From behind the desks
As teachers, we often promote our values, our educational philosophy, planned learning material or varied rich timetable on the basis that we think our boys are in tandem with our thinking. I have often wondered how our boys really experience each day at our school; do they perceive the teaching and learning as we think they do?
Vexed by this notion, I took some time during our values lessons to ask the boys what is their daily view from behind their desks?
It soon became apparent that the varied age, personalities and learning styles interpret and negotiate each day, each lesson, and each teacher with remarkable insight. We are reminded that our boys are very sharp, both perceptive and humorous and are clearly present albeit at times we as teachers may feel they are not focused.
A few common thoughts emerged as we unpacked their observations:
Our boys are Positive
Our boys are game for anything, especially if the task/work is presented to them as a competition or a chance to collaborate with a friend with group work being the top prize. Our boys seem to be fueled by possibilities; they love a challenge and approach a task with vigour and a can do attitude. Sure, at times they do race forward not considering any potential hurdles, but then again, they simply realign with a similar dynamism and tackle the obstruction with a positive outlook. To them, everything has a solution; given sufficient time, they will find it.
Every moment is a Learning Experience:
Our boys are continuously absorbing and processing information, learning material, body language, teacher moods and peer relationships. A boy who may be considered distant in a lesson is in fact engaged with multiple thoughts, stimuli and classroom happenings. His temporary escape from a teacher’s instruction does not automatically imply he is day- dreaming. Some beautiful anecdotes were shared as to what does occupy the mind of a boy during class time – a true delight to hear the range of simple innocent thoughts from our young grade four boys to the amusing insights of our grade seven boys.
The boys see each day as a New Start
Their ability to bounce back and view days or change of lessons as a clean slate is refreshing. They forgive and forget easily and don’t “carry baggage”. They are not world-weary, cynical or worn out. They live their school day.
Their Imagination is Limitless
I concede that due to their age and environment our boys have yet to experience certain facts and life lessons; however, our boys can be a pirate, musician, mathematician and sports star all before break-time. The break-time games are a further testimony to their limitless creativity as they add their own interpretation to standard sporting games. A referee is seldom required as their innate sense of right wrong and fairs-play is part of their unsupervised nature. Returning to class does not necessarily imply a return to regularity; on the contrary, expanding their minds continues building on previous successful imaginary journeys.
Our boys see the good in others -everyone is a possible friend
Sure, certain friendships may have been established, but any new boy to the school is quickly assimilated into the class and grade. Our boys remain open towards “making the circle bigger”.
Our prep boys do things “Because they can”
They interpret time differently. They fill time with play, formal work or activities of enjoyment and are happy to let their minds wonder. Our boys take time out to enjoy the sunshine, our trees, our open spaces or classroom nooks and crannies.
It is clearly great to be a Saints Prep Boy.