A very quick blog! I’m impressed that it is less than 7 days since my last, but felt it was necessary to reflect on the emotional experience that was Friday’s book club and the effect my current reading ‘One Kid at a Time’ is having on me.
I came into this feeling that one of the crucial things needed in order for this to succeed was an emphasis on personalised learning and relationships. This needs to be strong throughout the school, across all curriculum areas (and by that i am not referring to subjects but advisories, modules and projects). This has only been emphasised by the discussions, readings and site visits of other schools.
For students to become life long learners, find personal and academic success their learning needs to be personalised, their ‘habits’ need to be developed as well as their academic capabilities. The Learning Hubs (advisories) will be essential in helping track and mould that students pathway. Everyone is an individual, their strengths and needs will be different. Their interests, passions and life journey will be different. Learning coaches will need to develop strong relationships, get to know their learner to the core, be a support but also a motivator, warm but demanding. If they do this they will help to foster passionate, contributive life-long learners.
‘One Kid at a Time’ really lays down this message. What I like the most about it is the stories… Stories of a wide range of kids from different backgrounds, coming in to The Met with different strengths and weaknesses but all being found a path. No one should be left behind. Of course there are cases where it hasn’t worked. But there are miles more where it has.
When I reflect on these stories the natural reaction is to connect it to your own experiences. For me this is connecting it to my last school. Which I loved. With kids that I loved even more. Leaving was hard but I believe so wholly in what we are doing that it is necessary to make a shift. So these kids don’t feel left behind, unvalidated, unsuccessful.
I received a text the another night, that one of my favourite ruby teams was in the semi ‘whoop whoop’ lucky I kept my school supporters jacket. That was great, the second part was not. “Oh and I’m leaving school”. I was gutted. Although school isn’t for everyone. Why can’t it be? I had worked hard at exposing this student to new ideas and helping increase confidence in his own ability. It was working, but obviously not enough. The system and people, myself included had failed him. I felt gutted.
So, Friday morning book club. As people were talking about ‘The Element’ and personal pathways, the lump in my throat emerged. I was keen to share what I had been learning from my book as I’m so into it. However, the minute I opened my mouth, the sobbing began. I couldn’t believe the message had affected me so much. I felt so excited about the possibilities that we will offer our students, but saddened that I felt helpless in the path of one of my previous students still dear to me.
End of the story, I went to the rugby, they won!! Had a conversation about the course the student will be entering, I’ve heard it’s awesome, run by Michael Jones. Let’s hope it provides for him better than we had. Let’s hope they win in the semi’s next week – I’ll be there. That student will always be one of my students, our job doesn’t finish when we walk out the door and move on to the next place. It’s not just a job, it’s a mindset. I’m just glad I could offer some advise and support. Even just a sounding board.
At the end of the day, I learnt more from my students in the last two years at that school than they would have learned from me in a lifetime. I was privileged to work with them.
It is easy for people to say we’re in a bubble and that when reality hits things will be a lot different. Yeah they will be, but different and changing is what we’re all about.
It’s not about if we will make it work. It’s about how we will make it work. It’s not a choice but a necessity.