Amy's 3rd Posting
I've been thinking some this week about human development - not only because of the readings, but also because of how it fits with the topic Laura, Jamie and I are proposing for tomorrow's learning circle -- how what we learn at home and what we learn in formal education systems interface. I've thought a lot about how different that was for me as a kid (who honestly learned most things at home that the formal education system expected me to have learned) and as a teacher (of students who didn't learn many of the things their schools/teachers expected them to learn at home). I remember one student of mine, Lorenzo, who grew up with his grandmother. She was a great parental figure for him in some ways but she had a lot of kids in the house and so Lorenzo felt like he sort of lacked a mother figure for much of his life, but he was still fairly well "adjusted" I thought when he got kicked out of a local public high school and ended up in my classroom. And it wasn't until he explained to me that he had had the same teacher for 1-6 grades (his teacher was the 1-3 combined class teacher and then she got switched to 4-6 the same year as Lorenzo moved to 4th grade). He attributes (and I agree!) his emotional development to her - almost completely. That's a truly amazing accomplishment for a teacher, isn't it? To know that you have helped provide a "home" and a "family" for a student for so many consecutive years. Always a really moving memory for me. But Lorenzo would never have had that experience if his school was structured differently, or if he just simply hadn't been so lucky with the timing. It makes me wonder about whether or not there are education policies we can put into place to ensure that kind of human and emotional development or if it's just grace, or fate - or some other force like that - that makes it happen for the right kids at the right time.