Sep 4, 2010

Back to School

As a youth, I disliked school intensely. It wasn’t the learning that was my problem, it was the institution and the other kids I had to deal with. They distracted me to the point where I lost my way with learning. 

Young kids aren’t always taught by their parents that school is for learning. Yes, kids must go to school, but for what?  Many children think it’s time to play, others learn to communicate, some learn to cause trouble, and others go just because they are told. I don’t remember being told that I was supposed to learn, but somehow I did. I learned to read and write; I learned geography, history and science; so I did learn the basics. The institution of school was prison to me. Yet, I learn that I liked the arts: music, theater, painting, and I almost joined the budding photography club. But I didn’t. 

In Canada I was moved around from school to school, as my father moved from Canadian town to town as a bank manager. After my parents divorced, my mother and I moved to England, and there we travelled from town to town trying to settle down. My education was in a shambles. I couldn’t concentrate.  I lost interest, inclination, and the other kids were a major distraction. I became a dreamer and I’d stare out the window a lot. I took to cross country running because I didn’t like the rough team sports of rugby or football (soccer). And on the cross country miles I’d dream and I’d scheme. About what, I don’t know. I couldn’t wait to leave school, and when I did, ironically I discovered the idea of adult learning.
When I think of all the night school courses, university and college extension courses, private courses, business courses, professional advancement courses, seminars, studied readings in art, science, philosophy, liberal arts, world politics, the millions of miles of international travel, and all the education and knowledge I have given myself since I left school, I look back on an extremely powerful and focused lifetime achievement in higher learning.  I may not have the highest university degree, but my acquired knowledge and awareness of the world are phenomenal.
This year, school came a calling again. I am now taking a course at teacher's college. It’s back to school to learn how to put together a curriculum to teach others. My aim is to help inspire young adults who have been left behind by the school system, as I was. Some haven’t found their inspiration for adult learning. Many have landed in jobs where there is no future, no satisfaction, no life. Many have turned to drugs or crime. Many have been indoctrinated into the complacency of too comfortable a life where everything is being done for them. They have become apathetic and unmotivated. They haven’t been able to find anything they really like to do or anything to grasp onto with their imagination, their passion or their interest. They get caught up in a trance of just “existing” and they find it hard to escape.
With a lifetime of working in the arts as a creative individual, I plan to teach creativity and innovation to help people find new ideas and bring them to life, to motivate an awareness that good choices will help build better lives. For me, helping people find and exercise their fundamental gift to humanity, of creativity, is a way of giving back to society. Society will be severely challenged in the next few years, there needs to be a population ready to channel their own ingenuity.
I will always be thankful for the schooling that I had, it happened at my pace, and it's a life long adventure.