It’s been a while since I last posted to the Coop. Since my last post I engaged in a global job search eventually landing a position in Qatar, working for the Qatar Foundation at the Qatar Leadership Academy. Yesterday I arrived in Qatar after 24 hours of traveling from the small town of Cornucopia, WI. To learn about the incredible vision Qatar is advancing, check out the NOW and 60 Minute pieces aired recently. Here is my first reflective piece.
It’s funny how things circle back reappearing when you least expect it. Though they often happen in times of life’s transitions. In 2000, a lifetime ago, I began working for Northwest Passage High School as one of 4 teachers. In addition to my many educational tasks, I also had the distinct pleasure of picking and dropping students off at their houses using one of our school’s minivans.
Early during the year I was asked to drop off Billy(not his real name). Now Billy was challenged. He was challenged because his family was not there for him. They lived in trailer park outside of Blaine. He was under credit and over aged, meaning he was 3 years behind his peers. Billy was dealt a pretty weak hand.
Having worked in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the roads in Blaine were unfamiliar to me, which is why I was doing the drop offs. Add to this situation a world where cell phones were not common, I didn’t have one at the time.
Sounds easy, get in the van with kids and they point you to their houses, right? Wrong. I found myself in the van with Billy after dropping off a number of students. I looked at him, “Where to?” Response, “I thought you knew where I lived.” How does a kid not know the way home?
Novel experiences are the life blood of learning. Placed in a new situation our senses are heighten, and if we stay focused real deep learning occurs. How as teachers can we place our students in these kind of learning environments? To keep the learning fresh, to keep the learner engage. That is the challenge, that is the mission of education.
By the way, I didn’t have a working cell phone that night either. Go figure.