Some of the most brilliant, creative people I know did not do well at school. Many of them didn’t really discover what they could do–and who they really were–until they’d left school and recovered from their education.
Sir Ken Robinson in The Element
I am doing my Masters in Education at the moment. Specifically, I’m on campus at University of British Columbia Okanagan taking two courses, each three hours a day, for three extremely intensive and exhausting weeks. As I write, I am exactly half way through my degree. In another week and a half I will have completed 6 of 9 courses. I am presently trying to determine what I will do for a project to reflect the research I do around my question which explores passion-based learning and teaching in a high school.
I come to this research because since I have fulfilled my passions as an author and poet, it has completely changed the way I teach. I am happier. I believe my students are happier because of it. I suspect they learn better because I bring my outside passions (as a writer) into my class room.
Unlike the people Robinson knew, I did do well in school, in the classes I loved like English, History, and Choral, at least. I didn’t do as well in math and sciences. I knew I wanted to be a writer even back in high school. I was in the yearbook (publishing a book each year!), newspaper (publishing a column each month!), as well as musical theatre (applause!). Back then, all three of those were extra-curricular activities. How great would it have been to have been earning English and art credits for all that learning? Our kids today do.
I was so jealous of Sue Hinton who’d written The Outsiders while she was in grade eleven! Consider: she failed English that year. What a travesty! Next year, I have 2 students who are planning to do Independent Directed Studies writing novels (or perhaps novellas) for credit. Sue Hinton would have loved English in my school.
I may have known my passion, but I didn’t leap in and start (well, finish) writing that novel in my head until 25 years after leaving high school. That’s a long time to have a fire smoored, awaiting the flash of flame and burning of achievement!
How about you? What’s your passion? Is it smoored or burning? Did formal school help or hinder development of your passion?