Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Education is a two way street aka My moment in the spotlight.

Empty classroom.  Scary.  Not as scary as full. 
So I did it.  I went into the class and talked about following your dreams, never giving up, and not feeling like you have to do the same thing forever.  

I told them about a few famous entrepreneurs.  Not that I'm suggesting they all become one, but because entrepreneurs have a lot of interesting stories about determination and persistence and triumph.

I told them it's OK to fail.

I told them how I began to write for a living at 35 and I didn't want ANY of them to wait so long to do what they love.

Then I taught them to play Name That Beer.   See point 6 for more details, it's not as bad as you might think.

I hope they learned something, took away a new idea or perspective.  I know I learned lots from them.

Education runs both ways you know.

1. They are all whip smart.  Some of them are book smart, some of them are street smart.  Some are both.  They are not to be underestimated or condescended to.

2. Don't let smallness and cuteness fool you.  Some of the cutest ones ask the curliest questions.

3. They are polite.  I've been to so many awards nights and events where people (and I've done it too), just talk through the speaker.  These kids sat up and listened.  Sure they got a bit excited now and then but they were far better behaved than I was at the rugby end of season dinner.

4. They put their hand up to talk or answer.  BEST INVENTION EVER!  So you know who wants to say something, and you can remember who said something so you pick someone else the next time.  I also assume as a teacher, you'd work out who never did and try and work on their confidence.  (Cause I'm such an expert now after 35 minutes).

Speaking of 35 minutes...

5.  Time went really fast.  I was terrified of having to talk for half an hour.  Turns out I didn't get to do my last bit on how to blog because we were so busy talking about other stuff.
Actually there wasn't a blackboard.  There was a white board and a smart board.  

6.  Name that beer is an excellent game for people of all ages.  Here's how you play it.

Brainstorm (preferably with 28 kids) about 10-15 colours and 10-15 animals.  Then get everyone to put one colour and one animal together.  Because of the beauty of individuality, no-one will have the same result (or very rarely).  Voila, you have now named the coolest new beer.  Or soft drink, or whatever.  Soon the kids were making up names and then deciding what business they'd like to have with that name.

By the end we had:

Pink Pig Productions (movie studio)
Black Wolf (clothing for extreme sports)
Purple Panda (soft furnishings shop)
Blue Tiger (construction company)

That's all I can remember but there were many more.  And the more they thought of, the more they thought of.  It was amazing.  Did I say that already?

7.  Sarah's teacher is awesome.  He is dedicated, personable, he clearly prefers them to love him not fear him, but he kept them firmly in line when they got a bit jumpy.  He has the cutest nicknames for every one of them.

8. Just half an hour gave me a new respect for teachers and a clearer understanding of why they do what they do.  Who wouldn't want to take these awesome little people and teach them stuff: help them when they got stuck, give them tools to get along with the world and each other.

9. Doing it full time would be absolutely exhausting.  I enjoyed my 35 minutes but I'm not tempted by teaching as a career.  Hell, I just became a copywriter!

10.  I may speak publicly again if the opportunity arises.  I am not as afraid as I was.  Thanks kids for being kind to me.  

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos zirconicusso and criminalatt