The young people killed in Ankara demonstrating for democracy, those killed in Paris enjoying an evening out, the recent victims in Lebanon, the children of Gaza, the people killed yesterday in Nigeria, the thousands of refugees drowned as they flee from terror, the civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan killed by US drones – all are or were once our students.

The role of teachers in helping our students come to terms with these horrible acts of violence is important. Of course our first task is to empathise with them and the worry, hurt and fear they may be feeling, particularly if they are close to the effects of violence.

However as teachers we can do much more. Groups like ISIS, and reactionary governments, like those states in the US who are banning Syrian refugees, want to sow division and hate. Teachers, embedded in communities and working with young minds, are in a unique position to combat this hateful ideology.

However, while solidarity is important, equally important but much more difficult is to think with students about the causes which lead to this dreadful suffering. As Freire points out, the tranquility of the powerful 'rests on how well people fit the world the oppressors have created, and how little they question it.' It is the unequal economic and social relations in which we live which create the conditions in which racist ideologies like that of right wing governments and groups like ISIS thrive. In learning with students to understand this we can help them to dream of something better, to understand that 'another world is possible' and to think how that might be brought about.

In Brisbane, Australia, teachers and students are taking strike action together in defence of refugee students facing deportation. There could not be a better example of the way in which teachers can work with students to help to bring about a more just world.

It is this potential role of teachers which is most feared by those in power. That is why they are doing everything they can to diminish and constrain us. In the face of appalling and terrifying violence, our fight to defend our profession so that we can give young people hope, is more urgent than ever.