Writings

Anything is possible


Today I went to a meeting in Iomi's school. These meetings resemble in no way the meetings my parents had to go to when I was a kid. My school being perfectly Swedish, with neat rows, clean plastic benches, the whole schooling experience designed to fit the high standards of the country.
The school Iomi's attends is based in the Waldorf system and for those familiar with that concept will understand what I mean when I say that these meetings, besides talking about the class, school and the issues that need addressing, also involves quite a bit of singing and a fair amount of rhythmical movement. 
The Waldorf education believes rhythm, songs and poetry harmonizes children so when there's an opportunity to share that harmony with the parents, like for instance in a meeting, we also become subjects of this treatment and the teacher makes us spend what to me feels like a really long time, dancing rhythmically in circle while singing or reciting poetry, probably not realizing we're too old and jaded already. It's interesting to spend time in my head during these moments. While semi-engaging in these musical interludes, anything from mild embarrassment to wanting desperately to escape the whole scene rummage through my mind and in today's meeting I started internally theorizing about how the aliens would react, if they would land right in the classroom, their first impression of the human species being that of a Waldorf circle... Would they shoot us all or join in the dance...?
As all these highly volatile thoughts circle my mind I try not to look at anyone else than the teacher, am petrified that I will start giggling and not be able to stop, which would be very likely if I would meet a pair of eyes who were hiding as much embarrassment and wickedness as mine.
But regardless of my infantile behavior, I as a parent feel good about Iomi's schooling experience. It certainly leaves me a bit frustrated at times, as all systems it's inherently flawed by the confinement of belonging to one, but the Waldorf one has one benefit in that they give the teacher full autonomy. So the educational experience of the child is mainly colored by their teacher, who even though naturally colored by the system, still has that all important autonomous role and is given space to customize the experience, not having to have to respond to any authority. This is good and very apparent in these meetings. There are not many schools, private or public, where you find a teacher that opens the (talking part) of the meeting by saying he would mainly like to hear what we the parents think of the school, of him. What our experience of the school year has been like, if there's anything we think he could improve, if we see things from a different angle, and when telling us what his experience of the year has been like, openly admitting that it's been tiring, that he took on a little too much and that he too is in the midst of a learning process and is learning as he goes along. Writing down everyone's suggestions and appreciation with a feeling of gravity, treating both praise and criticism with the same consideration
It's ultimately, I believe, because he cares. For him teaching is a vocation, not a profession, and as such it's important to him that the children are well. That they feel cared for.
To further Iomi's education and prepare her for a more "real" world and give her that added intellectual stimulation, we will at some point change school, but for now, in these, her tender growing years, during this important introduction to the world of education and teachers, Professor Luis from the Escola Livre do Algarve, is providing both her and us with a beautiful example.

On Friday is the ceremonial end of school performance in the local church, and I expect to see lots of rhythmical movement accompanied by poetry and song, being performed by children who are definitely more suited for the task than their too easily embarrassed parents.
And I will cry nostalgic tears of childhood years passing way too fast and beam at my beautiful child, knowing that for her well being and happiness, I'm willing to go through fire and ice, and sing through countless of meetings. After all, her learning is mine, so maybe in a few years, I will show up knowing all the words and rhymes, and dance my way through one of these meetings with as much childish receptivity and enthusiasm as her.

The one who coined the phrase: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", obviously never met a yogi, because it doesn't matter how old this dog gets, being a yogi I will always be an avid student of life which means that anything is possible...

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