Friday, January 22, 2016

Student Leaders

Something that has been documented in other sudbury schools, and something I have now witnessed myself during the last 6 months at a Sudbury school, is a phenomena of student leadership.

So at my school, I identified two students leaders, one male and one female. There could be more, and I am not necessarily right, but from what I see I do see these two as having a significant impact and forming part of the direction that the other students go to. So that is why I call them leaders. Because what they say matters, meaning their opinion matters. Not always of course, but many times, when they have an idea about what to do, others join them. They also tend to be a sort of moral attitude as well as a role of teacher, meaning they show and set an example of behaviour. And noticeably, groups of students follow them in certain activities. When they are absent, the students tend to diffuse and spread out amongst themselves. Why this is and why this happens for me is quite intuitively clear. Because they set a point of organization and groundedness that the other students can rely on. They are also quite confident about themselves, and quite clear and expressive. So these may be attributes that are attractive, where other students gravitate to these expressions and character.

Piaget, wrote about a phenomena where older children tend to teach younger children roles, lessons etc... For me, it is intuitive, that what someone has to share/give to another, one does so quite naturally when in a space/environment that supports them to be able to do so, which means a stable environment that provides all that they need, and so they can go after and achieve what they want and so satisfaction of their self.

And for these students who are leaders, I have seen that they themselves have had leaders they followed, and do follow. Meaning they were taught and shown what it means to be a leader. So you would expect the same to happen continuously throughout time.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Play Pretend with me, please?

So I recently pushed/challenged myself that honestly scared/intimidated me, which was to play a "pretend game," where you pretend to be somebody, or some character, some expression, or some emotion. Like for example "a mean, disruptive student," or a "strict teacher,"  or "Alice in wonderland,"  or  "apologetic," or "teasing,"  or whatever creative thing you can make up. So I had success, and I have been having a blast! The experience of myself is like I have this ability to creatively come up with any idea and then immediately play with it. Meaning there isn't a hesistation. Yet there is like a time/moment where I can see the idea and assess whether I actually want to follow through. For example, having an idea that everyone is camping in a tent, and I am a monster in the woods.

 What I find is that I am constantly assessing and playing with everyone else, as well as playing with myself and playing with my own expression, and playing with my own body/self. I am playing with ideas. So it means I actually try things out, and it is fun.

In order to push myself to play pretend I had to make the choice to push past the uncertainties, and honestly just go for it. Like really creatively play here, now. And I also had to push past any other troubles that may arise. Like insecurities for examples. Or if someone else's expression may lead me to feel a certain way, because how I have judged that expression in the past.

I find that the more creative, unexpected I become, the more fun it is. And it is not about winning a competition at all. It is about having fun. It is about your expression and how you are making it to be.

And the students have been supportive, especially the older ones, which may be because of their experience and understanding.... who knows? I haven't asked them why... And the younger ones joined in of course.

So pleaseeeeeee, play with me?

I decided to keep playing until I am absolutely sick of it, which so far it seems impossible...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

About me

So today's blog isn't going to be as much about Sudbury schools, or the one I am working at. Instead it is going to be about me as a staff member at this sudbury school, and why I am doing it, and also about the kind of life I am living that is part of working at this sudbury school.

So working at this school, I receive little pay. This seems true for many sudbury schools, and it makes sense given that the schools wish to make it affordable to the students, as well as the schools being often relatively new, like the one I am at now. So for people that haven't need to think about money, or living on their own, taking care of their expenses, working for little money isn't a big deal. Of course it is, because what you can afford to do is limited and so or your choices. For example having little money can prevent you from being able to go on vacation, from picking the foods that you would like to eat, even from being able to have a girlfriend, wife, or start a family. There are many points tied to money. So for me this is a conscious decision I made, that for me to work at this sudbury school, long term, means that I will lack many luxuries and choices. At the moment, fortunately my family is supporting me with a place to stay, and with money for food, etc... So I am definitely not independent, as I am dependent on my family. If I didn't have them, there's no way I could be working at this sudbury school right now. One of my goals is to use the money I earn to support me, and support them in alleviating how much they support me financially.

If I were to try earning enough to live on my own, I would need to find a perfect job, because it would need to complement the hours that I work at the school, while also earning enough that I could actually realistically live. In the world of today, that is going to be very difficult. Of course my goal is to take baby steps to that point, since I am basically searching for ways to make my situation work.

People may not know this by looking at me, well maybe they do, I don't know, but I could have made the choice to be an engineer, psychologist or other professional. But I didn't, because there is a part of me, that wants to make my life really count, because I would in truth, just being doing those professions for the money, and not to change the world. And for me, there is something about me that needs to be here, at this school, because I see it as part of the grander solution that society needs.

