I have not written a blog for a while now. In the last 4 weeks we have taught 815 kids how to make a simple object out of wood. If we are not teaching we are prepping materials. When we get a couple of hours the work continues on Sanctuary.
Turning Around Boston has been really great for our Collaboration. Jenn participated from afar on the first trip, creating the web site and posting video and photos, now she is in the trenches. She loves the interaction with the kids. We have had many discussions this month about education. We are exhausted after 4 classes, we really admire the teachers who are at our schools everyday, all day long with 25 kids in a class. The teachers always have the same response when we come with our projects. They all say something about how they have never seen the kids so focused. We know it has to do with the use of their bodies. Kids are sitting in a chair all day prepping for tests. We offer the opportunity to move around, sawing and filing. They can shape their object however they want. This is much more natural to kids. When they are done, they have an object that they can use. We made pens in the 2nd grade yesterday; the first class we taught was going to the playground as we finished the second class. Two kids ran up to tell me that they actually used their pens in the class after we made them and how cool that was.
We worked at a school for 7th and 8th graders at risk this week. The teachers told us it was the first class of the day without any behavior problems. We see that not all kids were made to sit and study for a test. The kids at this school could benefit from an alternative program. Why are we trying to make our kids into one individual who can pass a test? I guess I am sensitive to these kids because of my own childhood. I loved school but was a terrible student. I barely made it to college. At Art School I discovered a world that was very motivating to me. I did the difficult and undesirable to have the opportunity for the classes that were about hand making. Maybe we need a few more carrots in our schools to make the rest easier to digest.
We could not be doing this collaboration with the Eliot School if we did not have volunteers helping us. Teo, Jerry, Sara, Deb, Susan, Monica, Ken, Mike, Alex and John, have all taken a moment from their busy lives and stepped into the classroom to help us. They have been amazing. This has been a part I have really enjoyed. Working with them all has been an honor.