like them to be aware of the driving force of their ideology, though. Where it stems from and what the consequences could be.
There will be nothing I can do but model what I believe to be socially just behaviour. Even still, it will be the behaviour which is accepted within the institution of schooling - an institution which says "no thank you" to democracy and letting everyone's voice be heard, for usually good reasons, actually. I don't believe in preaching, well, I do sometimes and the reaction isn't overly effusive. We do have this thing in Australia at the moment called "values education" - I think I know whose values I want to teach - even if the government disagrees with me.
I get a little depressed sometimes, when I think about it. I can't change the world. Not alone. But if I only ever get through to five kids in my entire career - to raise their awareness and develop their critical thinking skills - I think I'll have succeeded.
I have to believe that there will be a better future. I have to believe that I can help create one.