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edu180atl: peter bucklin 8.12.11

My son is about to start pre-school at age three. Born with a rare genetic disorder, CHARGE syndrome, he has hearing and vision impairment and does not talk, yet. He’s fluent in signing though and loves to read, spell, and play with numbers. He starts school now to continue receiving needed services. I want to tell him this:

I didn’t go to school to learn. I went to school to show off what I thought I knew. Knowledge picked up in pieces, much of which didn’t make sense apart from the whole, but yet proudly pushed out to whoever was near, listening or not. So preoccupied with my need for attention, I barely heard a word uttered by anyone else, especially teachers. This created many embarrassing and humbling moments, leaving the impression I might not be all that smart after all.

Thankfully, I discovered life is infinitely more interesting with my eyes and ears open, searching for things other than me. That wisdom is not knowledge, but being engaged, alive in each moment, with the curiosity to ask questions and keep asking because there is always something more to learn. And most of all I discovered this thing called love. From my son, imparted in wonderfully joyously ways. Something I want to learn every last bit about in order to give my son hope, courage and a values-driven life that encourages his learning and the love of others.

About the Author: Peter Bucklin is a parent, artist, and writer whose desire for learning came slowly but fully. As such, he’s also an explorer of new ideas, creativity and the joys of living life.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. T #

    wow. For a student like me, your post provides encouragement that even i fyou make a mistake in the beginning it will turn out all right in the end.

    August 12, 2011
  2. What a post. I am inspired by so much of it. Your comments on not going to school to learn, but to regurgitate bits and pieces of facts you had heard… that struck a chord. As a teacher myself, I seek inspriation and feedback that will help me tap into my students unique capacity to learn. I do not want to be the sage on the stage, but want to inspire kids to reach that remarkable degree of wisdom of which you write… seeking, being engaged, always asking “what is next?” Your post reminded me of the importance of maintaining that focus, of making a point to reach out to my students, of finding and celebrating the unique story of every student so that I can honor the way in which that child best learns. Your beautiful comments on your son provoked two really strong reactions in me: First, at the center of all teaching is the child – that’s why I do what I do. The content has its place, to be sure, but the child is the focus. Second, learning is made so much richer when it takes place within the context of community. As learners walk together, we help one another, encourage one another, and celebrate one another. Thank you for participating in this Atlanta-based conversation about the process of learning and community. The goal of edu180Atl was to “change the conversation”. You have certainly done that! Thank you.

    August 13, 2011
  3. A beautiful sentiment. I plan on sharing your last paragraph with my 8th graders early in the year. Beyond Spanish or Math or World Studies, kids need to learn to keep their eyes open lest they miss something life-changing or simply life-enriching.

    August 14, 2011
  4. Mary #

    Thank you and may you continue to learn, especially from your son. He’ll be teaching you every day. Isn’t life a trip!??

    August 16, 2011

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