behind the scenes

Looking back at a drawing I did of myself here… it makes me look about twenty years younger than I am, about the same age as my students. The best age, around seven to ten years, before puberty when something remarkable and regrettable happens. Up to this point best friends are best friends – boy or girl – and there is an eagerness to learn about life that is completely intact. What happens? Having run the gamut of school experiences; public, private, and home schooling I sometimes contemplate how little it seemed school sought to help me discover the best version of myself. My private and public schooling experiences were much more about passing tests and proving competency in subjects, valuable skills in an orderly world. However, a long way down the road from making me an avid learner or impart the sense that I was building competencies towards a greater goal.

I often thought I liked learning in spite of much of what I was taught or how it was taught. I held tight to what I thought I had some say in, which sometimes meant I had to do it on my own. If it’s any comfort to examine mistakes it has at least encouraged me to want to go back to that age I liked so much and see if I could revisit it. Smile and high five the kids that rock it and sit with the quieter ones and hear about their interests. I teach part time because I like going back and finding myself again in the context of another age. It’s like time travel, but better, cause you don’t need the machine.

But if I were to experiment with sci-fi and a little time travel though… I’d like to see what school’s would be like for kids in twenty years. Will they still have physical education or art classes? (Certainly not these beautiful booklets I made…) What about the public and private school dialectic? I hear people talking about radical changes and they aren’t anything like what I would have wanted for myself as a kid. Who wants radical change as a kid anyway, just give me my mac-n-cheese the way I like it pleeease. It’s the little things that count. One of my most memorable times was actually sitting in the car on the way to school, listening to NPR, hearing my neighbor talking to his mom about politics or economics. This was that transition point between school, family, and life that felt the most vital – because of the friction – the small differences that set your mind to thinking. These types of conversations on the way to this or that – regardless of the school you belong to – are where it’s at.

 

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