As mentioned earlier on this blog, students in our program have traditionally encountered difficulty attaining interviews with experts during our annual autumn Eminent Person study – as well as establishing mentorships in the spring’s In-Depth study. To combat this trend, this year the class enlisted parent volunteers to act as “practice” interview subjects. The topic of the interview was:
As an adult, how and what have you learned related to work, recreation, and parenting?
Today in class students shared their successes and areas requiring improvement as they move toward their “actual” interviews, accessing experts on their selected eminent people, and in the course of a ten-minute class discussion each group boiled down the experience of each member to one or two tips for future interviews that were pooled to create a ranging How To for next time. This conversation will hopefully prove to be useful as students set out again to gather information as part of a larger project. But the true surprise – for me anyway – in the exercise came with the one-sentence summaries of the parent-interviews I had the students complete as a means of checking the homework. I was struck with the parents’ sincerity and wisdom, and am incredibly appreciative that so many of our class’ parent-community were willing to share their thoughts about living, learning and a wealth of diverse perspectives on work and education with our students. What set out to be a practical exercise in carrying out an element of research became not only an exercise in community, but a testament to the power of adding a human touch to the world outside the classroom.
After a long evening of marking students’ blogs – as energizing a marking experience as I have ever had though, each student’s work brimming with confidence and individuality that doesn’t always make it into a “formal essay” (which will be coming up next…) – I am “rewarding” myself in sharing these slips of scrap paper that were today’s homework check, and are filled with the wisdom of my classroom’s extended (yet local) village.
“…patience and allowing mistakes.”
“…will come if you are dedicated and proactive.”
“…personal, and means being prepared to demonstrate the capability to capture opportunities.”
“…comes through experience and memories and from being open-minded.”
Life is your teacher:
“Marriage has been one of the most influential experiences of Mr. A’s life.”
“Mr. B had no idea what he would be doing after high school; went to university to continue a career in swimming.”
“You can learn parenting from family, friends, school and your own childhood experiences. But in the end, every child is different and requires a different approach.”
“As the world changes, so does parenting.”
What we’ve learned:
“Do what you enjoy doing, love your family, and have some time for yourself. Keep learning throughout your life.”
“Make sure you’re prepared before you act. And check your work and make sure it’s the best that you can make.”
“Learn to appreciate the way light hits things, and look into the beauty of things.”
“There is a big world out there to discover.”
“It is important to balance learning about, and becoming part of new cultures, as well as perserving one’s own cutlural heritage.”
“There may be less time for learning as an adult, but you will always be learning something, whether you realize it or not.”
Thanks again to our devoted parent network for lending their time and wisdom, and in the end great power to this experience. I look forward to seeing you soon at Night of the Notables!