As I was writing today and listening to Rdio a song came across the airwaves that at once made my heart fly and soul sing for seeing experience. As a teacher, I can still see myself sitting for the closing ceremony of a large Ivy League Model United Nations conference. My first year team–all Freshman in High School along with a brave lone Junior would not take home a coveted “gavel” or even an award that year. As an adviser, I had dealt with the messiness of teens–actually thousands in one place. Elevators jammed while one of our delegates was disabled and on the 11 floor, our most intellectual yet free spirited student getting lost and so much more evaporated as the closing slideshow started. While Coldplays “Yellow” filled the hall, I became emotional as I watched image after image of kids collaborating, deliberating, dealing with life’s drama and having fun while learning.
I was seeing experience and scholastics at confluence.
This and so many more experiences are interwoven in me, I cannot let them go:
- Looking back onto devils pass in the Chugach Range to see a group of high-schoolers walking mountains with the broadest smiles of their lives.
- Years of messy project based learning, driven by kids and their passion– yes– interdisciplinary projects in the social sciences, humanities, maths and beyond.
- Years of Exhibitions of Mastery: Kids defending their passions and work to professionals, the community and world.
- The nervous anticipation of the Georgetown Acceptance Letter that came for a student, who submitted an ePortfolio of mastery for his personalized a co-designed high school.
Don’t let go of what you see that makes your heart fly and soul sing in education. Let it sink in, drive your work, drive your life.
Turn your catalysts into pathways.