Journey, Read
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Best in Class

Metastate is about honoring each other’s stories, no matter how different, and creating a more complete picture of our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We’ll share our conversations here and invite you to add your voices to the discussion. Pull up a chair and join us as we recount the stories and lessons of our lives…

 

Darrée:  I was the clueless kid you didn’t want in your class. My only redeeming qualities were that I always left on time and gave teachers presents at the end of the year. In hindsight, I was intuitively winging everything, but my senior year of college I reinvented myself. I became this really hardworking, ambitious student who would stay up finishing work and reading everything in sight.

Maryn:  I was a perfectionist throughout school – the annoying girl who wanted to be best in class and gave teachers presents throughout the year. I remember pooling money together with my classmates to buy our math teacher a Harley Davidson stuffed hog for his birthday (gag, I know). Other words to describe me: intense, nerd, overachiever.

Darrée:  If our elementary school teachers saw us together they would probably be thinking, “How does your relationship make any sense? We have Maryn, this high achieving, totally aware, perfect student….and you, this really strange, unmotivated and selectively mute kid!”

Maryn:  I didn’t continue to be the perfect student. I burnt out in college and my junior year, I dropped out for a quarter. I was starting to get this sinking feeling of uncertainty. Throughout school there was always some carrot dangling in front of me. Write a paper, get an award. Join a club, get community service credit. Study hard, ace a test. Most of my hard (obsessive) work had some immediate and concrete result and as I got closer to graduation, I felt like I was heading into this void. I began to fear that I had lived my whole life based on this empty dream, maybe someone else’s dream.

Darrée:  I love how you articulated the concept of living a dream that wasn’t yours. I feel like that’s what mainstream education has become. We send kids to schools and they learn to read and make mathematical calculations. There is a regimented schedule that repeats itself day after day, year after year. We test them against their peers and knock them down when they don’t size up. At some point we need to ask ourselves,

Exactly whose dream is that? Whose expectations am I carrying? Are they becoming so rigid that we breed clones that lack ownership over their lives?

As an educator for the past 6 years, I have seen so many students who have no idea why they spend every day in a seat when they would rather go off and dance or fly kites or make movies on their computers. We constantly chastise them for straying from the topic at hand – saying “do that on your own time,” but what “own time” do they have, when day in and day out they are in their seats, churning out the expectations of someone else’s dream?

Maryn:  Our educational system is based on a model of the past. The authoritarian “one size fits all” approach to learning was designed to mold young people into industrial style workers. They would become adults who showed up to work at a specific time, completed their quota of work (i.e. screw on this many hubcaps per day) and then do it all over again, day in and day out. The industrialization of the workplace led to the industrialization of the worker, the industrialization of education led to the industrialization of the student. Now kids are only worth their test scores and graduates only worth their salaries. It’s like we’ve forgotten that we are human, each with deeper needs than efficiencies and profits.  

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