So I am choosing this life I am living on purpose. I am happy with what I am doing. This is what give me meaning and purpose in life. For other people, it may mean having fun, traveling, earning money, having a family etc... For me it is supporting others in their changes and development to be the best they can be, which is what I see sudbury schools as doing by giving individuals the opportunity to create themselves, support themselves, get to know themselves, on as deep as level as they wish to go. I genuinely enjoy watching someone learn, explore, create, understand, and communicate. I could watch that all day. I do see my role as valuable, where I am simply there. For me, that is something important that I didn't know as a child until someone wasn't there. Being there, and committing to be there, consistently, day in and day out is very important. It makes the difference.

So all in all, I am right where I want to be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Where responsibility begins, so lies our destiny

So today there was a moment with some students, where there was a more relatively new student, compared to the others who were there in this moment, who had known each other for longer, and so something happened that I have faced as well. So these students brought up a story from their time together, and the newer student felt left out. I have felt the same before. So I knew it was a sort of illusion, but I couldn't just say it like that directly, because I could tell this student was fully upset by this. The other students, and I as well, shared supportive points, and what I call commonsense. Like how the students just wanted to talk about the story that involved them, and that the one student didn't have to feel bad about not being there, and it wasn't the other students fault, and how the student could ask questions about what happened and be curious and listen to the story. So after our suggestions, the student still hadn't got out of the emotional rut. I knew there wasn't much else we can do, so I left it be, and so did everyone else.  This is one cool point that happens in Sudbury schools, that people are not forced to be nice, or forced to validate points which are not a person's true expression.

So things continued, and only later did the student release the emotional point, which happened through play and laughter. She stepped out of what was  in her mind, and stepped into being here WITH everyone else, and enjoying herself in expression WITH everyone else. Before this she had been by herself in her mind dwelling on this point where she believe and felt left out. When in reality she was secluding herself from her friends right here, through what she was thinking and believing was happening. So in looking how she was supported, the other students had continued being themselves and their expression with working with the task at hand right here. So they were serving as examples, and so a kind of invitation for the one student to join them right here.

Responsibility is part of Sudbury schools. So here each student is responsible for themselves, which also include how they feel, and think. Each is deciding who they are and who they choose to be. This is something true for every person in the world, except here in this school, it is realized and supported through the structure. You are not rewarded for escaping responsibility or helping someone else escape theirs, or punished for taking responsibility for yourself, which happen often in today's societies structures, schools and laws and business.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Children leading the Adults

So I am a new staff here, and one thing I knew I haven't developed fully is leadership. Now, having been here since August, which means about 5 months, I can reflect and look back and saw how the students have actually assisted me to take on leadership qualities. Meaning, that the students had lived examples of leadership and authority, which I naturally took in and assimilated in myself. If you want a nice easy catch phrase you can say that they were teaching me how to be a leader. Which now I can say being a leader has a lot to do with being comfortable with yourself, and being comfortable with what you are saying and sharing with another. So leading requires a depth of calm in your being. Within that calmness, comes forth clarity, which translates into easy to understand communication. Many of the students at the school simply speak and share what they see, and for the most part it is clear, within confidence, and self-acceptance. They also are quite supportive and respectful towards those who lack such confidence, such as with me in some moments. I am not saying they are perfect, by no means, but they certainly has served as a supportive example many many times for me and how I can be.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Being staff

For me, it has been a process about learning what it means to be staff at a sudbury school. So I have tried several things out. And as of right now, I found it to mean, being that which everyone, meaning each individual child, and person there, needs me to be. Now you may be wondering, well, what does this mean?

So, it means sometimes playing a game, or joining in the energy and pace of the game that the others are moving. It sometimes means taking a supportive role and just being there in case you are needed. It sometimes means stepping up to share your view point, with respect, regard, consideration, and equality with those around you. It can mean many things, but all those things are the things that build a strong lasting community. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

A JC Case involving pushing

In respect and consideration for person's privacy, I will not be mentioning any actual names of individuals.

So today, there was an interesting JC case where someone had pushed someone. On the surface level, initially it may appear to the untrained eye that the person that pushed someone was completely guilty and at fault. However as the case progressed we learned more details. So in other words, we understood the events that lead up to the pushing incident. Having the bigger picture, we decided that both parties were at fault, and so the case was dismissed. My sense is that everyone left with a greater understanding about our relationships with each other. At the very least each one present had the opportunity to understand on a deeper level how and why people act within anger, and how to best support and respect a person when they get angry. Because we are responsible if we play into and feed the fire of the anger, even intentionally, unintentionally, and even when having the best or good intentions.