Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer School

How quickly it flies by. I've already finished teaching the four day Behaviour Summer School classes! Next week I start the four day Sexuality Classes and when they're done the eighth annual Summer School classes will be done. Every summer seems to go faster than the summer before.

All those years ago I went to York Simcoe Behaviour Management Services with the idea of offering Summer School. The idea was to bring together just enough students to cover costs and run the classes from 9:30 to 2:30. This would mean a small group of people would have the opportunity to learn AND relax at the same time. They'd be given the opportunity within the reduced hours to think and reflect rather than rush and race. We all thought it would be a hard sell and for the first couple of years it was. After that, it kind of took off. Agencies reported that they're staff came back renewed and revitalized. Cool.

I was chatting before class a couple days ago with two students who had arrived early for the class. They each said that they had found themselves doing some real self evaluation in light of what they had learned. In that they found themselves motivated to change but, oddly, didn't feel like they'd been put through an emotional grinder. They couldn't have pleased me more. People need to realize that 'self evaluation' isn't the same as being 'self critical'.

I begin to think that people fear reflection because of a fear of painful realization. I'm not sure where the idea came from that reflection and realization are always and necessarily painful. Some of the realizations I've had are joyous, some are funny, some are embarrassing, very few have caused me real pain and regret. I'd love it if those of us who work with people spent more time in insightful self evaluation. We are, after all, half of each interaction we have. We are, after all, given tremendous power in the lives of others. We should be REQUIRED to sit down and face ourselves at a regular basis.

So, the conversation pleased me.

Then I got home and there was an email waiting for me from one of the students who thanked me for the class and for what she had learned both professionally and personally. I remembered her easily. She was a woman with a quick wit and a ready smile. Both Joe and I had joked with her and, as such, she lodged into memory. I was touched that she bothered to write and bothered to say thanks. Tells me much about what she brought into the class and what hopes I had for what she took out of the class.

So, the email pleased me.

Soon we'll be planning the 9th annual summer school, deciding where it's going to be, deciding the dates of the class. My summer would not be the same without these classes. I like them because I learn through teaching, I get inspired through listening.

Reciprocity - ain't it great.

Reflection - ain't it grand.


theknapper said...

Wish there was summer school everywhere!

Morah Mary said...

The self-reflective piece is really critical, if we're going to be able to "get better" at what we're doing. Three questions I always as my teachers to answer after each session: 1) What worked and why? 2) What didn't work and why not? 3) What needs to be done differently next time? (And when I do a workshop, I throw in a 4th: 4) What would you like to implement but need more information about?)

Good going, Dave - self-reflection results in purposeful choices instead of responses we "fall into."

Belinda said...

Self reflecrtion as a "requirement" is an interesting concept! Unless required, it slips down the list of priorities, and yet it is so valuable and critical.

Susan said...

Ah, I have wonderful, memories of my first summer school. You would walk outside during lunch and sit on the steps. The smokers would all gather around and get bonus "Dave Time". I seriously considered taking up smoking myself just to be able to join them!

I was really hoping to sign up for a refresher of Behaviour Self this year, but alas it was not to be. Maybe next year!

Georzetta said...

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

This is a quote from the Gospel of Thomas, a text from the library at Nag Hammadi. The whole idea of "know thyself" has been around a long time. I wonder why we keep having to discover it?