Monday, August 9, 2010

Pray for Doubt a phrase I read sometime somewhere. "Pray for doubt," the author advocated. At first i didn't understand why anyone would want to ask for Doubt. Isn't it better to be sure? Isn't Certainty the ironclad, surefire way to know something Good and Right and True and to hell with all the rest of it? I mean, what would doubt do for anyone on a mission?!

I'll tell you what doubt does: It gives you pause. And pause gives you time to step back. And stepping back gives you perspective. And perspective gives "you" (yes, ME) a chance to see things more clearly.

I had a moment of doubt the other day. Oddly enough this occurred while I was reading this article about democratic education; a positive article which featured an interview with Isaac Graves, engine driver for the education-revolutionizing, life-changing AERO Conference train. The article also had commentaries and excerpts from the book Lives of Passion, School of Hope - which chronicles the lives of graduates of the Jefferson County Open [Public] School - by Dr. Rick Posner.

While the article mentions that some 91% of all graduates go on to college and 25% completed graduate studies, it also says that some of the school's graduates were, how shall i say? - "put out" - because they felt they had not been properly prepared for "real life" (say college/exams/the workforce) and felt a bit disgruntled with all the (my words: willy nilly freedom they were given.

( Voice over says: And now we get to the moment when our protagonist encounters her internal conflict, the central theme to this act in the play.)


"Ill prepared" you say? "Not prepared for real life" you say? *cough cough! gripping own neck frantically* (No I'm not panicking!)

( Enter the dark and sinister trench coat and hat character, Doubt. )

Wha-?????? Wait. What!? Some people were UN-happy with essentially going to an UN-school? Is this even POSSIBLE? Who are these people? What did they want to be done differently? Is democratic education not for every body???? (Doubt! Doubt! Doubt! Major doubt! General Doubt!) Could I be making a mistake? Should I even start a school???? (See the way I leapt clear over logic and reasonable thought directly into the bullseye of a terrorizing vortex of fear? Amazing. ...Talk about skills!)

So, as I was saying: I froke. A little.

And I have to confess that I had secretly hoped that writing this blog would help me process it so that by the time I made my way down to the closing para (-graph, that is) I'd have resolved my conflict and come up with The Right Answer, possibly even win a fine grandfather clock and a bonus spin from Drew Carey. Alas, this is not so. Good people, this author is still conflicted. Well, maybe "conflicted" isn't really the right word. I am certain that I am meant to create this school. (No doubt about that, thanks anyway Universe.) I am also certain that liberty and equality are cornerstones of this Place. So where how does it all fit in???

I honestly don't know. I can tell you that I don't believe in this "real world" that people are always talking about. The explanation of that is a whole other blog post which may or may not belong in this forum. I'll shoot for the short answer and say that corporations and captilalism do not the real world make. Nor college, nor degrees nor '9 to 5' jobs. So it is not my intention to educate for that (super duper air quotes) "real world".

So maybe a few Village School graduates will be miffed. Maybe they won't. Maybe we can talk about it together, the learners, all of us.

Maybe it's all okay because we are realizing a new Real Life where we're all still learning as we go (*gasp* NO!... yes dear.) and there will be room for mistakes (*gasp again*).

And maybe, just maybe, we'll actually carry on learning from, and in spite of our mistakes.

I'm cool with that option.

What about you?

1 comment:

  1. Good job Milkshaken!! as the saying goes - bravery is not the absence of fear it is progressing despite it. I love that you have doubt and you WILL (I know this to be true) guide your learners all the better for it. Remember the railed against english 'learn by rote' methods our parents learned under?? That won't be you. Keep doubting and when God gives you answers, erase a little of it (nevermind that an new one will spring up)