One of our learners told me yesterday that he is wanting to be homeschooled at the end of the semester. I did not like that at all. He listed all the reasons why, and I counteracted with all the reasons why he shouldn’t. He named homework, friends, sports, living farther away than he wanted. Maybe he knows me too well because he also cited wanting to read books for fun. The pain on his face was obvious, and I can say that he carries the stress of his schoolwork. It’s almost like a physical weight for him.
For every item on his list, I had a comeback. I told him that if he would give me a little more time, I would definitely be able to come up with more. I told him about how my sophomore year was the year that I hated most in school, the year that I felt so out of control. It was the year that I wanted to drop out and get my GED so that I could start college early. All the reasons he listed were reasons that my sophomore aged self would have agreed with. Only now, as I’m looking back, do I realize how important that high school experience was. How I learned way more about life by being there than anyone could imagine. How if I had gone straight into college at sixteen, I don’t know how successful I would have been. This learner and I, we have a lot in common.
This year is the year of extra stuff on the plate of me and my co-facilitator. We are organizing National History Day for our school ultimately includes organizing what will happen when our learners place in the competition and move forward. We are the guinea pigs for the New Tech Network Master Teacher Program, which involves a lot of reflecting and videoing and making sure that we are doing everything that we can to be the best PBL teachers that we can be. We are sponsors for the Junior class which means prom planning. We basically have so much on our plate that we can no longer see the plate. Department heads for the humanities department.
It’s easy to make excuses as we let stuff fall between the cracks. It’s easy to think about ways that we could avoid having as much work to do. It’s even easier to think about skipping out and not doing all the work in the first place. But, we’re all busy. We’re all doing everything that we can. My cofacilitator and I have many to do lists and many hats to wear. Our learners have the same issues. Hopefully, as we get all the things on our list done, as we demonstrate how adult life works, how we prioritize and set goals and sometimes don’t meet them, we are able to show them that we’re all on the human journey, doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
Hopefully, as the semester progresses, this learner will change his mind. I really would hate to see him leave. And hopefully, I can better model my to do lists, showing them that even adults don’t have it all figured out.