I often wondered why, though I love learning, I disliked my schooling years so much. In retrospect I’ve seen that, for the most part, the so-called ‘facts’ were shovelled into my head without any concern for who I was, what I wished to become, and especially with no regard paid towards what I’ve come to know as my imagination. Over my life, as I look back on the time spent in the public school system only two teachers come to mind as kind role models whom I fondly remember as real people who took the time to get to know me as a person and to allow my ideas to flow with and through the curriculums of the times. One taught math the other economics, both topics which hold no great interest for me, but at the same time, both of these teachers allowed the blossoming of my awareness to grow naturally. I still have fond feelings towards them to this very day.
I won the economics award that year, which, funnily enough, allowed me to get a gift certificate for Science Fictions books instead of the usual ‘dry money books’ of the day. The other teacher, a math whizz, shared stories after hours of strange ancient civilizations and much other ‘out of the box’ ideas and information. Strange experiences surrounded those two true examples of teachers in my life: I even recall, with several other students levitating a rather heavy fellow student at the time. Talk about inspiration for imagination! I can’t thank him enough. And if by some chance Mr. Seveneigh, you are reading this, well, I love you for your integrity and how you helped a young lad to happily see more potential in his life than was offered elsewhere.
What I’m really getting at here, is although I held no heavy interest in their topics, I paid much more attention as I was treated as a ‘whole being’ and not an empty head to shove facts into. I probably missed more school than is permitted these days, while graduating with so-called honours, simply because I could memorize facts and shoot them back on demand. Certainly not the kind of repetition based learning I have much respect for.
Today, many years and much growth later, I have seen that I actually love to learn, especially with an eye on explorations, new and odd topics, information that seeks out all sorts of unique and under-appreciated ideas about energy, currency, history, weird science and more, while digging up both potential facts and lost discoveries from days gone by. I love my imagination and I have nothing but great memories for those teachers who encouraged me to become myself more fully.
The opposite is true for those that tried to push me into a box. A loathing, I feel hard pressed to let go of to this day. Yet all is forgiven, though not forgotten. To simply push young minds into a mold seems nearly unforgivable. Luckily for us, there are still teachers out there like John Coleman, and many others I get to meet these days, who have discovered for themselves that true teaching is a journey which allows both teacher and student to grow.
About John: John Coleman has been teaching for 15 years. Realizing that even it was futile to seek excellence within the prevailing school formats, in 2014 he started Apocatastasis: An Institute for the Humanities. Beyond educational concerns, John writes on topics related to history, language, and culture.
For Further Studies Mentioned in this Chat:
Apocatastasis is a place where the pristine ideal of a school has been restored: teacher and students gathered in discussion around serious texts. Specializing in teaching the Western humanities in an integrated fashion, we offer a full three-year college-level course of study, as well as a plethora of of individual courses. You may find more about the Institute at www.ApocatastasisInstitute.wordpress.com;
John may be reached at ApocatastasisInstitute@aol.com
firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, suggestions, and above all, to participate.
Join our mailing list today: https://mailchi.mp/7de35b29504b/thenewagora-thenewnow-fanlist
Questions, Queries, Suggestions and Participation: email@example.com