I couldn’t count all the teens I’ve met who hated “normal” school. In class, many acted out, others were silently defiant, while others played comedian which was often a welcome relief.
And with this cast of characters I was going to meet with them for an hour a day, four days a week, for the next five months. Einstein noted that an hour could go by like a minute if you were with your sweetheart, or it could seem like eternity if you were taking a test. Since there was so little prestige or compensation, I at least wanted to enjoy myself at work. And I loved most of my students and saw their suffering as very real. So what to do?
Since I was empowered by the head of the school to “teach my passion,” I took full advantage of that freedom. Although many were there because they failed in other, more traditional schools, they saw through the veil of education. You “needed” high grades to get into a good college to get a decent paying job you probably didn’t like to get married, buy a house, raise a family, so you could retire 45 years later to enjoy your freedom when your body had grown too grumpy to enjoy it anyways. Just reading that last run-on sentence makes me tired.
They saw the con of the future. It didn’t interest most of them. It didn’t make much sense to me either. So, what to do? We all couldn’t pick up and leave. Going through the motions didn’t appeal to us.
From what I learned, my students hated being force fed material that they had to spit back in the same form. It was dull and mind numbing.
So, we turned it around. I asked what questions they had. What did they want to learn? And I did the same for myself. And everything changed.